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Frontline Supervisor: Common Management Mistakes

Frontline Supervisor: Common Management Mistakes

On 9 Jun 2016, in Frontline Supervisor, Management, Workplace

Each month, "The Balance Sheet" provides questions and answers from experts on a topic that's important to you as a manager. Please feel free to share this information with other colleagues who also manage people.

 

Q. What’s the most common mistake supervisors make when confronting troubled employees?

A. The most common mistake is not doing it in time. Not confronting an employee as soon as an inappropriate situation occurs is one of the worst mistakes supervisors make. This does not mean the confrontation must include a corrective interview at the moment. This is where the second mistake often occurs. Because many supervisors link confrontation and corrective interviews, they believe the two actions must happen at the same time. They don’t. As a result, a supervisor may fail to confront an employee because the timing isn’t right, they’re busy, it’s the end of the day or they simply don’t have the energy for one more thing on their plate. Barring an emergency, any of these is a legitimate reason for not having a meeting to correct behavior or performance, but not for delaying a brief confrontation and arranging a meeting for a later time — that day or even several days later. The problem with lack of confrontation is often its negative effect: unstated approval.

Q. What are the most common complaints about bosses?
A. Common complaints from employees about supervisors include being micromanaged, not listening, not being tolerant of a different opinion, not following through on promises, giving deadlines that are unrealistic, not having enough time to talk, not giving enough feedback about performance and he/she is too disorganized. Except for one issue, the denominator among these complaints is communication. Only “being disorganized” stands alone. Earlier communication, communicating one’s concerns to the supervisor, being more receptive in interpersonal communication and asking for more communication from either party would resolve these complaints. Are you able to see how your role in encouraging, seeking out, expecting and holding employees and yourself accountable for effective communication can create a more harmonious workplace?

Q. What are common issues that interfere with a supervisor’s motivation or desire to make a formal supervisor referral to BJC EAP?
A. Most supervisors know that an employee can be referred to BJC EAP for performance, attendance or conduct problems. Unfortunately, this does not ensure that a referral happens. Unfamiliarity with the referral process or uncertainty about what the employee’s reaction will be to a formal referral can create timidity and impede the referral decision. Supervisors who want to see an employee removed or dismissed, rather than helped, also create resistance to supervisor referrals. Not viewing BJC EAP as a positive management tool to correct performance can also reduce the number of supervisor referrals. Education and visibility of the EAP are important interventions to any of the above.

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