Human Resources, Leadership, Performance

Managers: The Solution to Every Problem is NOT Termination

canstock13205365Everyone thinks that they can be a Manager.  Honestly, I think some just want the title and power that comes along with it so badly that they convince themselves they are “management” material and you can’t tell them otherwise.  For those that dream about moving into a management position, there is still time to teach and correct them.  But what to do about the ones that already hold the title?

You know the type – the “problems” in their department are because of everyone else’s bad attitude or failure to follow instructions and their immediate answer as a “solution” to the problem is to get rid of the employee and replace them.  They refuse to see they may be the problem, even if their bosses try to talk to them about it.

Case and point:

I recently had an employee get re-assigned from a labor position in one department to a computer-entry position in another solely because of his product knowledge that, for many, takes years to acquire.  After 1 1/2wks in the position and trying to learn the new computer system, the employee’s new manager declares “he’s not working out so we need to replace him.”  When asked what was the problem, his answer “he has a bad attitude and keeps making mistakes.”  When I countered with “well, have you talked to him about his mistakes or maybe he needs more training since its been less than two weeks for him,” I was told that he just knows he won’t work out and doesn’t need more time to come to that conclusion.  After speaking with this manager’s boss about the situation, we both agreed – the employee hasn’t been given enough time and the manager just doesn’t want to put the effort into it.

So what do you do when faced with a manager to refuses to try to help improve an employee or their performance?  Time to have a talk with the manager about his own performance and steps needed to help improve it.  Most will get angry to get pulled into this type of conversation, but when you remember that – regardless of title – they are still just “employees” of the company, you keep yourself on track.

The job market has been coming back over the last few months, but what managers need to realize is that it isn’t the same job market it was 5yrs ago.  Recruiters aren’t getting 100s of resumes for posting one position anymore, regardless of whether they are experienced or entry-level.  We’re lucky to get 10!  So, this attitude of “we’ll just replace them” needs to go away.

Also keep in mind when a manager wants to fire an employee for performance, you have to show that an attempt was made to help them correct it before you terminated them.  This is where I usually am able to stop these types of managers dead in their tracks because I ask them for their documentation to prove the problem.  They think all they have to do is show you the “mistakes” not proof of meetings or conversation about the performance.  When you make them go through this process, not only pointing out what it being done wrong but that they also need to provide the steps to improve it, it makes them stop and think.  They may still have their “attitude” about the employee, but now some of the power has been squashed.

The biggest thing that these types of managers fail to realize is that their attitude and treatment of this one employee is being observed by all their other employees. They may not show it right away, but it will always be at the back of their mind and can undermine their opinion and loyalty as well.  When a manager comes across as stubborn and one-sided, employee morale in their department will start to diminish over time.  Those employees will start looking to move into other departments or even leave the company rather than continue to work in such an environment and especially when the manager appears to be allowed to “do what he wants.”

Everyone plays a part in building a company’s culture and reputation.  While we may have been lax in addressing such “management styles” in the past because of an employee’s presumed loyalty to a company, the boom of Social Media requires that we pay more attention to the reputation our company now has because of the management team we have in place.

Or who knows, that employee you just dismissed may turn out to be your boss or even a competitor someday.  Robert Mariano with Mariano’s (Grocery Store) is a perfect example of that!

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