Why good supervision matters.
Good supervision includes building trust with your employees by listening to them and following through on concerns. So what do you do when an employee comes to you with a challenging situation?
No matter the workplace,
drama can and will happen.
How do you, as a supervisor, address issues and minimize the risk to the company?
If you work in Human Resources, you have lots of fascinating stories. Here is a real situation where the names have been changed to protect the innocent.
Zadie, one of your newer hires, discovers a perplexing situation. Most afternoons, the freight elevator in the back of the building stops working and is unavailable for shipping between 3:00 and 3:15 at least twice a week. Zadie gets a little obsessed with trying to solve the mystery, so she starts monitoring the use of the elevator.
Eventually she catches Margaret and Colson getting on the elevator right before it breaks down. Once they emerge, it starts to work again. Zadie comes to you with her findings and asks you to look into it.
Do You Treat Your Employees Fairly and Consistently?
You’re concerned that Zadie might be a bit of a troublemaker, plus you really feel like you have better things to do than investigate something you don’t think is important. However, Zadie is persistent. You keep putting it off by suggesting that she let it go and concentrate on her work. Zadie starts telling her coworkers that something illicit is going on with Margaret and Colson and you won’t do anything about it.
Margaret is a solid long-term employee you hired more than ten years ago. She does good work and you really depend on her. Colson is in a different department, so you don’t know much about him. If something inappropriate is going on, you are not concerned because Margaret does such a great job.
Zadie and her coworkers irritate you by continuing to gossip about Margaret and Colson’s “torrid affair.” They, in turn, are irritated with you because you won’t follow up on their concerns. They want you to do something about the situation.
When You Don’t Deal with Employee Concerns
Zadie calls HR and says that you keep ignoring her findings and on top of that, you’re letting Margaret, your little “pet”, get away with bad behavior. HR calls you to ask what is going on. HR gets access to the videos from the elevator cameras, and they inform you that sexual activity between Margaret and Colson has been taking place in the elevator, just as Zadie suspected.
What Should You Do Now?
How do you respond to Zadie? How do you address the gossiping? Why did Zadie feel she had no choice but to go to someone else (HR) with her concerns? How did the perception that Margaret was your “favorite” complicate the situation? How did the fact that you avoided addressing the situation impact Zadie’s perception of you? How might it have affected the other team members’ perception of you?
And what is your company’s potential liability if this situation is not addressed?
You have to deal with Margaret, just as Colson’s supervisor has to deal with him. Margaret is a valued employee. Colson is not as valued.
What is your plan to deal with Margaret? How will Colson be dealt with?
Good supervision includes building trust with your employees by listening to them and following through on concerns. Consistency is important with how employee relations issues are handled. Good supervision will help you maintain morale, which will help keep good employees with the company.
A good supervisor addresses issues and minimizes the risk to the company.
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Remember, supervisory training for those who manage your employees is a good investment and is important to your business. We here at MGMTinsight can help www.mgmtinsight.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.