Hi all – I’m wondering if I’m being too harsh with my directs and my expectations of professional behaviour when it comes to attendance. I’m often told (only hours prior or the night before) that they will be late or be leaving early for a variety of reasons which don’t fall in to the “urgent” or “emergency” basket. Though they are for family reasons and I’ve always made it clear to the team that family comes first as long as they remember that they also have an obligation to the organisation (unless it is an emergency of course).
Direct 1 who car pools with her adult son will often text me in the morning to say they will be a bit late as the son has a doctor appointment or his shower isn’t working and he has to shower at her house or one of them has a physio appointment that they forgot.…. (she then gets in about an hour later than normal).
Direct 2 has an adult daughter at university and calls dad at 1pm when her car breaks down and asks if he can pick her up, drive her to where she’s supposed to be meeting friends for a tutorial/ workshop and then he has to go back to the car to get it fixed, followed by a call to his wife to pick him up and to get the second car. Doesn’t return back to work that day as it took 3.5 hours to organise this.
Direct 1 texts me at 7pm Sunday night to let me know it’s her granddaughter’s 1st birthday the next day (which I knew as it popped up on my smart phone earlier that day) and the granddaughter has a sore throat and is feeling miserable. The direct wants to stop by her daughter’s house in the morning to check on the granddaughter (the adult daughter is a very capable mother).
These 3 examples are the most recent and not unusual.
I’m now planning on speaking with each of them in their O3s this week that in my view, these examples were not emergencies and remind them they are required to be in the office between certain times (eg 8am to 6pm usually). I will use specific examples and use the feedback model (though I’m still on positive feedback – I would like to follow the model in the giving of the example and illustrating the behaviour). By being away from the office during these times, tasks that were required were missed or had to be worked around – though the issues weren’t a huge deal and obviously in a real emergency could be overlooked, it’s unprofessional behaviour which is letting the team down.
I’m quite flexible and don’t expect long hours and martyrdom; I do expect their jobs to be done and done well and rarely do they have to work back late. If there’s something pressing at work on occasion I hope they stay back to help out. If they have a life outside of work (gym, yoga, date night or children to get home to), that’s ideal and encouraged.
Background – 2 of the directs are in their late 50’s/ early 60’s and I was their peer until 8 months ago. I’m now their manager. They’ve acknowledged and respect that my expectations are much higher than their previous managers. We have a good relationship; healthy and respectful. I’ve been rolling out the trinity which they have openly said they love. I know this will come as a complete surprise to them as they honestly feel this is quite normal and acceptable behaviour.
These 2 employees are at a middle management level and therefore non-award employees (ie they don’t get paid overtime for additional hours worked). They both work 8 or 9 hour days, usually starting between 8am and 8.30am and leaving the office about 5.30/6pm. These are pretty standard hours for this level and it suits their arrangements (arriving early due to easier traffic or leaving later due to car-pooling and waiting to be picked up by partner or adult child who they share the drive with). We have a policy that time off in lieu will not be granted for additional hours worked by choice. Only where additional hours or overtime has been requested by the manager. However I’ve been flexible around this up until now (where in the examples below I’ve let it slide because they do work an extra hour or two here and there) so I don’t mind if they take an hour for an appointment (where the team and myself are aware of the absence in advance).
Personally, I think the examples above were inappropriate and in each circumstance, the adult child could have arranged their own transport (bus, tram, train). In the situation of doctors appointments etc, these were known in advance and both parent and adult child who they car pool with could have arranged something earlier rather than leave it to the last minute.
And honestly, I know it’s miserable having a sick child or grandchild – but what’s wrong with leaving home earlier and popping in to see them on the way to the office (eg 8am) or after work?
Am I being too high D and unreasonable? Direct 1 is a High S. Direct 2 is a High I/D.