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I have a Skip whose performance and attitude is poor. A while ago her High D Manager tried to tackle a specific problem (rudeness to an Admin), but was given bad HR advice and so did not follow agency procedures properly by ensuring that the Skip had Union support in what was deemed a formal meeting about that rudeness. We just wanted to give the Skip a written warning. The Skip then took out a grievance against the Manager, part of which had to be upheld. I then had to get another Manager to be the Skip's Manager. The first Manager feels upset about what happened, and perceives that the Skip is now 'untouchable' and gets away with murder.

Now another DR of that first Manager reports that the Skip is vocally anti-managment, e.g. throws away management memos with instructions, stating that she is not going to follow these.

I am guessing that MT advice is that we cannot do anything with that information unless the peer is willing to stand by that claim and to allow Managers to discuss that behaviour openly with the Skip. Any thoughts?

OKR

tlhausmann's picture

Am I correct in assuming the new manager of the skip is one of your directs?

I may be wrong, but the skip is now the new manager's opportunity for coaching and feedback. If the skip's deportment, under new management, has a bearing on that team's effectiveness then the new manager has the responsibility to take action.

If the new manager notes individual performance problems or poorer team performance (for their group) when not following company directives then begin documenting specific incidents.

garyslinger's picture

[quote="OldKentRoad"]I have a Skip whose performance and attitude is poor. A while ago her High D Manager tried to tackle a specific problem (rudeness to an Admin), but was given bad HR advice and so did not follow agency procedures properly by ensuring that the Skip had Union support in what was deemed a formal meeting about that rudeness. We just wanted to give the Skip a written warning. The Skip then took out a grievance against the Manager, part of which had to be upheld. I then had to get another Manager to be the Skip's Manager. The first Manager feels upset about what happened, and perceives that the Skip is now 'untouchable' and gets away with murder.

Now another DR of that first Manager reports that the Skip is vocally anti-managment, e.g. throws away management memos with instructions, stating that she is not going to follow these.

I am guessing that MT advice is that we cannot do anything with that information unless the peer is willing to stand by that claim and to allow Managers to discuss that behaviour openly with the Skip. Any thoughts?

OKR[/quote]
An excellent example of why unions are a bad idea these days...

wendii's picture

OKR

If you believe the peer, then you can give feedback (or her manager can) as if you saw it. If you believe them, then you act as if it's true.

If you don't believe them then you don't have to act.

And... you don't need HR to give feedback. One of Mark's pieces of feedback at the conference was when you......., I notice, given in a very neutral tone, very casually. There's nothing HR could object to in that!

Wendii

stephenbooth_uk's picture

[quote="garyslinger"]
An excellent example of why unions are a bad idea these days...[/quote]

I think you read the original post differently to how I read it. I interpreted the mention of unions as the manager had failed to follow established procedure by not allowing the skip to (or failed to ensure that the skip knew that she could) have union representation at a formal meeting. Perhaps OKR could clarify?

OKR also mentions that part of the grievance was upheld. That typically means that the manager had done something wrong, something wrong enough that formal action had to be taken to correct their behaviour or the outcome of that behaviour. Grievances aren't decided by the unions, typically it's a senior manager who makes that decision.

A few things came to mind reading that entry:
*( The skip is described as having a bad attitude, given that we can't see attitude but we can see behaviours, what are the actual behaviours?
* What feedback and coaching has the skip been given to adjust these behaviours? If they have been given 'feedback' was it in the MT model or was it closer to being dragged into a room for a 'telling off'?
* How confident are you (OKR) of the truth of the accusation of rudeness to the admin?
* How did this alleged rudeness manifest itself (not the particular details but are we talking didn't say hello as they walked past in the morning or screamed obscenities and cast aspersions on the admin's parentage)?
* Is the peer of the skip who is making these new accusations willing to stand by those statements and make a formal written statement (written is important, tends to sort out the cases where there's something actually going on from those where it's just someone trying to cause trouble or 'sticking up for their mate')?
* Is there any corroboration for these new accusations?

I'm also wondering about about the age of the players here. Are we talking about adults old enough to know better or kidults who haven't realised that they're not in school anymore? Not that it would make much practical difference to how you handle the situation.

Based on what's been revealed so far: Feedback, feedback, feedback!

Stephen

garyslinger's picture

[quote="stephenbooth_uk"][quote="garyslinger"]
An excellent example of why unions are a bad idea these days...[/quote]

I think you read the original post differently to how I read it. [/quote]
I don't think so. A manager behaved like a manager. Said manager then got a grievance filed against them by the union. That stuff has no place in 21st century business - the "procedure" should never have been there in the first place.

G.

tcomeau's picture

[quote="garyslinger"]
I don't think so. A manager behaved like a manager. Said manager then got a grievance filed against them by the union. That stuff has no place in 21st century business - the "procedure" should never have been there in the first place.
[/quote]

As I read the post, the manager got him(?)self into a bad spot by ignoring the rules. Becoming a manager is not license to ignore the contractual relationships between people. That's true whether the contract is between a company and a worker or a company and a supplier.

Telling a supplier "I know the contract between us says I have to do it this way, but I don't want to" shouldn't be tolerated. Managers who ignore contractual obligations need to get feedback from their managers.

Unions exist to alter the balance of power, particularly economic power, between management and workers. I think they are useful in some environments, particularly where workers can be regarded as "commodity" labor. (Airline pilots spring to mind.) In many other environments they are not helpful, and I wish we could find other ways to address the economic issues. Wishing, however, does not change reality. And when managers act like 19th century managers, they shouldn't be surprised by a 19th century response from workers.

I'm also not sure I'd be too concerned about somebody "trashing" memos. I've had people complain about rules, and even shred the stupid memo on travel reimbursement changes. As long as they [i]follow[/i] the rules, I'm not so worried about how they [i]complain[/i] about the rules. I mean, I thought the change was stupid, too, but I won't sign a travel reimbursement that doesn't comply.

tc>

jhack's picture

We all work within constraints. Wishing the constraints weren't "there in the first place" doesn't help the manager in the current situation. This is not a political forum.

When you treat all employees the same, when you track their accomplishments and give feedback , you don't have to worry about "favoritism" or "singling out" because your O3 sheets show you are fair. If you haven't been doing this, you are in a tight spot.

So, what end state would you like to see? Forget about discipline and focus on getting people to behave more professionally over time.

Unfortunately, I have no union experience so my ability to give advice is limited.

John

stephenbooth_uk's picture

[quote="garyslinger"][quote="stephenbooth_uk"][quote="garyslinger"]
An excellent example of why unions are a bad idea these days...[/quote]

I think you read the original post differently to how I read it. [/quote]
I don't think so. A manager behaved like a manager. Said manager then got a grievance filed against them by the union. [/quote]

The original poster said [quote]The Skip then took out a grievance against the Manager, part of which had to be upheld.[/quote]

Unless you've had off-forum communication from the original poster I don't see how you can get from that to the idea that the union filed the grievance. In any case a union cannot file a grievance, certainly not under UK law, only an individual member of staff can. Unions can support their members in filing grievances, unions can provide advice in how to do it but it requires an individual member of staff to file a grievance and they cannot file on behalf of another person.

Did the original manager behave like a manager? Amongst the questions I mentioned that had come to mind were whether the skip had been given feedback and what form the feedback had taken. Was it in the MT model? Was she just told "Bob the admin said you were rude, don't do it again!"? Or was she, metaphorically speaking, tied to a chair and given 20 minutes of rubber hose and cattle prod treatment? MT model I hope we'd agree is how managers should act, 'telling off' is how many managers do act and, unfortunately, there are still some managers who think the last scenario is acting as a manager, in my experience.

Stephen