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I am a General Manager, in the Food Service Industry, with 3 other managers, and 25 hourly employees reporting to me. As I was leaving Friday I noticed a notebook lying face up on one of my manager's desks..it turned out to be a notebook where she is keeping dated incidents about things that she feels that I have done wrong.

It really made me mad, and I want to confront her first thing Monday morning. I have also had a couple of employees come to me last week complaining that she makes them feel like they can't do anything right. I want to fire her--we haven't exactly worked well togther from the beginning.

Any advice on how I should approach this, without making it personal?
Thanks for any help you can give me.

tlhausmann's picture

Slow down. Do you communicate regularly with this employee? Have you provided positive or affirming feedback to this employee?

Take a deep breath and realize that as a manager you will *always* have others pointing out your errors.

AManagerTool's picture

Billy, Welcome to Manager Tools.

Bottom Line Up Front:
Yes, their behavior needs modification. They are being ineffective and probably doing some damage to the team. That said, the bigger problem sounds like yours. Their issue is a symptom of your disease.

You shouldn't fire this employee. Ignore this notebook for now. They are frustrated. You don't communicate enough. They need feedback....start with POSITIVE feedback. They need one on one time with you. Start meeting with them regularly.

Thoughts:
Being a manager is tough. They look at everything you do with a microscope. Some of them even have the nerve to point out what they think you are doing wrong. You should actually be thanking them but we will get to that point later. :wink: Though this would have been more productive if they actually had read you the notebook...we will get there.

You are presented with an opportunity here. You can do what an average manager would do and fire your manager or you can actually make some lemonade out of these lemons (i figured that you would get that being in the food service industry and all.... :wink: ). This website offers free manager training that will definitely make you a better manager.

An effective manager would be asking themselves the following questions right now:
1. What did or didn't I do to create this situation? Sounds like your staff doesn't think they can talk to you directly.
2. What can I do to turn it around right now? Well, talk to them directly. Offer [u][b]properly formatted feedback [/b][/u] (see feedback casts as to how to do that....IMPORTANT) when things go well or not so well.
3. What can I do to make sure it never happens again? Become what we call a Manager-Tools manager. Use the resources on this website to get there.

Welcome to being THEM.

tomw's picture

[quote="BillyJack"].it turned out to be a notebook where she is keeping dated incidents about things that she feels that I have done wrong.[/quote]

I'm reminded of a moment in "Raodhouse" here, leading me to ask: Are they things you actually did wrong? Maybe there's something for [i]you[/i] to learn from this incident as well.

BillyJack's picture

Thanks to everybody who responded. I did talk, calmly, with the manager, and I am willing to change as needed, and listen to what she has to say. Now, if I could just get all 3 manangers to help each other out.
Thanks again.

tlhausmann's picture

[quote="BillyJack"]Thanks to everybody who responded. I did talk, calmly, with the manager, and I am willing to change as needed, and listen to what she has to say. Now, if I could just get all 3 manangers to help each other out.
Thanks again.[/quote]

It is a start. When you observe one manager assisting/helping another provide POSITIVE feedback. Do not sandwich the affirmation with how they could have done it better. Just start with positive feedback whenever you observe it.

Do you do weekly one on ones with each of your directs?

BillyJack's picture

Yes, I do weekly one-on-ones with my direct reports, and I am going to begin requiring my direct reports to do them with the hourly employees also.

US41's picture

Hot Wash time.

Sit down with the employee during the last 2 minutes of their next 03 and say, "Let's do a quick hot wash of my performance as your manager so far. It will help me to improve my performance and stay on track. I won't do everything your way, but it will be a joint brainstorming session of what I have been doing. What has gone well? What needs another look? Here's I'll just scribble on this paper:

WWW | TALA

... and we'll brainstorm. No criticizing each others contributions - let's just get them on the paper."

Let them fill the TALA column. You fill the WWW column - if that's how it is going to be. They might be surprised at some of your good decisions and accomplishments that they know nothing about.

Keep going and going. After a couple of minutes - stop, pull the paper away, and say, "Thank you!"

They may hand you some low hanging fruit, "You scratch your butt in public." You can stop scratching your butt in public, so that is actionable, obvious, and easy to fix. They may have some erroneous stupid complaints. So what? They don't see everything or understand all of the reasons. Write it all down and just take it all in.

A grudge list is just an incompetent attempt to "document" what has gone on so far. It is the red dot on a big sheet of paper that everyone focuses on while throughout the rest of the room everything is going right.

When I do reviews with my folks, I have them put their accomplishments into some form and present them to me over the phone or in person. I comment on each accomplishment, and I make sure I can add a couple of accomplishments they forgot about. I do this quarterly and annually.

I end the review with a hot wash of how things have gone up to now. You would be amazed at how often they are the ones to add to the TALA column on their performance.

How many times have you presented your review to your directs? How many times have you shared your to-do list with them? Do they know what you do? Or are you that guy who visits, asks questions, and gives work out?

Your directs have to see what is on your desk to take it away. They have to know what you want, where you are struggling, and see the humanity to care enough to step up to help you.

I regularly take my "ongoing efforts" list and use one of our weekly staff meetings to review what I am working on... I even express my frustrations with my inability to get to all of it. They will volunteer and say, "Boss - gimme that one. I will make it happen."

Your direct might see you as a dictatorial type who doesn't know he does wrong and won't listen, so this is their defensive way of trying to protect themselves from you. Don't take it personally - I _am_ that type. I have to use all sorts of crutch techniques Mark and Mike teach to take the edge off and achieve competence.

My ability to achieve anything resembling trust with my folks depends upon my ability to listen to feedback and say, "Thanks."