“I know I’m supposed to be professional at all times,” a manager told me. “But I’m human and some of my people get on my last nerve.”
“We are human,” I responded, “and we have human emotions. Annoyance, frustration and even anger are normal emotions that all people (including managers) experience.”
I think it is important that managers, as well as employees, avoid letting the steam in their boilers build up to a red-alert level. Even though we try not to get upset, we sometimes feel like we are walking in quicksand.
If an employee’s behavior angers you by lagging in late to meetings, say something like, “You know it may be small thing, but it upsets me that you are often late to our meetings. The five minutes may be nugatory, but you can help me prevent an ulcer if you will show up on time.”
Often, staff members will strive to correct petty behaviors that ruffle their managers’ feathers. But even if they don’t, it is better for all if we openly communicate our concerns. If we try to force down annoyances, regardless of how minor, they don’t’ dissolve. Most often, the irritations simmer and sometimes they erupt.
“How do you get employees to come to work?” a manager asked.
“Do you have an attendance policy?” I asked.
“Yes, but it’s pretty lax. There is a lot of discretion.”
“Do you talk to employees who are late or miss work?”
“Yes, but they don’t seem to care too much. It is pretty easy for them to get another job.”
When asked by a large company to help with attendance, I visited the management team and requested attendance records by department. As I expected, there was quite a bit of variation among departments. So I approached the manager who had the best record and asked him what he did. Here is what I found.
One, the manager pleasantly greeted each employee arriving at work. At the end of the shift, the manager said to employees as they were leaving such things as, “Good afternoon.” ”See you tomorrow.” “Enjoy your youngster’s soccer game.” “I think you hit a good lick today.”
Two, each week, the manager posted a chart showing the company and the department attendance record. During meetings, he frequently expressed his appreciation for their commitment.
Three, if an employee missed or came in late; the manager asked, “Is everything OK? We were concerned about you.”