He Did WHAT?


"He did WHAT?" Management is about setting standards, training, empowerment, motivation and holding people responsible. Not everyone is going to figure things out for themselves. Forget the phrase "common sense." It may be common to you, but you are going to have to tell some employees once, twice, maybe three times. Eventually you are going to have to decide whether it is you or them. Were they trained properly? Are you not clear? Are you not consistent? Do they not care? Are they unable? It's not always an easy answer." (From Jay Goltz Six Shock of Entrepreneurship, March 10, 2010, NY Times - reprinted with his permission)


Often the problem starts with one or more of faulty assumptions:

1.    Employees care as much about the business as you do...even though many times they are kept out of the loop relative to many key aspects of the company, so to them it is just a job.

2.    Employees know your expectations of what their jobs entail...even though they may have never had a written job description, and performance evaluations are limited to whatever can be subjectively remembered at the end of each year.

3.    Your professional norms are shared by your staff...even though there has been no discussion of issues such as confidentiality, dress codes, etc. (until/unless there is a related crisis), much less a formal policy handbook.

It may be helpful to know that you are not alone...almost every business owner who has employees struggles with these issues at some time. The important thing is to learn to change those behaviors of yours which are contributing to undesired results, such as giving unclear instructions, hiring the wrong person for a job, etc.


Reach out to other business owners and find out how they have handled similar problems. Unless they are direct competitors, it is likely they will both empathize and provide insight about what worked and did not in their own companies. For more personalized help, do get the assistance of an HR professional...you would take a lesson if you wanted to improve your golf game, yes?