A Little Slack

In my work, I see bad supervisors and managers. However, I also see a lot of supervisors and managers who have very challenging jobs and do their jobs well. Many do not always maintain the perfect managerial demeanor: at times, they get cranky, short, or visibly frustrated. This is not ideal, but sometimes I think that the bigger problem is that their employees give them no slack.

Some employees, of course, do take these occasional behaviors in stride. They figure the boss is having a bad day and they’ll just give him or her a wide berth until things improve. They don’t take it personally. Or they do take it personally and decide maybe it’s deserved and they should have gotten the report in on time.

Other employees, however, give the boss no slack. “She’s harassing me” or “he’s abusive.” If the employee is late on a project or screwed something up, there’s always an excuse: I’ve been sick, my car broke down, and so on.

So what’s my point? Employers need to take employee complaints against their managers and supervisors seriously and address them promptly. Communications coaching is often in order. At the same time, when an employer is faced with an employee who is quick to feel abused by a boss who is hard working and overall good, I think it’s important for the employer to also suggest to the employee that he or she give the supervisor or manager a little grace. Nobody’s perfect. Reminding the employee that this applies even to the boss is a point worth making.  ~Amy Stephson

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One response to “A Little Slack

  1. It’s common for employees who aren’t performing well to receive more attention from their boss, then accuse the boss of micromanaging or harassment. When investigating this kind of charge, it’s important to remember that until such time as an investigator concludes the supervisor HAS engaged in some sort of misconduct warranting corrective action, the supervisor’s ability to function should be supported. And, if the claim’s merits can’t be proven, the employee should be reminded of what bosses are expected to do, within the scope of their responsibilities. Although an employee may FEEL harassed by their supervisor’s oversight, that doesn’t mean the supervisor has violated policy, let alone the law.

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