The subject line in the email from Mandy’s manager said “Whereabouts?” and abruptly began with, “Where are you?”
Mandy, a 25-year-old shared employee, works for two organizations. The two entities—each with less than 50 staff—have financial connections and mutual marketplace interests. They collaborated in Mandy’s hiring and split her salary.
She began her employment two months ago—and now’s there’s a problem …
If you missed last week’s QBQ! blog—5 Questions Only People With Careers Can Answer YES!—Mandy would shout “YES!” to all five. Mandy loves the work she performs at both organizations. She’s a keeper.
Now, let me be clear: I am not an advocate for any person or group and never encourage “poor me,” Pity Party victim thinking.
But, I gotta say, management is failing Mandy.
The reality is, Mandy has spent her first two months defining her own job activities, responsibilities, and work schedule.
Because nobody in management has bothered.
In either organization.
And the sad part for young Mandy is this:
She thought everything was going great!
Till that email arrived. Here’s the full text:
“Where are you? Jody in HR says you’re not in our office today. I expected you to be here every day. You need to let us know when you are not going to be here. We need to talk.”
If you’ve been in the work world for a long time, recall being 25 and how you would’ve felt getting a note like that from your boss!
This note was not a positive moment for Mandy. It also represents at least four management mistakes:
- Mandy’s tasks, responsibilities, and schedule should’ve been defined on Day 1—by management.
- One-on-one, daily coaching has not occurred.
- The message came as an email even though the matter required a face-to-face. Or, at the very least, a phone call.
- The words used in the email loudly spoke, Reprimand!
I began my career selling/facilitating management training 29 years ago—so here’s what I know:
Management is obligated to provide clear direction to new team members and when new team members don’t perform, it’s a management problem, not an employee problem.
Sorry, managers, but you do not have the right to ask unaccountable, blame-oriented, externally-focused Incorrect Questions (IQ vs. QBQ tutorial) such as these:
“Why isn’t Mandy doing what’s expected of her?”
“When is Mandy going to do her job right?”
“Why isn’t Mandy in the office more???”
Outstanding managers take full responsibility for a new employee’s success by asking The Question Behind the Question—or QBQs like …
“How can I better communicate with Mandy?”
“What can I do to help Mandy succeed?”
“How can I be a more effective coach for Mandy?”
Those are the questions outstanding managers ask. Period. No excuses.
Now, before we go, allow me to provide some direction and coaching by clearly defining the lesson every manager must learn:
Outstanding managers practice PERSONAL ACCOUNTABILITY!
It really is as simple as that.
So please forward this blog to every manager and future manager you know. Believe me, new team members everywhere will be glad you did!
Describe a time you were managed this way. Tell us about a manager who did it right! If you’re a manager, what will you now do differently?
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