Deal With Problems Immediately

Pile of trash 2
Pile of trash 2 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How are you dealing with issues in your business? Below is a great blog from Manage Better Now.

Deal With Problems Immediately

When people go away on vacation, this is not what they imagine seeing.

I had a friend that worked for the Busch Gardens amusement park in Tampa.  She told me that employees there could be terminated if a manager witnessed them walking by litter on ground.  When I first heard that it seemed a little extreme to me, but then I thought about it a little more.  Many families will save up for a year or more for a family vacation.  The expectations are high as the family set off on that first day of vacation.  They want a magical experience that takes them away from the realities of their day to day life.  They come to amusement parks like Busch Gardens to escape reality.  When you first walk into Busch Gardens you do feel like you have been transported to a magical land.  The park is pristine and the landscaping is impeccable.  I can imagine that discarded soda bottles and other litter would very take away from the magical perception that you get when you walk in.  I don’t know if Busch Gardens actually does fire employees for walking past litter, but I understand the principle that they are trying to enforce.  Problems should be dealt with swiftly by the first employee that encounters them.

It is a good philosophy for managers too.  It is important for managers to address any problems that they encounter swiftly.   If you are a manager then your employees have an expectation that you are going to be the problem solver for your team.   When problems arise, you cannot bury your head in the sand.  You have to be the leader and address issues head on.

Squabbles between employees, attendance issues, performance issues, and feuds between departments are just a few of the issues that need to be dealt with promptly.  If you do not deal with these types of issues, then there are a number of things that are likely to occur:

  1. The problem will get bigger:  If you allow employees to come in ten minutes late without saying a word, then eventually someone is going to starting coming in 20 minutes late, then 30 minutes late.  Where do we draw the line?  Who has to pick up the slack when employees come in late?  I will tell you who does, the employees that were conscientious enough to come in on time.  How do you think they are going to feel about you not addressing tardiness issues with some team members?
  2. You will not be a leader:  In order to be a leader, you have to have followers.  If your employees start to sense that you are not going to do anything to solve problems, then they will start taking their problems to someone else.   Maybe your manager or another department’s manager.  When this occurs, you are a leader in title only, and your employees will jump ship at the first opportunity they can find to get off of your team.
  3. Morale will stink on your team:  When managers overlook important issues, morale starts to drop quickly.  Low morale leads to high turnover.  High turnover leads to much higher training costs and much lower productivity.  Higher costs, high turnover, and poor morale leads to a new manager.

It can be intimidating to jump into a situation and have an uncomfortable conversation with one of your employees, but I assure you that procrastination is only going to make the problem worse.

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