Performance management and documenting performance issues are a mainstay for any size business or company. In my experience, the majority of leaders effectively use the process correctly, constructively educating team members by engaging in two-way dialogue and course correcting actions, behaviors or allegations according to policy, procedure or company core values.
Currently, I work in various roles; HR consultant, resume writer, profile assessor and career strategist for my own small business. While I have seen and heard most everything all over 20+ years, I am still simply amazed at the number of leaders who continue to try to bully employees into quitting their jobs.
While working on an employee engagement project during my corporate tenure, I noticed a trend repeating itself which was an immediate red flag; leaders strong arming employees to sign documents that were incorrect. As an HR leader, I immediately brought the strong arming technique to the HR department VP during our action plan session. She was receptive and we immediately determined leadership education was necessary. Due to an isolated case, we were fortunate to be able to rectify the situation to prevent further liability. The leader was new to the company and admitted she had a rough approach.
In the past 60 days, I have had four women over the age of 45 contact me for career strategy employee relations questions regarding bullying on the job. Two women hold advanced degrees, one holds an associates degree while one holds an on- the- job degree. Two of the women work in senior level management, one is a middle management leader and one is a dental hygienist.
I decided to share this information in today’s blog for any employee, supervisor or boss who may need a few basics necessary in appropriate course correction actions when addressing performance, behavior and allegations at work.
What is an employee to do when the supervisor, leader or boss takes an aggressive stance during this corrective process?
With this being an employers market, there are a number of companies and/or leaders who may be taking advantage of situations that could have long term ramifications. Bullying or forceful leadership NEVER works.
Simple Guidelines for the Employee:
If as an employee you think you are being targeted or inappropriately issued a corrective action form, you have the right to ‘push back’ and speak up without losing your job. You are in fact better protected by speaking up.
If a supervisor or boss tells you that you must sign a corrective action form and the information is incorrect, simply state “I am not signing the document.” Proceed to inform the supervisor that you will at a later date submit a hand-written account of what you know to be true regarding the allegations which you will issue to your HR department, department head and to your supervisor.
Many times, employees think that they must sign everything issued by there supervisor or they will lose their job. This is not true if the information is false.
Simple Guidelines for the Leader:
When course correcting an employee’s performance issue or following up with an employee regarding allegations, be sure you are acting responsibly by taking a neutral and non-emotional disposition. Accusing, pointing a finger or making wrongful statements puts you and your organization in a liable situation.
Check for understanding by asking the employee for his/her perception of the alleged action, behavior or performance that may be slipping. Actively listen by validating your understanding. Take notes and discuss in a productive manner.
If the employee states that he/she does not agree with the corrective action form information, allegations or conversation, the employee is entitled to disagree. Ask the employee to discuss the ‘push back’ and offer supportive dialogue while still maintaining your leadership role. You may need to revisit the conversation at a later date or conduct a further investigation if need be.
If you have all of your ducks in a row and you have facts indicating that your information is accurate, simply write on the corrective action, “employee refuses to sign.” Date the document and move forward with your day. In most companies, if an employee does not sign a document, the employee does not receive a copy.
Protect yourself, your company, your brand, your team and most of all communicate openly and consistently. We are all in it together! Let’s make a difference.