149. Victim Blaming

It’s very easy to blame an employee for not knowing what to do. If you think about it though, isn’t it kind of the leader’s job to make sure that employees know what to do? 

Clarity is one of the best gifts a manager can give to an employee, absolute certainty about what “good” looks like. For some reason, it’s rare to find a leader who has internalized this. 

 More often than not, I see leaders that fail to see their role in the confusion of an employee. Saying things like “They should know better” or “It’s common sense” does nothing to grow and develop employees. Many times, leaders create a culture in which people are afraid to speak up. I’ve seen this, and it’s not pretty. 

 When there is a “Policy”, it is frequently  an overlong document that hides in file folders. If a manager is lucky, employees read it once when they get hired. Often, it is written by what looks like english lit majors. You don’t need a plethora of multisyllabic words (like plethora) to show people how to use an eye-wash station or fire extinguisher.  

One solution? Include employees in the creation of policies or standards. Use open ended questions, like  “What would have made it easier to follow the standard?”. You may learn a thing or two!

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