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By Darryl Stewart

A cool way I dealt with an employee’s performance challenge

By Darryl Stewart, Head of the Herd

I once had a front line manager who had messed up bad.  She had alienated one of her staff members in a way that I did not agree with.  I had managed the same staff member myself for years and I knew the issue was all on the manager, not the staff person.

At the same time, I respected where the manager was coming from.  She was really trying hard and her intentions were good.  It was her methods that needed to change.

I told her we would meet first thing the next morning on the issue.

IdeaWhen we met the next morning she looked terrible.  Stress, fear and maybe a bit of anger were written all over her face.  I was not proud of making her feel this way, but I needed to deal with this serious problem.

What came next was something I had never tried before, something that literally shocked her.  I had bought her a copy of a management book that I truly love and that I thought she could really benefit from.  I told her that she would not be welcome at the office that day, but she would be working.  I told her to find a comfortable place to spend the day reading the book and I would see her tomorrow.    We discussed the work issue a bit, but mostly I talked about how this book had really helped me and that I cared about her success and thought this book could help her be more successful as a manager.

I think I dropped her off at a nearby coffee shop if my memory serves and I did not see her again until the next day.  Our relationship improved significantly after that day and she did make good strides as a manager.  Ultimately she decided not to go further in management, but instead to go back to her technical roots – a decision she seems very happy with today.   I received a thank you letter from her recently, years after this happened and I was reminded that fighting the urge to be over reactive and showing someone that you truly care about their success is a powerful way to deal with a performance issue.

The book was First Break All the Rules.  I guess in this case I did just that!

IBEX Payroll extends our profound respect and immeasurable gratitude to all the ancestors and keepers of the land on whose traditional territories our work takes place. We acknowledge that we are on Treaty 1 territory, the traditional gathering place of the Anishinaabe, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota and Dene people and the traditional homeland of the Métis people. This land is sacred, historical, and significant. 

Every time we acknowledge this truth, we have an invitation and an opportunity to reflect on the wrongs of the past, what we do in the present, and what we can do to continually honour the people whose lands and water we benefit from today. 

This statement only acts as a first step in honouring the land we reside on and its peoples, and must be paired with education, understanding and informed action.