A supervisor in one of my performance management classes asked:
What can I do about the employee who always arrives a few minutes late in the morning? I can feel my stress level rise when she waltzes in with her keys in one hand and Starbucks cup in the other just like everything is fine. Everyone else makes it in on time but she just does not seem to care about the clock. I don’t want to be the mean boss who criticizes people about everything because she isn’t causing any other problems.
Evil Skippy feels the urge to slap someone – and that someone is the supervisor. You are a supervisor. So supervise! Tell Ms. Caffeine to skip Starbucks and get to work on time. Since when is it “mean” to make people follow the rules? Tell her that she will have plenty of time for coffee breaks on unemployment. Sheesh. Next question?
My patented Skippy Filter is set on “Extremely High”, so there is no recommendation to start supervisor slapping this day. Slapping would be wrong, right? It’s also illegal in a lot of places. I do, however, borrow Evil Skippy’s theme and offer the following observations as forcefully as possible:
1. You are a supervisor and part of your job is to make sure policies are obeyed. You are not being “mean” in this scenario. You are upholding reasonable workplace rules that apply to everyone there. In fact, you are being kind. If she does not meet attendance expectations, her job could be at risk.
2. Not dealing with Ms. Venti Latte sends the message to her – and everyone else in your department – that you have adopted a loose flex time approach to scheduling. The result will be that no one arrives when they are supposed to, lunch breaks will last half the day and the world economy will collapse. It is obvious that you have already maintained an environment where Ms. Caffeine thinks a few minutes late is just as good as on time. This is not a good thing.
3. Learn the “I.T.S.” approach to daily performance management and use it.
Evil Skippy visualizes his own version of an I.T.S. Moment with Ms. Caramel Macchiato. . . Coffee Lady enters, oblivious to the fact that everyone else is already in full work mode. Evil Skippy stares pointedly at his wrist, where a watch would be if he wore one. Coffee Lady ignores the gesture.
Evil Skippy slaps cup out of her hand.