Q. When we promoted “Jack” as department lead, we thought we’d made the right choice. He knew every job in the department, was hard-working and completely committed to our company. Soon after we made him the lead, two other employees quit. We figured they were jealous.
Since then, seven other employees have left. The last three employees who quit told the same story. They call Jack a jerk, say he’s “on them” the whole time they’re working, and they don’t want to work with him. What do we do? We don’t want to demote Jack; if we do so, we’ll lose him and he regularly saves the day when his direct reports slip up. At the same time, we can’t afford any more employees quitting.
A. If you didn’t provide Jack with supervisory training when you promoted him, you set him up to fail. Jack sounds like a man who sets high standards for himself and others. He may not, however, know how to work with those who don’t meet his standards.
Here’s what Jack needs to know. He needs to know how to talk with and not at those who report to him. He needs to learn how to set clear expectations for his crew and then work as the coach on the sidelines rather than as the hero who runs onto the field. He needs to know how to give constructive feedback in a way that elicits understanding and change instead of in manner that belittles. The good news — Jack’s a hard worker and can learn supervision — if you provide the training.
© Dr. Lynne Curry is author of ”Beating the Workplace Bully” and ”Solutions” as well as Regional Director of Training and Business Consulting for The Growth Company, an Avitus Group Company. Follow her on Twitter @lynnecury10 or at www.bullywhisperer.com.