Supervisory Dos and Don'ts

Supervisory DOs and DON'Ts


Inappropriate Supervisory Actions (DON'Ts)

  • Don't allow genuine concern for the employee to interfere with managing performance. Though important, friendship and empathy by themselves rarely solve serious personal problems.
  • Don't enable. Be aware of your own behavior and note if you are failing to document, covering up for substandard performance, accepting excuses that don't make sense, having "off the record" talks. Take the Self Test on Enabling.
  • Don't allow the employee to box you into a corner. Appropriate behavior and job performance is always the responsibility of the employee. If the employee tries to bring you or others into the discussion, remind him that you are there to discuss his job performance.
  • Do not condone unsatisfactory performance just because an employee admits to a personal problem. Allowing the employee to "buy time' without getting help may increase the severity of the problem. Ignoring a problem is condoning.
  • Do not attempt to diagnose the employee's problem, ask why or counsel the employee. In addition, don't moralize or make value judgments.
  • Do not permit behavior that may be hazardous to another person, the employee or the agency.
  • Do not substitute a referral to FEAP (Faculty and Employee Assistance Program) for taking necessary actions under the policies for Performance Evaluation or Standards of Conduct. The FEAP acts in an advisory capacity only and cannot assume or share responsibility for performance or behavior.
  • Do not discuss the employee's behavior or performance with anyone else except those with definite need or right to know i.e., Employee Relations, higher management.

Appropriate Supervisory Actions (DOs)

  • Do establish the levels of work performance you expect. Set the limits that you will tolerate.
  • Determine what is acceptable and unacceptable to you.
  • Do document all absenteeism, tardiness, incidents on the job, and poor performance. Be specific with dates, times, and people.
  • Do be consistent. Treat all employees equally.
  • Do base the session on WORK PERFORMANCE, not on personal issues.
  • Do be firm. Be direct. Speak with authority.
  • Do be prepared to deal with the employee's resistance and denial, as well as hostility. (Discussing this with the FEAP Coordinator may help you deal with your own feelings and avoid a possible argument with the employee.)
  • Do avoid talking to the employee about personal problems. Discuss the Employee Assistance Program.
  • Do get a commitment from the employee as to what steps he or she will take to improve work performance. Continue to document.
  • Do make the referral to the FEAP Coordinator.