I replay some conversations (in my mind) with management – to make sure I assessed the situation reasonably. I paid attention to what they said, but I really wanted to know what they thought. So I interviewed some supervisors to learn their perspective.
I asked them what did they want to tell their staff, but may not have the ability to say. Some responses surprised me. I appreciated their willingness to share.
Professional appearance matters: The way employees dress leave an impression. It doesn’t affect their ability to do the job, but is can show how serious they are about their career. I report dress code violations to human resources. It’s a policy issue. I’m concerned employees would feel uncomfortable or that I am retaliating against them. I take the issue to HR when colleagues tell on each other. I don’t want anyone to feel bad about their choices. I want people to work in peace.
Office drama affects more than the people involved: Dealing with office pettiness can make anyone have a bad day. Feelings of anger can spill over into work performance. Too much tension halts communication. People may be short with the customers and not even realize what they are doing it. It puts everyone in an awkward position. I encourage people to take a break after a heated discussion.
We’re caught in the middle: Middle management is tough and isolating. I don’t have the authority to attend some leadership meetings, but I’m expected to carry their message. I may not agree with the procedures I’m expected to enforce.
I tell the staff the change was brought on by a new perspective. People do not want to change workflows if they are efficient. I encourage them to document the changes for leverage. I do not share my personal grievances with my employees, but I empathize with their concerns.
Competency affects credibility: I want to hire people who have a hunger for learning. That feeling should never go away – not even for a veteran. No one should get complacent. If you have so many years of experience, I expect you to perform at a certain capacity.
I do understand there is a learning curve for new employees. I want them to take time to learn their craft, take courses and study online. Mistakes happen. I want them to check their work before they give it to me or to someone else in the department.
If I have to correct the same mishap often, I wonder if the person can do the job. I want to know the employee comprehends what I’m saying. If clarity is needed, I will walk through the task with the employee again. Sometimes I’ll drop subtle hints, and they will correct the problem. Providing consistently good work shows credibility and trustworthiness in the workplace.
Camille Doty is part of the GovLoop Featured Blogger program, where we feature blog posts by government voices from all across the country (and world!). To see more Featured Blogger posts, click here.