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New Blogpost: Work creation through procrastination!
Recently I've dealt with a number of cases from a variety of clients where procrastination has made straightforward situations much, much more complicated. These include tolerating unacceptable behaviour for many months (in some cases years) and then wondering why the employee gets upset when he is taken to task over it. This inevitably takes a lot more management time and resources to resolve the matters as arguments fly.

Letting an unacceptable behaviour drift is tantamount to giving a signal that it is OK. It is a bit like children in a class at the beginning of term testing their teacher to see what they can get away with – that’s why trainee teachers are told never to smile at their class before Christmas! Once the children understand strict boundaries, most of them tend not to push too hard afterwards and the teacher can relax a little. In many ways, employees are similar – some will try to push the boundaries to see how far they can get without being reprimanded. If a manager does not signal that the boundary has been reached, then the employee believes that they have implicit permission to carry on in the same way – whether that relates to clocking off before the normal time or taking home materials belonging to the employer – or even deciding which pieces of work they are going to do rather than the ones allocated by their supervisor. A manager has the right to manage his/her employees. Of course that doesn’t include bullying or asking them to undertake something that is beyond their competence if they haven’t been trained. However, employees are required to follow reasonable management instructions and if they refuse, the employer should consider dealing with the refusal under the disciplinary procedure. It may be that the employee had a very good reason for failing to follow the instructions, but if the employer investigates the matter then that will become clear.

Condoning inappropriate behaviour from one employee implies that it is also OK for others to do likewise. However, if the employer disciplines one employee, but not another for behaving in the same way, then there is the potential for complaints of discrimination. That’s why it is really important to ensure that all employees are treated fairly and that records are kept of decisions made.

So if you’re still looking for a good New Year’s Resolution, try making sure that matters are dealt with promptly and fairly at work. It will save you a lot of work and worry in the long run.
Posted on 19 Nov 2016

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