A friend invited me to her new home today to see the place and to enjoy lunch outside on the patio. The conversation turned to her experience working as holiday help for a department store. She described a communication encounter with a supervisor that still stings even though it took place several years back. She was helping a customer with a large order and was not in the location her supervisor expected to find her.
This supervisor could have asked if there was a reason my friend was not at her assigned post. Instead the woman scolded my friend as if she were a child goofing off. When my friend tried to explain that she was helping a customer, the supervisor merely continued the scolding with a more imperious tone. My friend quit soon after. The store lost a vivacious, customer-centered, quality-focused worker. What would make this supervisor think that treating employees like errant children is an effective approach to getting good work done?
Author and consultant Kathleen A. Paris, Ph.D., speaks on healthy workplaces, provides consulting for strategic planning, process improvement and redesign, and professional development for leaders. Read more »