a supervisor appeals to his boss or the human resources department for authority
to take disciplinary action or terminate an employee, it's common for the response
to be, "Have you done everything that you needed to do?" While it's
easy to ask this question, it's rare that the HR rep or senior supervisor is able
to specify exactly what it is that the supervisor is responsible for doing.
are five-and only five-things that a supervisor is responsible for doing before
he can legitimately say, "I have done everything I am responsible for doing."
These five things are to clearly specify the exact gap between desired performance
and the employee's actual performance, provide whatever training is available
to develop the needed knowledge and skills, remove any obstacles that prevent
the individual from performing properly, provide feedback so the individual knows
exactly how well he or she is doing, and arrange appropriate consequences so that
the person doesn't find himself punished for doing a good job or rewarded for
performing poorly. For each these items I have listed below two questions to ask
to be sure that management's responsibilities have been met:
o Can the individual explain exactly what is expected?
o Does the individual understand the exact gap between desired performance and
o Does the
employee have the knowledge and skills needed to do the job?
o Has the individual
received the same training as other supervisees?
o What happens to the individual:
he performs properly?
2) when he does not perform properly?
o Does doing
the job properly or quickly produce unpleasant consequences?
o How does the individual know exactly what's expected?
does the employee know exactly how well or how poorly he's doing?
o Does the person receive any conflicting messages or instructions?
Does the employee have the time, the tools, the equipment, the authority, and
the support needed to do the job?
Once the supervisor has asked
and answered these questions, he has done everything that he is responsible for.
The burden for solving the problem now shifts to the employee. No longer will
the supervisor, the night before he fires a supervisee, have to grapple with the
question, "Is there anything else I could have done?'
- Grote, Dick, Discipline
Without Punishment, AMACOM: New York, 2006
Reflection Exercise #5
The preceding section contained information
about shifting responsibility from supervisor to supervisee. Write three case
study examples regarding how you might use the content of this section in your
What five concepts clearly specify the exact gap between desired performance
and the supervisee's actual performance? Record the letter of the correct answer