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When 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.
There 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:
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?'
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