Instilling Growth and Ownership

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#1
I wasnt really wanting to create an entirely new thread for this since I feel like I spam this section of the forums semi-regularly, but I wasnt sure of where to put it. Anyways onto the subject.


I've been advancing through my job field relatively rapidly in the past year and with that has come new responsibilities, roles to perform in, and people to lead. While I feel like I have developed as a leader a lot more than when I first started and picked up on small nuances to increase my performance and of those around me, I've ran into a wall so to speak.

Recently I've had multiple issues with a manager beneath me in regards to not following procedures, treating the people who work beneath her poorly, and playing the blame game when questioned about her results.

I've tried being understanding and given her some scenarios of what I have had to deal with that mirrored her own problems, I've also tried holding her directly accountable when the situation awarded it, I've also tried to have her look at the situation from the crewmembers position. Each and everytime is met with either, extreme measures of defense and blaming anyone around her, regardless of how absurd the accusation may be, or just a shoulder shrug of "well shit". With zero change in behavior following up. I understand completely that sometimes Murphy's Law rules the day, and sometimes plan F is going to fail as well and all you can do is just finish the day and look back on what could have been done better. But there comes a point where not everything can be blamed on Murphy.

I'm lost as to how I should coach and train her to change her current routine, I feel greatly for the crewmembers in our store because I've been in their shoes where I've had really shitty leaders and honestly it sucks and makes the job not worth doing or caring about and that is unacceptable.

Anyways, has anyone here had experiences with a situation like this and if so, what have you guys done to help alleviate it?
 
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Ooh-Rah

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#2
@SaintKP -

This is in my wheelhouse. Let's play this out....

A few questions to help get a better assessment of the business and the situation:

- You talk about 'crew members' which leads me to believe you are a single unit manager, likely a quick-service restaurant or retail store?
- Is she a direct report to you?
- Is she of a 'protected class' in anyway? (my every instinct says yes)
- Do you have 'firing' power over her?

I'll stop there until I have more to go on...
 
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#3
@SaintKP -

This is in my wheelhouse. Let's play this out....

A few questions to help get a better assessment of the business and the situation:

- You talk about 'crew members' which leads me to believe you are a single unit manager, likely a quick-service restaurant or retail store?
- Is she a direct report to you?
- Is she of a 'protected class' in anyway? (my every instinct says yes)
- Do you have 'firing' power over her?

I'll stop there until I have more to go on...

- Quick service. In the way the "chain" is setup, I am what would be called the Kitchen Department Manager, I typically have 2 regular managers underneath me and around 6 crew members as well.
- Yes
- Yes and no, from what I've noticed it's extremely difficult for a manager to be fired where I work, basically anything short of illegal or directly detrimental to the business you're still employed. However it doesn't mean that she doesn't get tagged out when she messes up.
- No, I dont have that authority, that would be the person above me which is the GM.
 

Ooh-Rah

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#4
- Quick service. In the way the "chain" is setup, I am what would be called the Kitchen Department Manager, I typically have 2 regular managers underneath me and around 6 crew members as well.
- Yes
- Yes and no, from what I've noticed it's extremely difficult for a manager to be fired where I work, basically anything short of illegal or directly detrimental to the business you're still employed. However it doesn't mean that she doesn't get tagged out when she messes up.
- No, I dont have that authority, that would be the person above me which is the GM.
Q - Is this McDonald's? I was an Area Director at McDonald's for 10 years and what are describing sounds like either McDonald's or B.K.

Q - Are you part of a corporate system or a franchisee?

Q - You said the person directly above you is the GM, does that mean you are the Asst. Manager?

Q - By "protected class" I meant is she black, Latino, gay, etc? She's already protected because she is a 'she', anything else only adds to the challenge you will have in dealing with her when it comes to HR.

Q - Do you have written documentation of all of the times you have attempted to coach her? Not necessarily a write up, but at least dates/times you can point to?

Q - Have you discussed this with your store manager? What is his/her perspective?
 
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#5
Q - Is this McDonald's? I was an Area Director at McDonald's for 10 years and what are describing sounds like either McDonald's or B.K.

Q - Are you part of a corporate system or a franchisee?

Q - You said the person directly above you is the GM, does that mean you are the Asst. Manager?

Q - By "protected class" I meant is she black, Latino, gay, etc? She's already protected because she is a 'she', anything else only ads to the challenge you will have in dealing with her when it comes to HR.

Q - Do you have written documentation of all of the times you have attempted to coach her? Not necessarily a write up, but at least dates/times you can point to?

Q - Have you discussed this with your store manager? What is his/her perspective?
- McDonald's and it's a franchise

- I guess? The way it works for us is that there is the Store Manager (GM), then 3 Department Managers, Shift Managers, then crew at large. I fall into the the Department section, not sure how that would translate to other settings.

- No she isn't

- It's largely been verbal, I've only completed documentation once because we lost a lot of money from waste because she wasnt paying attention to the ice cream machine for a few nights.

- He's frustrated as well because he's tried coaching her and he's often met with the same result as I am. But I dont think he's really ready to fire her, and I think I'm in the same boat. I occasionally see moments where she does great, but then it gets overshadowed the next day or week where she goes 2 steps back.

I think it may also be due to the fact that she just recently became a manager and they (my GM and my area supervisor) don't want to throw away the time and money they invested without trying everything possible to help her out. Which I'm ok with, I know I wasn't the best when i started out but I eventually came into my own. Then again, while it is "just managing" not everyone is able to do it in a high stress and frantic environment and still meet goals and targets. So I'm not really sure at this point.

ETA: By recently I mean in the last 3-4 months
'
 

compforce

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#6
You need for her to own the solution and hold her accountable. Here's how it works, note the shifts from we to you:
Let's say for this example that she is always late for her shift and her name is Jane

First tell a story about a real incident where her failure to meet expectations caused an issue

Jane, the other day Sally (the person that she was relieving) had to leave to pick up her daughter for a doctor's appointment. We had to leave the store in the hands of the crew chief for an hour until you arrived. While you were out, John cut his finger on a spatula.

Find out why it happened. Nothing will hurt you worse than to move forward and find out after you imply a threat that she was late because she was in a car accident or something else unavoidable.
Jane, what happened that caused you to come in late?

Ask her how to avoid the issue in the future with an open ended question. Don't beat around the bush, call her out.
Jane, the expectations for the management team are higher than they are for crew. It's expected that you are here on time every time. How can we fix this?

Let her get to a solution, you may have to ask leading questions to get to one you can accept. Once you hear a solution that will meet expectations, repeat it back to her, note the switch from "we" to "you". Also, we are pinning her down with a yes/no question. If she says "no" then you have to go back to leading questions until you get to another solution you can accept.
OK, so if you leave the house a half hour earlier you won't be late again, is that the plan?

If she agrees, you're done for now. Just say thank you and let it go. If she doesn't, then you need to pin her down. Notice that the point here is for her to come up with the solution and you simply repeat it back to her to get agreement. Now when she comes in late again you can have the next level conversation: (note that we start out with "we" again)

Jane, you remember last week we spoke about coming in late? We agreed that you were going to leave earlier so you would be on time. What happened?

Now you have to be very straightforward and explain how it is affecting the store. You need to pin her down and imply that there will be consequences if it happens again. Back to "you" and get a solution. Note that we call it a pattern, that's important.

Jane, your pattern of repeatedly missing the start of your shift is causing issues with employee morale and their following of procedures. When crew see a manager ignoring the schedule they feel like they can ignore it as well. We cannot keep going down this path. What are you going to do to make sure this doesn't happen again?

Third time, just let her go or demote her, she won't learn. This is about changing behavior, NOT about punishing a single incident. By the way, this technique will work in both directions although you definitely want to be comfortable with it before challenging your boss. The technique is from a course called "Crucial Confrontations" and it works. They have the book from the course and tapes of the lectures on Amazon if you wanted to get them.

https://smile.amazon.com/Crucial-Co...8595373&sr=8-7&keywords=crucial+conversations
 

Ooh-Rah

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#7
Have you ever seen this before?There are many versions of it out there, but you get the idea.

I'm going to be very direct with you, your store manager might be a fine manager, but he is is not an effective leader. There is a difference.

At the end of the day your GM is choosing to tolerate her poor behavior .... why?

1 - Your GM is afraid of conflict
2 - Your GM supported her promotion and now she is failing and he's afraid of looking bad
2 - Your store is short staffed already and he is afraid to lose her because it would require him to work more hours
It's one of the three....which one is it?

I have not worked for McDonald's in nearly 15 years and I still remember the basics of what they teach you in regards to coaching:
1. Observe
2. Give/receive feedback
3. Demonstrate the RIGHT way
4. Agree on what will change
5. Follow up

Have you been doing that every time?

Did you write her up for the ice cream machine? That is a major foodcost and safety violation.

while it is "just managing" not everyone is able to do it in a high stress and frantic environment and still meet goals and targets.
I am glad you said that, and understand. Most people do not 'get it', but the high a good shift runner gets from meeting drivethru times, service times, and sales goals in the middle of a $1k lunch hour is a hell of a rush. Some people cannot do it, they just can't.

Plan
Based on everything you've said so far, here is what I'd recommend.

1) Have a discussion with your GM about her. Get his support that you want to try and 'fix' her but that he'll have your back if she refuses to change.

2) Have a discussion with her (with your GM present) and tell her that you are not satisfied with her performance...and why. Be specific.

3) Be prepared for her to say, "well Jamie never...blah blah blah". The answer to that is always the same, "we are not talking about Jamie right now, we are talking about you".

4) Tell her specific area's you'd like to see her improve. SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.)

5) Tell her you will meet as a group again in two weeks to discuss her progress.

6) Look for ways to celebrate wins, make sure she knows you are trying to help.


As I said above, I have serious reservations about your GM. The good thing for you is that McDonald's, especially Franchise, is "next man up.". Continue to do the right thing and will will get your store eventually.

Sometimes it's not about the people you don't hire, it's more about the ones you don't fire.
 

Ocoka

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#8
I'd fire her ass. Or submit a package documenting her issues recommending termination.

There are two kinds of people in the machine: Faciltators or Obstructionists. Facilitators help the machine run smooth. Obstructionists grind the gears and slow production. Which is she? And if she's an Obstructionist, why is she still there?
 
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#10
@compforce Thank you for the advice I'll see about getting that book you linked, the stuff you talked about it is similar to what I currently do, except something I feel like (and this is something my supervisors have said to me in the past) is that I tend to be more passive than I should. Meaning that instead of coming down like a hammer I tend to go the kids gloves and treat everyone as my "friend", and while that's earned me the respect of my crew, because I don't berate or micromanage, the times I do actually come crashing down due to egregious errors I feel like the gravity of the situation is somewhat lost. I definitely need to develop more of a balance between being that guy you can joke around with and the hard charging "hard ass".

The longer I've been in a management\leadership position I'm starting to feel like that's a balance that's impossible to strike.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

@Ooh-Rah Thank you for the advice and image, saving it for a needed reminder every now and then.

Out of the 3 options, the best guess I could give is that he's afraid of confrontation, that's not to say that he isn't willing to put his foot down, because him and myself have butted heads before because we're both strong willed. But, that he's hesitant to actually pull the trigger and terminate employees, then again he also just became a GM around 8 months ago so I feel like he's still trying to come into his own.

I have been doing the process in regards to coaching, the one thing I know I can work on is consistency in regards to agreeing on what will change, I can follow up and ask what went wrong all day and night, but if we don't have a previously agreed course of action, that's on me for the failure to meet expectations. The incident was documented, and the employee response was that she had only been coached once before and this was the first incident on her shift that it had happened, when it had been coached and explained multiple times before not only with herself but the other closing managers.

I'm glad you knew exactly what I was talking about with that, I completely understand the stigma associated with working in a place like this, but, one thing this job has made me realize is that while I used to think I was completely monetarily motivated (don't get me wrong that's a pretty big aspect) I'm much more driven by having success. The feeling of having 4 hours straight of $1-1.6k hours all while giving out great service and meeting all of my goals or managing food cost and meeting a new store record in terms of FOB and enabling the management team to bonus is a high I can't really explain.

I'd like to advance further, especially since my original life goals were thrown haywire, or at the least get my schooling paid for by the organization. I'm extremely hesitant to try and "usurp" my GM so to speak. Loyalty is massive with me, and if I bust my ass for someone and have their back through thick and thin, I'd hope they would be able to do the same for me, or at the least help me correct my wrongs. Maybe it's a naive way of thinking, especially in business, I don't know.

I will see about talking to him about us having a sit down with her to see what we can do moving forward, I'd love to see her succeed and prove us wrong, but like you said not everyone can cut it doing this job.
 
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