A few days a week a woman comes to the house to sit with Mom for a couple of hours so I can get out of the house. I almost always go to the same restaurant for breakfast because it’s relatively close, they know me there and they have the best grilled raisin bread in town.


ebullient_av / Pixabay

A couple of days ago I was there when the young guy came in with his baby son, who might have been just over a year old. They sat in the booth in front of me and were facing me, so I got to keep looking over at them as I enjoyed my breakfast. I tend to love looking at children, so this wasn’t upsetting me.

What was upsetting me was the father not paying attention to his son. After they sat down, he pulled out his smartphone and spent all of his time on it. His son, needing attention like any other child at his age, was playing with anything he could get his hands on. The lucky thing for me is that he didn’t throw anything my way; that would have been problematic.

As I watched this scene, I thought about how many people in leadership positions I’d seen over the years who couldn’t tell you almost anything about a majority of their employees work performance. Every so often I’d ask “how good is so-and-so” and I’d get either a standard “good worker” or “okay I guess” or something along those lines. Every once in a while they’d gush over someone, and I’d wonder if maybe that person was making sure the director knew about their performance because they were telling them what they were doing.

Sometimes I let it go since they weren’t my employees. Other times I asked “how do you know”? That threw people off, and they’d either say “I just know” or stay silent; how professional is that?

The last time I was consulting out of town, I saw a good number of employees who were either walking around talking to people all the time or talking on their smartphones instead of concentrating on work. I know this because a number of people were fascinated by me for some reason (a New Yorker working in a Southern hospital I suppose lol) so they’d stop by my cubicle to talk to me, which sometimes made me uncomfortable because it’s something I’m not used to, and those talking on their smartphones weren’t exactly being discreet.

If the directors weren’t paying attention to their employees to see if they were doing any work, then how much attention could they have been giving to the quality of the work they were completing? It’s no wonder people in leadership positions are so stressed; many of them have no idea what’s going on right in front of them.

For once I’m not going to lecture. I’m not going to give a lot of long winded tips. Instead, I’m going to remind you, the leader, about the responsibilities you’ve undertaken as that leader of people.

It’s up to you to know what your employees are doing. It’s up to you to set the standard. It’s up to you to create policies and procedures so you give everyone the chance to be as proficient as possible. It’s up to you to set up ways to track performance. It’s up to you to delegate responsibility, enough so you can actually manage, but not so much that you end up not doing any actual work yourself.

Pay attention to your employees needs while paying attention to their work performance. What they do or don’t do is entirely on you as the person in charge. Embrace the responsibility, learn how to do it well or eventually someone else will be the leader.

Don’t let something bad that you could have controlled happen on your watch; nothing good will ever come of it.
 

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