View Full Version : Can the boss just lose it?

Zoe Girl
5-3-11, 9:08am
Really. I am not sure what I want to do but I think being very blunt and kinda angry with a person is the next step. It is okay I think because I tend to be really low key and understanding and gentle, but really people!

My one staff member who has had issues having her family at work (we run licensed child care and have rules about this) now has had her step daughter dropped off who is not registered with us. I mean really, we already had the talk, signed a paper concerning this, gave her chances to tell us how we can help. So my lead teacher did exactly what I would have said but the lady just didn't respond. I think it has come to me going over there and pushing it until I just tell her to clock out and go home for the day if the stepdaughter is there or telling her if she is dropped off my lead will tell her to clock out and go home, and she must do it. I am REALLY not looking forward to this.

Oh yeah, I have to suspend 2 kids for fights this week as well.

5-3-11, 9:37am
Zoe, what does the job contract require the employer to do to fire an employee? I would say she has come to the end when she does not listen and take steps to protect her job. There are good reasons to not have others at a licensed day care. I would not want unregistered individuals walking in and staying when the employee is there to take care of the paying customers.

You all have bent over backwards (understanding and gentle???). I would say this requires more than another gentle talk. What were the consequences given the last few times or are they glossed over by those speaking with her? Remember how we need to treat children? Give them the rules, ensure understanding, explain the consequences clearly, and then follow through without arguing or shouting. If she has a signed contract, did it give consequences and why is there any discussion of what will happen?

Just pull out the written statement and the employment contract or anything you have about requirements/consequences and hand them over. Tell her exactly what she has done and why the actions are being taken. Document everything. This is exactly what happens when the employees (kids) know that they can get away with a lot because there is no follow through by management (parents).

Zoe Girl
5-3-11, 9:59am
Thank you sweetana. I am in the process of learning to be a LOT more firm in many areas of my life. I get so frustrated because I do the clear and direct but generally nice method and then I feel pushed into a much more assertive mode which pushes all my buttons in the process. I am realizing that assertive people get challenged and it isn't just me that gets challenged because I am nice.

I KNOW this with kids, oh boy do I know it. And I have to do it with grown staff as well. The passive aggressive just baffles and frustrates me more than anything. I was in a long marriage with a very passive aggressive person and that behavior is horrible. However I am seeing now that I actually do have the power as mom or supervisor to impose the consequences that are needed and slowly, oh so sloooowly, I am getting to the point where I am heard and respected a little faster. I can't tell you the pain of making a stand, stating it clearly and then just having someone walk off like you said nothing (the stories from my marriage, most people don't believe me). It is a hard thing to know what to do with. I know my lead teacher was stuck there. She told the staff she 'could' clock out and go home if her stepdaughter was there. That is pretty clear to most normal folks, but this lady just didn't do it. In a previous meeting we brought up that her family needs to wait until after work to be there and she just said 'they know they aren't supposed to be here', um okay. So we went ahead and addressed any family members who were there when they shouldn't be and she started talking loudly behind the lead teachers back. So do you turn and address that person when you hear it or let it go (I think that isn't a good idea) and what do you say when you hear someone talking about you not so discretely? I think maybe just turning and saying "pardon me, I didn't hear that". That is okay until you get hit with something else you don't expect. This lady is just waaay too much work.

Thank you, I think I am prepared for my day the best I can be.

iris lily
5-3-11, 10:02am
Why do you continue to employ this person?

Look, firing people is hard. Most reasonable managers agonize over it. But really, you are not doing the job if you don't impose consequences. SOunds to me as though you've got the paper trail on her that you need.

But as always in these cases, work with your higher ups so that your organization meets the legal requirements.

This really is not about you. Step back a moment and see how ridiculous is the behavior of this employee.

Zoe Girl
5-3-11, 10:23am
Thank you Iris! Yes she is ridiculous. That is what is making it hard because I feel like I am looking at a joke. I do not have the power to simply fire her in my organization. I can write her up at this point, I am getting lots of encouragement to tell her things like how we want to help her succeed but it is hard to say to her at this time. My higher ups do not know the entire deal since sooo many of us are new right now. We have less than a month of our program for this school year and I did NOT recommend her for the coveted summer jobs but I also cannot just let this go.

One encouraging thing from my supervisors is that I was relating how she acts with her on-site immediate supervisor and my boss started with the 'we want her to succeed' and then I shared that during a staff meeting as soon as the lead teacher started to speak this lady turned her back and talked to someone next to her until I interrupted and told them that the lead teacher was speaking. This is a group of about 5-6 people in the meeting, very rude. I am pretty amazed she keeps on going considering she was hired when we had no standards and grandfathered in, she would NOT be able to get the same job again in this economy. I have a feeling that she won't make it the last month of the year and just take herself out.

5-3-11, 10:44am
Setting a limit by sending her home is a much preferable step to firing. You can set limits without anger; in fact it's much more effective to do so... discharge your anger however you need to before you take the next step.

Firing is always a last resort, IMHO.

5-3-11, 1:42pm
Firing is a last resort after clearly ensuring the employee knows the consequencesd of their actions. Ignoring a direct request (rule or command) that could clearly develop into a major issue with paying clients must have consequences. Immediate removal from the building via personal leave, unpaid leave or firing are steps that can be taken. If no steps are taken, what reason does she have to comply?

What if the unregistered others coming into the program caused a serious problem with the clients? Theft, fight, accident, damage, etc.? How would the agency be protected when they do not follow their own rules? And just who is the one going to take the blame? It usually is also the manager or person in charge for not following the rules set up to protect the clients/customers.

5-3-11, 1:44pm
In one downtown (high end) daycare, an employee was immediately fired for not ensuring all her kids were out of the playground and in the classroom. Even though the playground was secure and fully fenced. It was a rule and this daycare had a zero tolerance policy and kept to it. Unfair, maybe, but everyone knew the rules and consequences.

5-3-11, 6:52pm
no, you cannot, just lose it. People in managment are held to higher standards, as should be. Use a structured plan to move towards your goal. What about a "3 day layoff" for such offenses? Let them know ahead of time, make an announcement for everyone so there are no excuses. It has been my experience that not many employees intentionally get into trouble and we never know what personal problems they face at home. Many years ago, if I had not been able to take my young children with me to work as needed, they would have been left in a dangerous situation.

5-3-11, 7:43pm
Zoe, how old are the family members? If they are children, it is possible for them to be signed up for the program?

iris lily
5-3-11, 9:20pm
Setting a limit by sending her home is a much preferable step to firing. You can set limits without anger; in fact it's much more effective to do so... discharge your anger however you need to before you take the next step.

Firing is always a last resort, IMHO.

Sure, sending her home is fine. But how many times? The OP needs to be working with HR equivilant to determine progressive disciplinary action. Nothing will happen quickly, and you've got to give the employee a chance to turn her performance around, but the OP spoke as thought here was already a file of ignored warnings. If not, well--those steps have to be completed.

Anger has nothing to do with it.

Zoe Girl
5-4-11, 9:56am
Thank you all, I had this all in the back of my head all day before I went by that site at the end of the day. I really really did not want to deal with it but I have to say that part of the reason I did was to come back and tell you all, and not have to tell you I just let it slide. That is a good thing.

So since previous conversations have been met with almost no input on her part I had my statement in mind and went with it. I first checked in and asked if what I had heard was true, the stepdaughter was being dropped off. She said yes. I then verified that she is not registered for our program, she said yes. I then said that cannot happen, she had a choice to have the SD dropped at 6 when our program is over or to leave early and we will support what she needs to do. I assured her that there are no negative consequences to needing to leave early to take care of SD (the staff just got married 2 weeks ago). I then addressed that the Lead Teacher had already told her the same thing, my LT did great and told her that we could cover the last part of the day, it was not a problem and we were there to support her. At the end I did tell her that when she left me in charge of a group on Monday so she could complete some paperwork I needed and i did not know there was an unregistered child with me I was not happy or okay with that. It puts us at risk.

BTW, I know the previous manager had worked with her about her middle school daughter and got her registered even though she does not attend this school in order to support her. I probably would have done the same if she had actually approached either me or the lead teacher instead of just figuring she could do whatever she wanted without knowing our licensing an standards and policies.

This is part of an ongoing project at this site to teach the lead teacher management skills and also hold the staff accountable to listening to her. I think all my lead teachers would benefit from some management training and we will put that in our fall schedule (and yeah, i earn well under 30K a year for this, love my job but I am hoping that learning to deal better will also open some doors).

5-4-11, 7:53pm
"BTW, I know the previous manager had worked with her about her middle school daughter and got her registered even though she does not attend this school in order to support her. I probably would have done the same if she had actually approached either me or the lead teacher instead of just figuring she could do whatever she wanted without knowing our licensing an standards and policies."

If this is an option, and the woman just got married two weeks ago and is presumably now looking after a six year old child, why can['t the six year old child be registered in your program?

Is she such a poor employee that you want to fire her for other reasons? Why are you angry--sorry, if I missed the back story? I guess I feel some sympathy for this woman with a six year old to take care of, and now to lose her job because she had the child dropped off? Would it be an impossible situation to have her child there registered, and then just not hire her for the summer and fall if she is a poor employee?

Just seems like this might be a possible solution to the problem, at least until school is out. But maybe she is such a bad employee you need to fire her for other reasons. . .

5-5-11, 4:50pm
I ran child care centers for many years before I retired. My advice: tell her that the next time the family member arrives on site, then the employee MUST clock out and go home. Put it in writing, have her sign it, you sign it, make a copy, give her the copy. Then you MUST enforce it EACH AND EVERY time. One of 2 things will happen: either the family member will stop showing up, or the employee will resign. Win, win for you. Remember, people who resign are usually not eligible for unemployment, which is a good thing for your company.

Also, make sure your higher-ups know the entire history before you have a new document signed so that you are covered. It may be that they will take matters in hand and you'll be out of the loop, which is good for you.

Finally, if the employee simply finds it easier to go home early, you have every right to give her 2-weeks notice and fire her. After all, you need someone who can work a full shift. Win for you.

Zoe Girl
5-8-11, 3:27pm
It is going forward as best as can be expected. I updated my new supervisor and she said this is write up rather than talk and I agree. There are so many cases of her being told to do something specific and then just doing whatever she wants. So I am glad to support my lead teacher in writing this up (and relieved I am not fighting two sides of a battle here).

As for why I didn;t do the same thing for her with the step daughter as her older daughter from another school, she didn't ask. She didn't even say there was an issue. We already had a meeting where I asked what we could do to support her with the family issues while still following our regulations and she was very silent. So I can't fix what I don't know about.

5-8-11, 3:30pm
Zoe, can you ask her directly if it would help to have her step-daughter enrolled in the program? I agree that you can't fix what you don't know about. Asking a direct question may get you a direct answer.

Zoe Girl
5-9-11, 10:53am
Right now I am more concerned about her putting our licensing at risk. She has been doing this 5 years so this is not new. I will let you know how todays meeting goes.

5-9-11, 8:45pm
Reyes, from an administrators point of view, it's really difficult to have a family member enrolled in the child care where you are working. Issues related to favoritism, mostly.

5-9-11, 9:46pm
Sometimes employees just don't communicate their real issues with a job-related rule. I have one employee who only last week admitted that her lousy on-call response time was mostly down to three things: lack of skills to do some of the required tasks, lousy cell phone reception where she lives, and a long drive home where she can't effectively respond to emails/calls. Two of those things I can do something about, the third I can't do anything about, and some of her other reasons were just unjustified (sorry, but if you're on call your aerobics class will have to wait - unfortunately we all have to give up something while on-call; if you can't, swap with someone else).

It took a very gentle "how 'bout some improvement" comments in her annual review on my part, and floods of tears on her part to get that out of her. She's also going through a dreadful time in her personal life which I already knew about and am not unsympathetic to: I've told her that if she needs time off, a break from being on-call (it's a 4 week rotation), scheduling changes or flexibility, etc., she just needs to let me know. I find that being a manager is often about balancing the needs of the department/company/colleagues with the person sitting in front of you. Sometimes you just have to say "these are the minimum requirements of the job" followed by "how can I help you meet the requirements?"

Anyway, back to the OP. I think it's a matter of setting the standard that has to be met, then explaining the choices and the consequences. Sometimes there are no choices available, in which case "a non-negotiable standard" is a very useful phrase. ;) YMMV. I'm soft-hearted and find telling people to do what they don't want to do to be very difficult. But I'm getting better at it.

Zoe Girl
5-9-11, 11:23pm
I agree, I tend to be very soft hearted in general. It is hard for me to be the tough guy. I would do a lot of things for my staff (in 4 months I have had within my staff 2 deaths, two serious marital issues including a detox intervention, various illnesses, court dates, car problems, house flooding, etc. and every person has been able to take the time they needed). However as typical there is more to this story and the outright disrespect to her immediate supervisor is affecting the entire site and quality of our program as we go into trying for additional grant money to stay afloat. I feel pretty solid about my stand on this one even though it is harder than I usually am.