Welcome to the Small Business Ideas Forum! We are a community of over 100,000 small business folks with over 163,000 posts for you to browse. We pride ourselves on being the friendliest forum you will find and we'd love to have you as a member of our community. Please take a moment and register for a free account. If you need any help, please contact Chris Logan.

Small Business Ideas Forum

Small Business Ideas Forum

A friendly place to share small business ideas and knowledge, ask questions, find help and encourage others that are involved in the small business industry. Topics include small business marketing, generating revenue and small business computing.

Go Back   Small Business Ideas Forum > General Issues > General Small Business Issues
Register Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 13th June 2007, 10:52 AM   #1
BISInspector
Member
 

Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Miami, Florida
Posts: 5
Send a message via MSN to BISInspector
Default I Need Help With An Employee

I have an employee who has been working for me for about a month as a secretary scheduling my appointments. She has a great personality, comes early, leaves late, hardly ever takes a full lunch, and is very dedicated with a positive attitude. I have one serious problem with her though. No matter what I do, she cannot seem to deal with problems herself. She is ok when i've gone over a specific situation with her, but if something new happens, even if it's very similar to something she's encountered before, she has to ask someone (usually me) what to do instead of taking a moment to think about it first.

Usually this isn't a problem if it happens rarely, but she takes it to an extreme. I get interrupted about 20 times an hour making it impossible for me to actually concentrate on anything.

I need to change her first response to think about the problem and possible solutions instead of going to ask someone what to do. Does anyone have any idea on how I can teach her to do that?

BISInspector is offline   Reply With Quote
Register or log in to remove this ad.
Old 13th June 2007, 05:03 PM   #2
woodman3
Member
 

Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Florida
Posts: 7
Default Understand your employee

This is a hard issue to deal with because this employee sounds as if she is a co-dependent type personality. What I would suggest is to coach her to write down the problems she has to deal with in a list format and approach you only at specific times to briefly review her list. By having her write the problems down she may actually come to a resolution as she puts it on paper. to only allowing her to review this list with you at specific times that fit into your schedule otherwise you will always have the interruptions of this person asking for advice on issues that they can resolve given the time to think about it and given the ability to make the decision.

Empowering an employee to make decisions requires giving them the tools to accomplish what they need. If she has the tools at her disposal and understands that you will respect her decisions on minor matters she may be more inclined to make smaller decisions and except responsibility for them.



woodman3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 13th June 2007, 05:12 PM   #3
Crimson Fox
Senior Member
 
Crimson Fox's Avatar
 

Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Posts: 452
Default

Well if you are saying that she interrupts you 20 times a day and that she only interrupts when something new comes up…are you saying something new comes up 20 times a day?

If it's not 'really' 20 times a day then it's only a month and I think she'll learn over time. If it is 20 times a day then you have a lot of new things going on and I don't think it is the secretaries responsibility to be making decisions for you unless they are based in situations she has encountered in the past.

Make sure let her know you will only be answering her queries about a specific situation once. But make sure that that one time sets a precedence for every situation like it in the future. You won't be able to flip flop on your decision making or your employee will loose confidence and ask you every time anyway being unsure which is the right course of action.

If she asks the same question twice, remind her, and ask her what your answer was last time. Tell her you won't be answering this question again. Over time she will get the idea.

The major thing to do here is make sure you are consistent in your approach to situations or there is no way that she can be.

Then be firm when answering the second time without making her feel too stupid.

Good employees can be hard to come by so if it takes a little time to train one up in the beginning it may be worth it in the long run.

__________________
Have you seen our services in:
Brand Advertising, Marketing and Visual Design Promotion
and don't forget The Brand Design Blog
Crimson Fox is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th June 2007, 09:47 AM   #4
BISInspector
Member
 

Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Miami, Florida
Posts: 5
Send a message via MSN to BISInspector
Default

Thanks, you have really given me something to think about. I'll let you know how it turns out.

BISInspector is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 14th June 2007, 09:55 AM   #5
zoobie
VIP Contributor
 
zoobie's Avatar
 

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Philippines
Posts: 1,743
Send a message via Yahoo to zoobie
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by woodman3 View Post
What I would suggest is to coach her to write down the problems she has to deal with in a list format and approach you only at specific times to briefly review her list. By having her write the problems down she may actually come to a resolution as she puts it on paper. to only allowing her to review this list with you at specific times that fit into your schedule otherwise you will always have the interruptions of this person asking for advice on issues that they can resolve given the time to think about it and given the ability to make the decision.
Hope you'll give more time to your employee to improve her attitude. You can remind her if she's unaware that what she is doing is consuming a lot of your time in which you have your own work to do, too. Someday she'll thank you.

__________________
Check out Zoobie's reviews on different Internet Marketing products in Zoobie.TV. Also try this site for Free Affiliate Marketing Training .
zoobie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th June 2007, 03:09 AM   #6
welford
Member
 

Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 12
Default

BISinspector, remember to post you follow-up about her. I also would like to know the result.

welford is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16th June 2007, 09:37 PM   #7
MarieS
Member
 
MarieS's Avatar
 

Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 7
Default

Since she is new, she obviously does not trust her own judgement or doesn't know her level of responsibility (where she can make decisions and where not). As a result, she asks because she wants to make sure she is doing what is best for the company/situation.

It also sounds like she is learning as she goes...and asking you as issues arise IS her way of getting the information, so it will be important that she gets a bigger lesson from getting her questions answered than just "choose A or choose B". She needs to know WHY and that will help her make judgements on her own in the future. If the issues seem too piddly for you to deal with, I can offer a few suggestions that have worked for me in the past.

ONE: make sure you both understand her overarching responsibilities, what parameters she really IS in charge of.

TWO: let her know which areas you trust her judgement, AND that you trust her judgement!

THREE: set aside time for a mid-day or morning pow-wow so she can bring you any unresolved issues in a bullet list to tackle together at one sitting. I repeat the encouragement that she learns the WHY behind each decision so she is empowered next time. You might also suggest that she begin to bring you a "proposed solution" to the issues so you both can acknowledge her level of judgement.

Hope any of that is helpful.


Last edited by MarieS; 16th June 2007 at 09:39 PM. Reason: type-o
MarieS is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 18th June 2007, 05:56 AM   #8
jillybeans
Member
 

Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 63
Default

Seems to me that her job has not been particularly defined. You stated she was hired as a secretary to do your scheduling. She was not hired as an Assistant to resolve issues.

Perhaps she doesn't feel she has the authority as a Secretary to do the scheduling to resolve issues and as a new hire, doesn't want to overstep her bounds and risk being fired.

Having her make a list of the issues and her recommendations for resolving them, having a specific time twice per day to discuss them, and then in a few weeks explaining your complete satisfaction with the job she's doing, the recommendations she's made and now your desire to have her resolve issues of this level on her own and apprise you by memo after the fact might work. Oh, and if she's taking on a new level of responsibility, let her know that once her probationary period ends, she'll be receiving a raise would be a reasonable response on your part to her taking on additional responsibilities.

jillybeans

jillybeans is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st June 2007, 03:58 PM   #9
BISInspector
Member
 

Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Miami, Florida
Posts: 5
Send a message via MSN to BISInspector
Default Not Working

I'd like to clarify a few things and post an update to my situation.

Firstly, because we are such a small company, I explained to her when I hired her all of her responsibilities and that she would be in charge of a wide variety of things (in fact, the ad she responded to was really for an administrative assistant). I do think MarieS hit the nail right on the head with the statement about her not trusting her own judment. It seems, ever since she has gotten here, she is so afraid to make a mistake, she must get approval on everything repeatidly, from miltiple people before actually doing something. I think it might be her previous work experiences.

I really love the ideas you all have come up with, expecially going over the issues at scheduled times with her bringing possible solutions. However, it has not been going as well as I imagined. My company deals primarily with extremely time sensitive issues. It seems that all the problems she comes up with are so time sensitive she cannot wait until a meeting with me.

I have also discovered another part of this problem is communication. She does not seem to have very good communication skills. This could also be part of the problem. (so any tips on teaching communication would be great).

There is also something I would like you folks to comment on. I'm not the only person that works with her, she also asks questions to her co-workers. I've noticed that she asks them many more questions than she does me. I'm not sure if this is because it's a friendly chat with her co-workers or if it's because i'm just a mean S.O.B.

BISInspector is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 21st June 2007, 05:05 PM   #10
MikeAnd
Member
 

Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 24
Default

I'm not sure if this helps, but I usually need 2-3 months to get used to all of the policies, procedures, and nuances at a company when I first go to work there.

If it were me, I'd spend a few hours a week helping her to understand the business, the dynamic, and her responsibilities for the next few months. Since it sounds like this is a small or mid-sized company, I'm guessing that you don't have a formalized training program. So, she needs to learn from somewhere. If you're the boss, that probably means that she needs to learn from you.

Finally, I think that the more empowered someone feels to make a decision, the more likely they are to make that decision.

MikeAnd is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply   

Bookmarks




Thread Tools

Get Updates
RSS Feeds:
RSS Feed for General Small Business Issues RSS for this Category Only: General Small Business Issues

RSS Feed for Small Business Ideas Forum RSS for Entire Forum
Forum Rules


Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


Small Business Ideas Forum


 
At Your Business - Small Business Directory
Free Business Forms - Prewritten Documents
 
Search Engine Guide
Small business guide to search marketing

 
Small Business Brief
Fetching the Best Small Business Info


Free Links - Free Advertising
Free Guide - Online Directory



Advertise your business here
Contact us for more details!


Semantic Juice
Register now to access free Quick SEO service!


Rocket Lawyer
Sign up for free 7 day trial. Boost your biz!


Buy UPC Codes
Get your products listed online!




All times are GMT -5. The time now is 02:41 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.3
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Copyright 2004 - 2018 - Privacy