If you don’t watch your staff, don’t be surprised if they go and party!

My father-in-law tells me about a janitor who works in his Association’s building. Since he was the Association President that year, he was the one who interviewed and oriented that personnel before hiring him.

The janitor was good. He has initiative,” he shared. “He would come in on time, mop the floors, clean the bathrooms, and even change the light bulbs when they need changing.”


“Even though I wasn’t there everyday,” he added, “I would see the janitor happily working.”

When my father-in-law’s term was finished, he turned his duties over to another administrator.

One day, this administrator called him to complain about the janitor.

Apparently, the janitor would time in at 8:00am, disappear, and then work a little before timing out on time at 5:00pm. The administrator felt that the janitor was not working well, and was asking for advice on how to handle him.

My father-in-law told me, “When a personnel stops doing their job, it’s usually not the personnel’s problem. But rather the supervisor’s problem.”

Then he paused and looked at me. He wanted me to learn the important lesson.

I smiled.

I got the lesson.

To be a good manager, you have to constantly monitor and supervise your staff. 

If they do the right thing, you have to praise and compliment them. You need to show them that you are invested in them and care about how they are doing their work.

If they know that you know that they are doing their job, then they know that you will not forget them come bonus season. Of course, if a staff is doing their job, you will have to compensate them accordingly. So it’s crucial to show the staff that you know that they’re doing their job. That your eyes are wide open and you see their faults and their successes.

At the same time, you have to catch them as soon as they make a mistake. THEN CORRECT THEM ON THE SPOT.

One of my former supervisors would always bring erroneous documents back to the head office. When asked about them, she would say, “I don’t know. Ask the staff. It’s their hand that wrote in the receipt.”

Therein lies the problem — the former supervisor does not take responsibility for her task in spotting and correcting her staff’s mistakes.

The former supervisor did not check the staff’s work at the store. Instead, she brings them — wrong and all — back to the head office to inflow the items. Consequently, the staff feels they are doing the forms correctly, and keep on making the same careless mistakes. This makes the supervisor’s job harder, because she needs to constantly correct her staff.

Compare this to another of my supervisors: She is a perfectionist.


Even from Day 1, she would look at her staff’s work and correct them immediately when they make a mistake. The supervisor would tell the staff how she wants things to be done, and does not want the staff to deviate from her instruction.

As a result, her work is easier because she has had the staff complete the forms the way she wants it, file the papers by date, and write the forms on her outflow book for her checking. She doesn’t have to waste too much time re-organizing and refiling the papers. The staff already does it for her.

So when she goes to the store, she only needs to check the forms if they are in order and stapled properly. Every time something is wrong, she will correct them immediately so that the staff does not do it again. Then she signs the logbook and brings it back to the head office.

This supervisor is highly respected by the staff. She is very strict with them, but her staff likes working under her because they perform better. When I talk to them, they say, “I am very thankful for (Supervisor name here). She motivates me to work harder, and hence, my salary is higher with her.”

The other more lenient supervisor has very little control to her staff.

Her staff always circumvent the rules and bully the former supervisor. I let her go last week. While she is a nice person, she cannot supervise staff properly.

What’s the Lesson Here?

Everyone wants to be happy with their job.

When they are happy with their job, they are motivated and would like to please their bosses more. But staff always need to know that their boss are watching them. That the bosses care about their work and well-being as much as them.

So I understood my father-in-law’s lesson — It is our job as bosses to make sure we watch and correct our staff. If we do this properly, we will have happier, more productive workers. If we are too lose, our staff will think work is a joke and will not work as hard.

The problem with the administrator,” my father-in-law ended his story, “Is that she is too lazy. She comes in way after 8:00am call time, does not really monitor the janitor’s work and expects him to work.” 

Then she complains about him that he’s not working,” he added. “When the staff is not working, it’s because the administrator is not working as well. She is lazy and just coasting and expect that other people will do their work without any effort from her.”

“Do not be like the administrator,”  he concluded.

How about you? What is your management style? Do you agree with my father-in-law?

Have a great weekend!




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