Address the Responsible Party

How many times have you received an email that has absolutely nothing to do with you(r behavior)? “Don’t come to work late.” “Don’t wear leggings to work.” “Please realize that at Doe, Doe and Doe, LLP coming to work sober is a must.”  After reading these emails, which are never as short as my simple statements above but, instead, unnecessarily riddled with HR-appropriate, politically-correct jargon that leaves you wondering what happened to that 3 minutes of your day, you are left asking one rhetorical question in the break room “Why didn’t the manager just call John (generic culprit’s name) into his ****ing office?”

Why are we, as adults, so afraid to pull someone to the side and say “Hey, Jane, that skirt doesn’t meet the standard of professionalism we have here at Doe, Doe & Doe. It’s OK. You didn’t know today but if you could dress more like Shawnda from now on, that would be great.” The problem is, we don’t want to offend anyone because we live in such a litigious society but guess what? We have to eventually step up to the plate and say “This is unacceptable.”

In addition, sending an email to everyone is not going to help because, usually these emails are addressing things that many of us would consider common sense. If I’m John and don’t have any common sense before the email was sent, what in the world makes you think that an email that doesn’t explicitly state my name is going to resonate with me?  In short, common sense is not common but, it can be assumed that everyone under the manager’s scope can understand directions.

So, upper management, I ask one thing of you: When there is a problem in your store or department or organization, have the courage to address the source of the problem and not just hope that the email does the job. The person really may not know that it is a problem and fix it immediately. But, if you let it linger, you’re putting their livelihood at risk and running the risk of having to spend the funds needed to hire and train someone else.


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