Q: “I recently learned that my employees feel I have poorskills and am not suited for my position. I have been told that they gossip behind my back and make sarcastic remarks about me. One of them apparently sent a letter of complaint to human resources about my ‘aggressive behavior.’
“I received this information from trusted sources who work closely with these people. Since the backstabbers have made no effort to discuss their concerns with me directly, I would like to write them up for gossiping and unethical behavior in their. Can I do that?” Angry Supervisor
A: Upon learning that employees are disgruntled, a mature manager would want to explore the issues and develop a plan for addressing them. The fact that your immediate reaction is to punish the complainers actually gives some credence to their grievances.
Immature managers typically err by being either too lenient or too autocratic. Based on the evidence, you appear to fall into the latter category. If this is your first supervisory position or if you lack management training, then perhaps you've never had a chance to developskills.
Instead of writing up these unhappy employees, you need to create a personal development plan. If you have a helpful boss or human resources manager, ask for some feedback and coaching. Identify successful, respected managers and use them as role models. Seek out relevant books, workshops, or online resources.
Once you have a better understanding of leadership, meet with your employees and explain the changes you wish to make in your management style. Although you may now feel this would be a sign of weakness, hopefully you will come to see that it is actually a sign of strength.
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