Some people have more trouble than others managing personal relationships. When such a person has a supervisory role, the result can be disastrous.
At the very least, the workplace can become chaotic and unharmonious. And that certainly isn’t good for productivity, customer relations and a host of other important business goals.
Don’t fear discharging a lousy manager based on what you observe or find out following an investigation. The fact is, you don’t have to verify every detail or be 100% certain about every argument the supervisor may have had with co-workers or subordinates, as long as you conducted your investigation in good faith.
Harmony is important, especially today when many employees are being asked to pick up the slack for employees lost to a downsizing. Don’t let a poor manager make the problem worse.
Recent case: Aubrey Goodwin, who is black, worked for a minority-owned company that provides housing services for federal government agencies.
She developed a personal relationship with another manager, but soon broke it off. Then the company hired a white woman who apparently soon developed a personal relationship with the same manager Goodwin had dropped. Goodwin and the woman, whom Goodwin supervised, did not get along.
When the woman was seen crying and chasing after the manager with whom she had the relationship, Goodwin reported it to upper management.
The company conducted a short investigation and concluded she was unable to manage her staff effectively.
The report noted that Goodwin had admitted in writing that her earlier relationship with the manager was inappropriate at work. Management said that her prior relationship had been unprofessional and might be one of the reasons she wasn’t effectively managing the new employee. It fired Goodwin.
She sued, alleging she had really been fired because she wanted to discipline a white employee.
The court said Goodwin hadn’t proven that the company’s stated reason—her inability to manage her workforce—was a pretext for retaliation. It dismissed the case. (Goodwin v. Harrington, Moran, Barksdale, Inc., No. 3:07-cv-334, WD NC, 2009)
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