Sunday Soapbox–Perceptions Vary

In my new position I work in multiple stores and I often find myself being approached by both managers and clerks to vent or air their opinions about their job and store.  I usually try to stay neutral because it’s really none of my business but I’m always willing to listen because I know there’s a need to vent in our company.

The other day a clerk who was not happy with her manager made a comment to the effect of “I’m the only one that does any work around here.”  This employee may be one of the best employees in the store and indeed do a lot of things, but they are definitely not the only one working hard.  One thing I’ve discovered over the years is that EVERY employee in the store thinks they are doing a great job, even the ones that are close to getting fired.   Perceptions vary quite a bit.   If you’re a manager, it’s important to understand that, because unless you can convince the employee that they are NOT doing a great job, they aren’t going to hear anything you have to say and will not change the behavior that is a problem for you.

So managers, remember to focus on your employees behavior, not their personality (they’re not “lazy”, “stupid” or worst of all don’t say they “have a bad attitude”) and be prepared with examples and facts that support your assessment.  And clerks, keep in mind that unfortunately it’s not your opinion of your performance that ultimately matters, it’s your boss’s, and while you may do a lot of things right, there’s always something you can do better.   In a nutshell, there’s 2 sides to every story.   That is all.