Monday, May 11, 2009

Bad Managers aka Dumb and Dumber...

This is a story of two managers from my small town in Missouri who will be known as Mr. Dumb and Mrs. Dumber. They've earned the titles so why not? Two different business's, two different managers using the same management style I'll refer to as 'Stupidity'. 

Let's get right to it. We'll start with manager #1 I'll refer to as Mr. Dumb. He's the manager of our local Sonic, a chain of restaurants I'm sure many have heard of.  My son worked there off and on for many years. When Mr. Dumb first arrived as the new manager he seemed to be just what the store needed. He pitched in and got things done and all the employees were happy to work with him. Within a year of his arrival, things began to change very quickly. At first it was just occasional jokes with the employees, which by itself wasn't necessarily a bad thing. 

Over the next few days and months he began to step it up a notch. He decided for his entertainment it was humorous to start arguments between the employees and then he'd sit back and laugh about it. Next, he started with more serious infractions such as stealing one employees cellphone while she was in the lady's room. When she came out he was going through her texts and phone numbers and other personal information and showing it to other employees. Shortly after that incident her phone came up missing from work for a couple of days and then mysteriously turned up. He began harassing the employees and if they protested this behavior he fired them. If an employee was ill, they were informed that they either found a replacement for there hours, came to work, or they would be fired. There was another incident in which an employee need a second job in order to get enough hours to equal a 40 hour week. The employee was to work days at the Sonic and 3 nights a week at his other job. It was agreed between the manager and the employee that he would get off an hour earlier so they he could change and arrive on time for his second job. On the second day he refused to let him leave and told him he would just have to call his other employer he would be late.  Of course we all know what happened. He lost his new job not to mention the health insurance he was to receive not available at his job at Sonic. 

This behavior was reported to the district manager over this area's franchises'. He said he would look into it and make things right. After the manager was disciplined for his behavior things were calm for a month or so. Being the inept manager Mr. Dumb is, he slowly went back to his old behavior. He was late opening the store, and employees received many customer complaints from the usual early morning crowd. This was mentioned to the manager at customer requests. He told the employee he was the manager and therefore could do anything he wanted. At this point he got into the face of the employee and began screaming over and over asking the employee if they wanted to fire him (this is the employee who had lodged the original complaint). This behavior persisted for 10 to 15 minutes with the assistant manager witnessing the entire event. The employee ignored the yelling and kept working until he was finally ask to leave the store. The employee went strait home and called the district manager to report to him what had happened. The employee was told to give him a few days and he would be in town to investigate the situation and he then would report back to him what would be done. In the mean time this employee was losing income. When he didn't hear anything from the district manager for a week he touched base with one of the other employees who informed him the district manager had been reassigned to another region. 

So now what? That's Sonics resolution to the problem? Instead of bringing in a new manager who knows how to do his/her job they instead reassign the district manager who was trying to resolve the issue? Whats wrong with this picture? Is that managements solution to everything these days? Lets just sweep it under the rug instead of dealing with the issue at hand. I'd love to hear Sonics' take on this situation and I intend to find out.

OK, lets get on to manager #2. She shall be referred to as Mrs. Dumber. It's obvious to me that she's not had a lot of management training or didn't pay attention, I'm not sure which. In this particular Casey's General Store the turnover is continual. Most of it due to the managers lack of interviewing skills. Most of the employees hired don't make it long because they simply don't want to work or follow the rules. They slack and put their work off on the other employees, mainly the assistant manager. Every time they lose one or two employees the assistant manager ends up filling in the spaces until someone new can be hired and trained as the manager is unwilling to do it. Of course the assistant manager is the one that usually also does all the new hire training.

On top of not having enough employees to cover all the shifts, there is also the problem of employee illnesses. They are required to either find a replacement for their hours, come in sick or lose their jobs. Finding a replacement should fall under the managers job not the employees and they shouldn't have to worry about their job when their sick. It happens and the manager should have a back up plan for these situations. Requiring an employee to come in sick is wrong on its own merit, but requiring an employee with a contagious disease is just plain stupid. Not only do you risk the health of the other employees but also the customers who come into the business to shop. Forcing an employee to work with strep throat in any business is ridiculous, but in a business that prepares and sells food just seems to me to be moronic to say the least.  It would have been endangering everyone the employee came in contact with and opened them up to lawsuits. 

There are many more examples of their 'Stupidity' style of management, but maybe I'll bring those up at another time. Otherwise we'll be here for the next 10 years complaining about Mr. Dumb and Mrs. Dumber and I'm sure we both have other things to do.

In closing, I'd like to recommend to Mr. Dumb and Mrs. Dumber and all those other managers out there that use the 'Stupidity' management style its time to get a brain, a clue and a bit of common sense. Being a manager number 1 does not give you the right to treat your employees with disrespect, nor does it give you the right to threaten their jobs and the health of others when their sick. For goodness sake use some common sense here. If you treat you're employees with respect and dignity they will meet or exceed any goal you could set for them. Everyone has the right to work in a peaceful environment without the worry of losing their jobs because the manager feels they have the right to be a bully. You've had time since the days of the playground to outgrow this behavior. Get over yourselves!

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