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Management Side

Weighing in on maturity

In my column last week, we asked you three questions. The first was, "You suspect a coworker has been stealing stainless steel from the storeroom. One day you catch them in the act. Not only has your suspicion been confirmed, they know you know. What are you going to do?"

Here are the responses:

> Report him. Theft is theft, and ultimately comes out of your wallet since you are an employee of the company affected.

> I do whatever is necessary to hold them accountable. Most likely, this would lead to their termination.

> Tell them how disappointed I am with their behavior, and demand they come clean to their supervisor. If they do not, it will be my responsibility to report them.

> Confront him and terminate or report him to management as appropriate.

> Encourage them to confess. If not, you must take the matter to a higher authority.

> Tell.

> Fire them.

> Report it and pursue appropriate disciplinary actions, including termination for dishonesty and stealing from the company.

> Give them the option to own up, but if they refuse, do it for them.

> Let them know I'm going to report it and then do so.

> I will give the coworker an opportunity to turn themselves in, and then if my deadline passes without a confession to management, I will alert them to the situation.

> I'm going to tell them to put the material back and that I'm going to let the operations manager know...

Then, we asked, "A young employee in your company is in a department where they do not work for you. This person is continually using foul language. They can't describe anything without adding some four letter adjectives. They stay just inside your company's sexual harassment policies. How do you counsel them?"

The responses to this situation:

> Give him 'helpful advice' that such language is not only offensive to some, but also inappropriate in a business environment and will likely lead to his/her stunted career growth. Set the example by keeping your communications professional.

> I let them know that their language is inappropriate and will certainly limit their career at a minimum. I strongly recommend that they change their behavior. If it continues after that, I take the issue to their supervisor.

> Remind them that one's vocabulary is an indicator of intelligence, and that foul language in most professional people's ears is as offensive as poor strategic management decisions.

> Have a positive confrontation with him and try to focus on getting him to understand that has immature behavior will retard his career development or perhaps get him terminated. I faced this exact situation earlier in my career and handled it as described - it worked.

> Take them to lunch. Discuss how you are bothered by their conduct. Try to get them to consider their negative influence on coworkers and especially clients.

> Tell him or her not to swear in your presence.

> First I would speak to their supervisor. If the situation did not improve I would bring the employee in and explain how people can find that offensive and that it can impact how people see you. It can also impede you career path.

> Advise them that excessive use of such language can refelct negatively on them, and thusly can impact their career.

> Point out that it is disrespectful to the other employees to use so much bad language and that it also demeans them in the other employees' eyes. (However, I do note that younger sections of the workforce than I find bad language quite normal and acceptable)

> Tell them I find the language offensive and explain that it's unprofessional and unnecessary to use such language. That it doesn't reflect well on them to do so.

> I would look for an opportunity to take this young person aside and ask them some questions about their future aspirations. I would attempt to frame motivation for them to "clean it up" in the context of their future. I actually had this situation with an older engineer who should have known better, but in my situation, the "gentleman" was recently assigned to my team. I could have come down with a mandate to him in this area, but instead, I asked him to clean it up based on his future and the reputation of our team. It worked.

> I pull this person aside after an offense, such that no one knows, and suggest that their career will be better served if they clean their language up - this isn't a bar or fight club.

Finally, we asked, "You walk into a work area and surprise two married employees, not married to each other, in an embrace. What do you do?"

> Reason for the situation unknown. If it affects their job performance, or if sexual harassment complaints surface, even that of making other employees uncomfortable, talk with the employees. Otherwise, refocus their 'energy' on business at hand.

> Having dealt with a similar situation, my reaction would depend heavily upon my relationship with each of the employees. When presented with it in the past, I strongly counseled the male employee involved to keep it professional at work and avoid even the appearance of an inappropriate relationship.

> Break out the smartphone and upload the video to youtube? -Nah. Go right up to them and ask if it's my turn yet? -Nah. Turn around and walk back out before being noticed? Probably. Those things will usually work themselves out without my intervention.

> Say a loud "Excuse me" and see how they react. I wouldn't rush to judgment in this situation.

> Depends on what you mean by "embrace." A hug? I would not be quick to jump to conclusions. Like the video of the lady hugging a cop...she was greatful that he had just use the Heimlich and cleared her airway.

> If you are a boss, tell them that PDA is against company policy (if it is). And in this town, nothing is a secret for long.

> I would report that to my boss.

> Let them engage in whatever behavior they choose to pursue in their own privacy. My relationship to them will change, as I don not condone behavior that is counter to the commitment they made to their spouse.

> Nothing

> Turn around and walk away and mind my own business.

> This is not my business, unless I have some other personal relationship with one of the parties. I have no idea what is going on in the situation or each of their lives. Unless this becomes a safety issue or job performance issue of some sort where I am responsible, I stay out of it. In fact, the embrace may be innocent, depending on its nature, and I will give them the benefit of the doubt. If either or both report to me and depending on the circumstances, I may have to discuss appropriate work place behavior with them.

> Make myself noticed, maybe say out load "Whoa" and suggest that they be more discrete...

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