Do We Have to Spoon-feed Them?Mar 14, 2012 Personal DevelopmentNo Comments
Do We Have to Spoon-feed Them?I often receive e-mails from subscribers who have grown frustrated with a particularsituation at work. Some time ago I received a note from a Millennial manager who was alittle fed up with the college “kids” whom she manages. This is what she wrote:“I am 27 and manage 20-30 college students in a campus health club. There is a huge differencebetween my expectations and what they think is acceptable. For example, we talked aboutdifferent ways that I can communicate with them about work information and came upwith the solution of putting events and schedules in a binder that everyone should reviewwhen they come in for a shift. Well, they still don’t look in the book, and I get the feeling likethey still think there is either too much information or that they should each be spoon-fed.Knowing this information is critical to their job performance, I’m in a quandary as to how toget them to read a page or two. Am I crazy or was it not like this just five years ago?”I suggested that she begin by considering their motivations. I suspect that most of these“kids” are part of a work-study program, working in the club simply to earn money on apart-time basis. Their thoughts are elsewhere. That said, she’ll need to begin to impressupon them the important role they play within the facility. But she should be careful aboutthe battles she chooses. Is knowing the information in the binder their most important jobresponsibility? If yes, then she’ll need to explain that in no uncertain terms. If no, she’ll haveto emphasize those duties that are most important and enforce them consistently.
She should call a staff meeting to discuss expectations. She should also ask them whythey are not reading the binder. Could it be that there is so much information being communicated, that it is easier for them to reference the binder when needed? She mighten courage them to propose a better solution for communicating information. A web siteperhaps? Focus on the outcome (communicating the information effectively), rather than the task (reading the binder). She should remind them, however, that this is a job and that they are responsible for their actions. I’ve fired poorly performing work-studies. She’llneed to do the same if the situation warrants.