You’re not allowed to be sick…unless I give you permission

Forgive me if I seem cynical, but really?, Are we still in high school? If I have perfect attendance at the end of the year, do I get a gold star?

A recent article in the Columbus Dispatch spoke of the increase in employees calling in sick and producing all sorts of creative excuses including getting a foot caught in the garbage disposal in order to get a mental health day. (Read the brief article here. Yet, today, “cyber-Monday”, employers reported being lenient with employees who were spending time on line shopping. I’m confused. So, let me get this straight. I can be at work and do nothing and you are okay with paying me, but if I want to stay home and regain my sanity after working hard, you’ll fire me? WTF?

Since when does attendance equal performance? I sat next to a few slackers in my day and not only did they not get their work done, they typically interrupted other people from getting their work done. Attendance is a weak performance metric as its completion (unless you are a window mannequin) does nothing to help the company achieve its goals. It ranks right up there with having a clean desk. Neither by themselves do anything to contribute to the bottom line. If nothing else, by themselves, they actually deplete the bottom line by paying people for not actually getting any results.

Managers need to get better at defining performance standards that actually contribute towards the organizational mission instead of monitoring things that are easy to measure. Just because you can measure them, doesn’t make it a good performance metric. And yes, if you work hard enough, everything is measurable, even things as nebulous as attitude. If you can judge it, you can measure it. Think of the “what” you are looking for when you see “good attitude.” You will start coming up with a list of behaviors…you can measure those.

Measure what matters and stop playing gatekeeper to justify your own significance. Coaching performance is much different than playing babysitter or high-school principal. If you don’t know the difference, start there to begin solving your performance problems.


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