I am the sole owner of a 12 attorney firm in downtown Chicago. With staff we have a total of 23 people in the firm. Managing people is my toughest challenge. I am having problems with people not following firm policy and doing what they should not be doing. It is driving me crazy. What should I do? I am interested in your thoughts?
Tell them to stop. Seriously. As owner of your firm you can't beat around the bush and be sheepish concerning your expectations concerning desired performance and behavior in the office. Confront the performance or behavioral problem immediately. Manage such problems in real time. Don't wait for the annual performance review and don't treat serious problem as a "self-improvement" effort. Tell them how you feel about the performance or behavioral issue, the consequences for failure to resolve the issue, your timeline for resolving the issue, and the follow-up schedule that you will be using to follow-up and monitor the issue. If they must resolve the performance or behavioral issue in order to keep their job tell them so. They may need this level of confrontation they need in order to give them the strength to be able to deal with their issues.
Being a wimp does not help you or them. Tell them like it is and conduct a heart-to-heart discussion. You will be glad you did.
P.S. It gets easier with practice!
John W. Olmstead, MBA, Ph.D, CMC