Should I penalize or Reward?!

Have you ever been put in a situation were you have over due projects, you feel stressed and you think your employees are not giving their best? and on the other hand your employees are overloaded, worn-out and think that they are doing more than their best and that they are not appreciated?

On one hand you want to penalize your employees and on the other hand they believe they deserve bonuses and raises!!! What do you think is the best way to tackle such a situation?

I think the best way to deal with a situation like this is:

  1. Begin by evaluating all the reasons for the delayed work.  Analyze them well and decide fairly what the real reason for the delay is. And be honest, if your poor planning is the main reason why you have over-due work, then admit it and blame yourself not your employees.
  2. Perform one-to-one meetings with your staff and listen to their concerns and suggestions.
  3. Re-evaluate your employees and if they need training programs in certain areas then conduct them.
  4. If all the three points above were in favor of your staff then give them bonus for being over-loaded because of you and thank them.  And then ask them to put up with you until you finish all the delayed work.  And then start a new planning and scheduling strategy that ensures you will not plan poorly again.
  5. If points 1,2 and 3 revealed that it is partly on you and partly on them, then conduct staff meetings and explain the situation.  Be wise enough to make them admit that they partially caused some of the delay by admitting your faults first. End the meeting by giving them an incentive to work.  For example: Suggest a big bonus when the work is done on time.
  6. If points 1,2 and 3 proved that it is entirely your employees’ fault, then conduct a staff meeting and explain the situation clearly.  Promise all needed training programs.  Set new deadlines with warnings for penalties if those deadlines were not met again. Make those penalties harsh to make your employees alert enough. But still close the meeting on a friendly tone by raising all the issues they discussed with you in the one to one meetings and your suggestions to resolve them.

The most important point that every manager has to understand is that he and his staff are one team.  You are not competing with them and you are not in war against them.  You have to act as one family to be able to deliver.  This is why in all situations the manager has to be the leader, the coach, the mentor…. not the prosecutor. 

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