Sunday, February 22, 2009

Business Management Fail

Sources that wish to remain confidential pointed out a major "business fail" this past week. During an all-hands meeting for Access Eye Centers here in Fredericksburg, the top manager (the one who is now lives with the boss after the boss got a divorce) was speaking about what I can only hope was supposed to be the topic of "professional appearance". She proceeded to tell the employees that they shouldn't come to work with a "skank bun".

What!?!?! Ok, so I googled "skank bun". The only good result I found was this myspace photo, with a description. Wikipedia doesn't even have an entry for that.

First FAIL: Thinking some of your employees are skanks for any reason (or for putting their hair up a particular way). And using slang to define acceptable.

This was apparently followed by a statement that people shouldn't be trashy.

Second FAIL: Not giving measurable, quantitative, requirements for what is acceptable, and what is not. By trashy, do you mean skirts above the knee, or do you mean V-tops? What about slacks?

Lastly, in a supposedly frank discussion with all of the employees, this manager proceeded to state that women should wear make-up.

Third FAIL: Make-up should not be a measure of employee performance (unless it's a modeling agency). Being a guy, I would have been very tempted at this moment to stand up and ask if this was required for men as well, since otherwise it could be perceived as sexual discrimination.

In management, always keep this one statement in mind "Perception is Reality" for your audience. If the perception is one thing, you're likely to be held accountable, whether that was the intent or not. Repeated acts are often reviewed by courts, to see if a particular type of work environment exists. Regardless of courts, think about who you're alienating. Employees? Customers? Future business?

In full disclosure, a family member at one time worked for this business. When it was apparent that things weren't right, that the boss was dating a manager, and that management was run amok, a very timely move was made to another job. It's been years, and I've never mentioned this business by name, but this latest failure was too much. I couldn't hold back any longer.

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