>Tough decisions: when to say enough is enough

>I remember when I was in 6th grade, went on a bike ride around my neighborhood and caught two boy friends of mine smoking. They warned me not to say anything, and I didn’t… and it really didn’t matter.

In my past life as a manager, I caught two of my work friends leaving mid-shift to go outside and have a cigarette. (Our company had a VERY strict policy on this.) They warned me not to say anything, but I did – and this time it did matter.

Why was it different?

They were each similar in that both times people were caught doing something they knew they weren’t supposed to be doing. Either situation did not hurt me in any way, so why did I care the second time? I was in a position of authority, and I had to set an example.

Unfortunately, I was the new manager and expected this to happen. If people knew I didn’t hesitate to rat out those I was friends with, they knew I wouldn’t think twice about doing it to anyone else.

We’ve all been there: your boss is out of town, it’s casual Friday or on the brink of a long holiday weekend and you just can’t help but to push the limits of the person in charge. The “substitute teacher” attitude, if you will.

As a new manager, when do you say enough is enough – and how do you say it?

Here is my advice:

1. Stand your ground. Even if you were just promoted, you have to be tough and no when people cross the line.

2. Set your limits. Unless you have zero time to prep for your new position, consider how far you will let things go before you step in.

3. Have a disaster plan. Know your approach and reaction techniques based on the situation. Perhaps make up an action plan based on already witnessed employee behavior.

4. Know your staff. Have an honest conversation with the person whose position you are overtaking. Encourage them to tell you about any potential problems that may arise.

5. Be confident. You are in that position for a reason, even you should respect that.


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