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Stop Coddling Your Employees

Stop Coddling Your Employees

Jenn Barnes

November 05, 2008


If there is one thing that I cannot stand, it’s coddling. Whether it’s children or employees, in my opinion, coddling is destructive as all get-out.

When you coddle your employees you teach them, via classical conditioning, that whatever their problem or want, you will cave in and roll out the red carpet to deliver on their desires. Subsequently, you also teach them that

• You are afraid of any type of constructive confrontation and will avoid it at all costs,
• You would rather stick your head in the sand than problem-solve or coach, and
• You can easily be pushed around.

So, how do you know if you’re coddling your employees? Let’s take a gander:

You have a massive amount of stupid policies. You know the policies I’m talking about: allowing pay advances, dress codes that are more than a paragraph long, bonuses tied to company instead of individual performance, vague & jargony job descriptions; policies that reward tattle-tales, nitpickers and employees concerned about the means and not the end.

HR or management referees every disagreement. When an employee has a problem at work, their manager or HR rep allows them to vent to them more than twice and/or 20 minutes at a time. Being in a manager or HR rep’s office is considered a “good excuse” for not meeting productivity standards. Conversations with employees that are doing something wrong begin with “Someone told me…”

Employees with “problems” are more important than employees without them. You rearrange an entire department, team or work flow to meet the so-called needs of one or two employees. You have more than one employee complain about said employees and instead of listening to them, you tell them they need to be more understanding. You hide details that are not confidential about certain employees from others to “protect” them. Employees who have had “hard lives” are excused from transgressions that would land other employees in disciplinary hot water.

Are you getting the picture? I think we’ve all been there. We find ourselves working for a company that does everything but burp and diaper their employees and then wonders why they aren’t more productive. I mean, what else to they want? Our SOULS?

Employees need boundaries and consistency. They need to know what is expected of them and not be surprised by consequences. They also need to understand W H Y things are the way they are. “The Why” gives rational people rational explanations and is neglected all too often.

Treat your employees like they are rational people & they will rise to the occasion and act like responsible adults. Coddle your employees at your own risk.


Poll: How do you feel about crying at work?

Poll: How do you feel about crying at work?