HR Management & Compliance, Learning & Development

4 Final Sins of Supervisors and Managers

In yesterday’s Advisor, we looked at the first six sins commonly made by supervisors and managers. Today we’ll take a look at the rest.

[Go here for sins 1 through 6.]

Sin #7. Not Knowing and Not Enforcing Policies

We’re busy now. Talk to me about that harassment business next week.

If you think the work’s not safe, you’re free to quit anytime.

Nobody in this department can talk about salaries or benefits with other employees or outsiders, especially online.

Supervisors and managers are the front line for interpreting and enforcing the company’s policies. But if they don’t know the policies and their associated responsibilities, even with the best of intentions, they’ll be setting you up for a lawsuit.

Sin #8. Making Wage/Hour Blunders

We’re out of overtime. Can you clock out and then set up for tomorrow?

You new recruits will be working alongside our regular employees, but you will all be independent contractors.

Tracy, make sure you stay close to the phone during lunch.

Sandy, keep your phone near you evenings for calls from the West Coast.

Wage and hour should be simple but it just isn’t. The most common problems are:

  • You must track it, pay it, and include bonuses in the “regular rate” for overtime calculations.
  • Off the clock. You must pay for all hours worked, even if the employee volunteers and even if you’ve forbidden the employee to do work.
  • Many “independent contractors” are actually employees who need to be paid overtime. And many “exempt” employees have duties that do not meet the criteria for exemption.

Sin #9. Letting Problems Fester

Teresa’s crossing the line with her behavior, but she surely knows it—she’ll figure it out.

Oh, that’s just Jimmie. He means no harm—he’s just “old school.”

With bad behavior, it’s always tempting to ignore it in hopes that the behavior will improve on its own. But you know that’s not going to happen. Unfortunately, as time goes by, you appear to be condoning the behavior.

Sin #10. Making ‘Side Agreements’

Stay after you clock out for the next 2 weeks until we get this job out the door, and I’ll make it up to you by writing in extra overtime next month when the budget switches over.

Take this transfer, and I’ll guarantee you a promotion at the end of the year.

I can’t pay you for this extra work, but you and your spouse can go out for a nice dinner on the company account.

Managers under stress may be tempted to make “side agreements” that either go against policy or consist of promises that likely won’t be kept.

Three problems arise with side agreements:

  1. They are illegal and there will eventually be lawsuits.
  2. Employees will be left feeling that agreements haven’t been honored.
  3. Others who didn’t get the special treatment or privilege may sue.

OK, that’s our top 10 sins of supervisors and managers. Avoid them, and stay hassle- and lawsuit-free.

Know Any Supervisory Sinners?

And how about your supervisory sinners? Any sins we’ve missed or expensive blunders you’ve encountered? Please share them with the share button or write directly to