- Online Exclusives
- Contact Us
Q: I recently hired a new office manager. Her qualifications and work history are some of the best I''ve ever seen. She was looking for better pay. I interviewed her and she seemed like a great fit for my company, except for one thing: She seemed unsure of herself.
Because she was so strong on all of my other criteria, I hired her because I really think she can be a great office manager. After two weeks, she is driving me crazy asking questions about doing everything just right. She seems unsure of herself despite training. Should I cut her loose and try again, or do something else to help her along?
A: This is a very common problem, LM. I hear it time and again, especially with new hires. Here is my advice.
The fact that she is asking you for reassurance is actually a good thing. She wants to ensure accuracy with her work.
Yes, it can get annoying answering the same thing over and over again, but let us go through some things to pay attention to so that we can rule out that it''s not something you can fix before you consider letting her go.
Since you didn''t mention whether or not she is replacing another office manager, I''ll assume that you either had similar problems with the previous office manager at the beginning, or you passed the reigns to her yourself.
Either way, when a perfectly capable team member continues to ask the same questions over and over, it could be indicative of the need for him or her to have a system to follow.
If you do have a system, perhaps her indecisiveness is due to improper training.
Is your training concise, or are there some holes that need to be plugged?
The recurring questions that come up should be referenced in the position training guide(s).
If you don''t have a training guide, now is the time to start.
Simply jot down the tasks of the position and write in the steps necessary.
Once again, I''m going to refer back to my earlier Cleanfax article about the power of mind mapping.
I''m including in this article a sample training guide for cutting daily job work orders using a mind mapping program.
Another good training tool is an inexpensive video camera.
Simply videotape the things she needs to do and burn a copy of it for her.
There are all sorts of inexpensive and even free video software tools to create quick and good looking training videos.
Let''s face it, LM, your office manager has only been with you two weeks. Are your expectations too high?
If you''ve been doing the tasks that you''re handing over to the office manager, to you it may all seem very simple; however, it''s quite possible that you''ve forgotten how difficult it was to remember how to do everything the same way so many years ago.
This is not to mention that some people need more practice than others to become proficient.
Now interject someone who probably has never heard of our fancy tools and terminology and it''s quite possible your expectations are just a little high.
Speaking of expectations, does she know your expectations?
What I mean is: Does she know that you expect her to know certain things about the job within a certain amount of time?
If not, she needs to know and this leads to better communication.
This is a big issue.
Communication is often the first casualty when a team member relationship goes sour.
As I mentioned earlier, I think it''s a good thing she''s asking questions to ensure she is getting it just the way you like.
I''d rather have someone on my team who questions something they are unsure of rather than one who tries to "wing it."
I advise that you tell her to keep asking questions if she can''t figure it out, but to try to think through the process before coming to you.
If after several moments she is still stuck, encourage her to come to you.
Ask her to show you where she''s stuck in the process of the training guide, and then help her work through the logic herself.
If you work with her on the system and training, determine if your expectations are too high, or if she knows you have expectations for her and you keep that communication line open with her, I''ll bet she works out for you.
If not, at least you can honestly say you did everything in your power to help her succeed with you as you find a suitable replacement.
Scott Rendall is a second-generation cleaning and restoration business owner as well as entrepreneur, writer, and founder of Banana Profits, LLC (BananaProfits.com). Banana Profits helps cleaners, restorers, and other service businesses dominate their market with the motto "Become a Banana and Become the Brand of Choice not Chance!" Rendall can be reached by email at scott@BananaProfits.com or by telephone at (517) 618-3038.
Do you have questions for The Entrepreneur''s Edge section? E-mail them to Jeff Cross, Senior editor of CM/Cleanfax® magazine, at email@example.com.