Getting Nothing For Something


I’m sure you have heard the phrase “Getting Something For Nothing” which is a good things, a perk, bonus or reward.  So it took me by surprise this week when I heard it turned around as a manager was describing another manager on her staff.  She said, “paying this person every week is like getting nothing for something.”

After I realized that I had not transposed the words in my mind, I asked what she meant.  I was told in more detail why this particular employee was such a disappointment, and that her productivity was so low it was hardly quantifiable.  “I pay her weekly, and get nothing in return!” 

Obviously we have a performance issue here, but I’ve recently become a fan of accountability and that all the blame cannot be heaped on the employee not performing.  So I dared to ask if this person was well aware of her performance goals.  How often was she coached, or given constructive feedback.  What do some of the action plans look like.  What I found surprising was that none of this was going on!

Here I was talking to someone who had not lifted a finger to set expectations, or coach and give constructive feedback.  I wonder if I met with her manager if I would get a similar response like “paying this person every week is like getting nothing for something.”

Because of the behaviors I witnessed with this manager, the performance problems are deeper than one employee on her staff.  I will need to talk with more people until I find out how widespread the problem is.  Although my initial reaction was one of surprise that someone was upset that they were paying an employee to be unproductive, my horror came when I realized these might be skills that are learned through active modeling.

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