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New Hire:
Potential Superstar or Potential Lawsuit
You Decide

Joe Jones is a manager at a mortgage lending institution who views every new employee who walks in the door as a potential lawsuit. Needless to say, Joe is a little paranoid about everything his people say and do. He inspects every file before it is put away. He eavesdrops on the conversations of his employees. When employees go on vacation, he rifles through their desks.

Joe spends a lot of his time micro-managing. One of his work standards is to place staples at a 45 degree angle to the corners of the paper and no more than a half an inch from the edge of the page. He drives people nuts with the level of detail he insists upon everybody following. Employees rarely work for Joe for more than six months. Those who do have turned into drones.

He thinks that if he has very demanding standards of performance, then it will be more difficult for people to sue him. For nearly twenty years as a manager, Joe was pretty lucky. No one sued him during that time.

Alas, Joe’s luck took a turn for the worse last week. Three of his former employees filed complaints of discrimination against him. They truly were not discriminated against as Joe treats his entire staff equally bad. The three are of Arab descent and Joe’s eavesdropping and rooting through desks was taken as an affront to their national origin. Poor Joe. His carefully laid out plans to avoid risk have finally caught up with him.

Then there is Susan Smith. Susan views every one of her new hires as a potential superstar. She very quickly communicates that the only way she and the new employee will be successful is if they work together to achieve common goals. She is supportive of her employees and has developed a work atmosphere that is based on trust, empowerment, taking calculated risks and learning from mistakes. The only way people stop working for Susan is when they are promoted to another position. They very rarely leave the company. In the last five years, ten employees who worked for Susan were promoted to another position within the company.

Susan has many friends in the company. She has a high degree of respect from her co-workers and receives quite a bit of support from employees at all levels of the organization.

Whose management style is more effective? Joe’s or Susan’s?

You decide.


JUNE 2005 -
New Hire - Potential Superstar or Potential Lawsuit - You Decide
MAY 2005 -
Negating the Nattering Nabobs of Negativism
APRIL 2005 -
Are You Ready for the Minimum Wage Backlash?
MARCH 2005 -
Employee Retention - Harness the Energy of Your New Hires
The Wage and Hour Division is Keeping Enforcement Promises
JANUARY 2005 -
Effective Performance Management Systems Are A Competitive Advantage