Dealing with Inactive Staff


Prince of Dorkness
Dec 11, 2005
PalePhoenix submitted a new Article:

Dealing with Inactive Staff

When deciding if your hired help is really giving the help you hired them for: Communicate first, demote second, and ban only if you have definite, historical cause for concern (not merely suspicion of bad behavior and hard feelings). Many questions arise from the inability to manage people effectively, and their responsibilities should be clearly spelled out from the get-go. Here's a look at some of the reasons why...
Communicate - Your staff are an extension of you, vital pieces in a working machine and a business structure. If you could (or would) do the whole thing yourself, then it's still not the best idea. Having at least one other person around who'll be honest with you--and not just blow smoke up your butt--about operational decisions is just a good thing, in general. You should be able to communicate with these people IN THE MOST DIRECT FASHION AVAILABLE. In case that wasn't clear: You should be physically capable of meeting them in person, speaking to them on the phone, this age of global villagers--have multiple, regularly used IM screennames and emails for each of them. There is absolutely no excuse to have anything less. If any member of your staff is not available to you within a reasonable time frame, when an issue arises, then this person is damnably close to useless. There is no such thing as enjoying the perks of staff-dom without responsibility and accountability.

Demote - As others across TAZ have suggested, you can always take away access and ability. These things are privileges that need to be earned, regularly and with the interests of the board before their own. If you pay your staff, then this can be an end unto itself. No work = no pay, to just about everybody, but you can't just yank that [or any] rug without warning unless things have gone seriously wrong. Many interpersonal concerns are commonly avoided by setting up a clear description of duties beforehand. This is not to say that there won't be problems...there are ALWAYS problems...but what constitutes a "demotable" issue and what does not should be made understood, and most of these are not going to be gathered by osmosis or ESP.

Ban - Obviously, a choice of absolute last resort. You'd have to be pretty sure that such a person was going to (A) spam members with nasty "antiestablishment" whinings; (B) steal your members and start a...​

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