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Missing Managers

A department manager who reports to me comes in later than most, leaves promptly at 5:00, and is out of the office a lot during the day. Other employees need to meet with him, and when they cannot find him, they come to me. When I ask him where he was, he says he was out on business, and then adds that he is a professional and does not need to account for his comings and goings. How should I handle him?

This manager may describe himself as a professional, but some of his actions ring of unprofessionalism. For example, professionals do not typically wait for the clock to strike 5:00 so that they can be the first to the parking lot. Secondly, while professional jobs typically have a great deal of autonomy, as long as you are his manager, you can require him to account for his whereabouts.

He is a department manager, and that means that a key part of his job is to be visible, available, accessible, and responsive to his employees. His behavior is not hitting any of those marks.

Part of the problem is that you have allowed him to get away with these behaviors. The first step to correct the situation is to meet with him to clarify the performance expectations and ground rules for his position. In addition, over the short term, you should tighten the reins and monitor his performance more carefully. He might not like being under the spotlight, but that's just where he belongs since his performance is spotty.

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