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Do's and Don'ts

Inappropriate Supervisory Actions (DON'Ts)

  • Don't allow genuine concern for the employee to interfere with managing performance. Though important, friendship and empathy by themselves rarely solve serious performance problems.
  • Don't enable. Be aware of your own behavior and note if you are failing to document, covering up for substandard performance, accepting excuses that don't make sense, having "off the record" talks.
  • Don't allow the employee to box you into a corner. Appropriate behavior and job performance is always the responsibility of the employee. If the employee tries to bring you or others into the discussion, remind him that you are there to discuss his job performance.
  • Do not condone unsatisfactory performance just because an employee admits to a personal problem. Allowing the employee to "buy time" without getting help may increase the severity of the problem. Ignoring a problem is condoning.
  • Do not attempt to diagnose the employee's problem, ask why or counsel the employee. In addition, don't moralize or make value judgments.
  • Do not permit behavior that may be hazardous to another person, the employee, or the University.
  • Do not substitute a referral to EAP (Employee Assistance Program) for taking necessary actions under the progressive discipline procedures.
  • Do not discuss the employee's behavior or performance with anyone else except those with definite need or right to know i.e., Employee Relations staff or higher management.

Appropriate Supervisory Actions (DO's)

  • Do establish the levels of work performance you expect. Set the limits that you will tolerate.
  • Determine and communicate what is acceptable and unacceptable to you.
  • Do document all absenteeism, tardiness, incidents on the job, and poor performance. Be specific with dates, times, and people.
  • Do be consistent. Treat all employees equally.
  • Do base decisions on work performance or department need, not on personal issues.
  • Do be firm. Be direct. Speak with authority.
  • Do be prepared to deal with the employee's resistance and denial, as well as hostility.
  • Do avoid talking to the employee about personal problems. Discuss and refer the employee to the Employee Assistance Program.
  • Do get a commitment from the employee as to what steps he or she will take to improve work performance. Continue to document.


Rankin Hall Room, 300
Terre Haute, IN 47809

Phone: (812) 237-4114

Office Hours:
Monday-Friday 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.