1106929296_ff46ff5166If you work in the retail industry, chances are you have experienced a boss who finds it difficult to discipline employees who show up late or skip work entirely. Janice is an assistant manager in a large drug store chain. She’s been working for her boss for the last three years along with a couple of other assistant managers. Recently, a minority employee transferred from an out of state store who had very little tenure in the company.

Far from a model employee; often late, he sometimes remembers to call in sick and in general, fights any direction given by the assistant managers. The other employees idly sit by, watching to see what management will do about his disruptive behavior. Janice and the other assistant managers are frustrated; they have brought the issue to the store manager’s attention with out any resolution.

So why does the store manager ignore this situation? It is because the employee is a minority? Is he reticent to discipline employees?

The bottom line is…it really does not matter the reason or excuse.

The store manager sets the tone of the culture with boundaries and guidelines. If employees do not feel consequences for undesired behavior, then the organization runs amok. Middle management will not step up to lead if they believe their manager is being indecisive or non supportive. For them, it is a no-win proposition.

The challenge is: How do you get the boss to take action? To upset the status quo, the consequences of not changing need to outweigh the risks (real or perceived) of making a change. Determining what matters to your boss will put you on a fact finding mission. It will probably not be about the employee; it will be on a broader, more encompassing outcome. Once you are able to articulate why he should take action and how it affects him personally if he does not, he will move to action.