View Full Version : Foreman has attitude

Gene $immons
10-15-2004, 09:21 AM
One of my foreman who does an A+ job sometimes acts like he gets upset if we have to work a full day on Friday. I tend to let this guy have 3 day weekends all the time, and really want him to work here, but please!!

He has no mortgage payment or kids so his time and money is his. But I'm trying to run a business, and he gets upset if we have to do extra work that he was not planning on. Employees have no idea of the amount of taxes and bills that an owner is faced with.

Any ideas on how to make him understand basic business concepts?

Work = Money He thinks I should do it all I guess, that way he can have more R&R time for himself.

10-15-2004, 09:29 AM
I think if he valued his job enough, he'd be there on Friday. YOu are the boss, not him. Sounds like he knows he can get away with it, and so he does. You have to show him what you expect, in order for him to get paid. Tell him to work extra hours the rest of the week, or offer him an alternative if he NEEDS fridays off. I'd stick to your guns, it's your business, not his.

Lux Lawn
10-15-2004, 10:10 AM
Employees have no idea of the amount of taxes and bills that an owner is faced with..

Most of them don't understand thats were the extra money comes from to pay there salary and if the extra work is not done tell him his salary will be cut because there is not enough money to cover everything else on your end.

I hope this is not the same guy you had an issue with about the cell phone a while back.

10-15-2004, 10:24 AM
A Foreman with a bad attitude will not go unnoticed by other employees. How you deal with him will set the tone for what the others will expect to be acceptable. Give that some thought and I think you will know what you have too do. No one is so valuable that you can risk their contaminating the rest. You might start with telling him this.

10-15-2004, 10:45 AM
What happened to the edit your post option?
Any way I just want to add if his attitude is bad to your face I wonder what it's like when your not around? I don't know him so I wont jump to a conclusion here but I have a real good idea I think. I worked for a Foreman that had a bad attitude at a large Lawn Care co a few years ago. All the guys that he supervised were more than happy to follow his lead. All but me. Four guys five including the Foreman sitting in the back of an enclosed trailer half the day because the Foreman felt he wasn't appreciated enough. It wasn't even my company and it made me so mad I had to leave. Thats the back ground I draw my view on this from in case your interested.

Gene $immons
10-15-2004, 09:25 PM

Today he worked like a true professional. He was out until dark and came in with a smile on his face. I guess everyone is entitled to a "bad day " every once in a while. No big deal. I tend to be mellow with my employees and so forth. I bought lunch for the crew today, that is always a good way to boost morale.

10-15-2004, 09:46 PM
He would hate working for me then...we work six, sometimes seven day weeks.

10-15-2004, 11:33 PM
Is this guy on salary? Maybe its the issue of more hours and no more pay.

I guess if the guy's used to half-day Fridays (or no Fridays) then whenever he has to work it throws him off. I'd just explain to him that he's expected to work full days Mon-Fri, and if he gets off any earlier to consider himself lucky.

My opening comment here, I only said that because I was in that position once. My old boss kept increasing my hours. I was "supposed" to get more time off over the winter to compensate, but it never worked out.

John from OH
10-16-2004, 09:54 AM
From past experience, I'd keep an eye on this foreman. I had one just like him and his attitude soon became a cancer in my company. Just like cancer, the "victim" (business owner) often doesn't know or ignores the problem until the damage is extensive. Co-workers often see this disease and watch for your reaction. Dismissing his behavior as having a bad day gives them the idea that working on Fridays isn't important and the foreman gets special treatment. Cleints also can pick up on the attitude and wonder if they are getting the true value from your services. Equipment abuse tends to follow with semi-plausible excuses, "Bill put the wheelbarrow behind the truck and I accidently backed into it". The abuse becomes more frequent, but minor in damage. It all adds up to more repairs and down time. The worst problem created is turnover of good new employees that see a problem. I had my blinders on for way too long and it took along time to rebuild my crews.

I get the feeling from reading your initial post that this is a frequent occurrence. Your later reply sounds like you felt it was a one time "bad day". Only you can decide which it really is. From the BTDT school of hard knocks, do your self a favor and keep an eye on him. Also, step back and look at his behavior in a realistic light, if he is a problem, you owe it to yourself and to your company to correct it quickly.

10-16-2004, 09:20 PM
Teach him how to read a P&L and make him responsable for what he controls. If his response is positive, then work with him. If his response is negitive, start training his replacement. You should judge a person on the things you can measure and compare, not on how you feel. I like feeling good about people, but business is business. I've worked for a lot of smart people, but I worked harder for good managers.

10-18-2004, 10:53 PM

Time to put your foot down! Explain to him that you are running a business and that his attendance in much appreciated and mandatory! If you show a little backbone he will likely gain respect for you and understand and accept his role in the company better.

10-19-2004, 08:49 AM
This past week, one of my stongest workers solicited business with my equipment. He was one of my hardest working people. This was with a skid steer and to level some homeowners backyard that had some debris. I was more disappointed and later upset should he have gone on the property and damaged something. This was the second time in a week, he obligated my company to do something we are not slated to do. I fired him. He was one of my strongest workers, but the risk he was taking for being an individual would have cost me more if not his own life for being 'secure' by my business insurance and so forth. The rest of the crew knew I meant business, I didn't come off harsh, I set the tone that if you want to take risks without my approval, do it from your own business venture.
Since then, the crew has been stepped up and performing well. Dedicated and adjusted. This guy may have some repurcusions for me, but I expect that in this business. A guy in a sister city fired one of his crew and the guy robbed him.
It's a hard to be a heavy hand but no one will care more about your business than yourself. You have to take the hard right than the easy wrong.
The crew is now working for the lead spot and showing thier work ethics in a way they haven't before.
I really didn't want to do this, but one bad apple could spoil the whole bunch.

10-19-2004, 07:53 PM

You and I face similar situations. My foreman, too, doesn't like to work on Fridays. But our situations are different in the sense that I've allowed him to scale down his hours over the past few years - with my blessing.

First of all, you've got to begin to not be so dependent on him. I was so worried at first that I would be screwed without having my foreman 5-6 days a week like I used to. But eventually, I realized that the crew leaders were smart enough to operate without him for a day and we'd survive just fine. I also have slowly begun to deligate more authority to the crew leaders that used to be my foreman's responsibility. So now, neither I nor the workers have to depend on the foreman nearly as much as we used to.

The upside to all of this is his overall wages have gone down each month. He's my highest paid employee - as I am sure your foreman is to you. And the overtime I was paying him back when he was working 5 days per week was killing me. Now, he hardly ever gets any overtime, and writing his paychecks now are a lot easier for me.

Yes, his attitude needs to stay in check. But so does yours. You can't expect your foreman to have the same vision and dedication to your business as you do. He has little stake in the rewards, unlike you. He won't get a dime if you sell the business or the assets of the business - unlike you. It's not his name who is getting a better reputation each year - it's yours. It's not him that is moving into a nicer home like you or I can do as we succeed more. So it's not reasonable for us to expect the foreman to have such dedication. From their standpoint, they realize they are a valuable asset. They realize they could easily find another job making the same amount of money. And so they realize that they have a little bit of sway when it comes to hours and such. The know we need them, or at least that we would be rather screwed - even if for only the short term - if they left us. So they use that power to their own advantage. That's normal. To me, that means we have good guys who have brains enough look out for their own interests. As long as they look out for our interest, too, when their on the job, we need not worry so much.

That's my 2 cents.

10-19-2004, 10:16 PM
Jim Lewis is one hellova smart guy.


Gene $immons
10-20-2004, 09:20 AM
Nicely said Jim!

As this foreman has less hours, his checks have not had much overtime, and this has helped. To his credit, he will bust his hump to get us way ahead early in the week, he knows if he is really needed on a particular day or not, and uses that to his advantage for asking off.

For next season, I would like to have him in a position that would require him doing less mowing, and more misc. jobs and using him to tend to the other crews out in the field. This foreman, by the way, has a college degree, so I don't expect him to want to stick around for multi - seasons if all he does is mow, he is better than that. I need him in sales of customer relations. This might be just what he would be happiest doing. And occasionally have him run a mow crew if we get behind.

I can't tell you how hard it is to find a guy who has a drivers license, who is not on drugs, or who can tough it out long enough. So, he has been a real blessing in many ways. It's easy for me to allow him a day off here and there if I consider the alternative. I believe firing key people is disasterous for a company, unless they do something really stupid.