Don't Mistake My Kindness for Weakness - Dealing With Employees

Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by Sean Adams, Feb 5, 2013.

  1. Sean Adams

    Sean Adams LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,597

    As a business owner you have to be strong in so many different ways. You have to be willing to do things that most other people just don't have the stomach for.

    In the lawn and landscape industry there are a lot of business owners who have constant and direct contact with their employees. Depending on the size of your organization, you may be side by side with your employees out in the field on a daily basis. It's almost impossible to avoid getting to know your employees when this is the case. You are in the trenches together - sweating, hustling, and working to achieve a goal.

    You talk, you share stories, you laugh together. Like I said, it is almost unavoidable. But it is your job as the boss - as the owner of your company - to know when and where to draw the line.

    Being a good person is not a bad thing. Being helpful and understanding as an employer can be dangerous though. In fact, if you are too nice, you will quickly be taken advantage of. I see it all the time.

    Employees get comfortable. They think since you were together for 3 straight days digging holes or mulching a complex together, they now have some lee-way. They have the right to goof around a little bit, or be a few minutes late, or take their time when they need to pick up the pace. They start to ask for favors - an advance in pay, a day off, or they just expect you to buy them lunch.

    Nip this in the bud. Make it clear that even though you may work together, that does not change the fact that he is an employee with a job to do and the expectations and responsibilities have not changed.

    The first time you turn a blind eye to something, you are inviting more of the same. This can be deadly if you have multiple employees. If others see one guy get away with being late or making bad decisions, they feel it is their right to do the same.

    Do not let this happen. Make it clear that you are a nice guy and you want to create a pleasant working environment, but work is work. Everyone has a job to do and no one has the right or option to take advantage of you or the business.
  2. Groomer

    Groomer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,681

    Well, I'm guilty of some of that. I'm probably too nice and easy going- I've advanced pay, picked people up who had vehicle issues, etc. It seems to come with the territory, human nature is what it is. At the end of the day the work always gets done.
  3. jrs.landscaping

    jrs.landscaping LawnSite Silver Member
    from Maine
    Messages: 2,764

    Same here, not on the pay advances but our guys can use our shop/tools, use our parts account for the discount (they pay the bill) or take hand tools home to do projects. They know all of these things are priviliges and treat them as such.
  4. McFarland_Lawn_Care

    McFarland_Lawn_Care LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,445

    Yup ditto for me too. It is definitely something I need to keep an eye on - always love to help folks out but have to smart and careful too.
  5. dwlah

    dwlah LawnSite Senior Member
    from Argo Al
    Messages: 558

    Im guilty as charged
    resolved the late problem by making him follow me in his car for the day when he did show up
  6. grass-scapes

    grass-scapes LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,552

    You better watch that. If he has a wreck, and you required him to use his vehicle, your insurance may have to pay the bill. Unowned addendum will usually take care of it, but its still on YOUR insurance.

    I make them meet me somewhere, but will not let them use their vehicle.

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