A Lesson from Drucker Replayed: Managing your boss

by Michael Haberman on September 19, 2018 · 0 comments

A management lesson from Peter Drucker.

This post is from the Archive, but I thought it important enough to replay. I get emails and have seen many comments from people about “my boss this… or my boss that…” Well here is a method you can use to help you get away from “things happening to you” and put some element of control in your work life, and for that matter your personal life as well. It won’t be easy.

Everyone has a boss. Many of us have several. Often we would like to have better ones, but if you can’t trade in the boss you can attempt to make the ones you have better. How do you do that? Peter Drucker has some guidance for that process.

The boss list

He said the first step in managing your bosses is to make a list of everyone to whom you are accountable. This list will include everyone who appraises your work and everyone on whom you depend to make your work effective.

The second step in the process it to go to each of these people and ask the question “What do I do that helps you do your job?” Then ask “What do I do that hampers you and makes life more difficult for you?”

The goal

The goal of this process is to enable each of those bosses to “perform as unique individuals according to their working styles.” You want to make each of them feel comfortable that you are “playing to their strengths and safeguarding them from their limitations and weaknesses.” In other words, the best way for you to look good is to make them look good.

This may take some guts for many of you. It will hinge on the relationship you have with your boss. But if you can’t do this then it is an indication this relationship needs to be worked on.


Who is responsible for your career?

by Michael Haberman on September 18, 2018 · 0 comments

Your career is in your hands and may require many hard decisions.

I was reading an article that appeared in an online newspaper called Vox. The article, I spoke to hundreds of American men who still can’t find work, written by Andrew L. Yarrow, took the tack that many men are unemployed because of “society.” As I read the article example after example talked about men who had made bad decisions in their lives and were making little attempt to alter those decisions.

Who is responsible?

The answer to the question in the title is given by Peter Drucker when he says you must take responsibility for your career. He says the corporate ladder no longer exists and the individual must take responsibility and not rely on any particular company. There are ample stories of people who changed their education to improve their positions. This does not mean they got into an Ivy League school and suddenly became successful. I used to be the Chairperson for a program that retrained workers to give them new skill sets in order to become employable. There are hundreds of companies that need  “blue collar” workers, yet these jobs go unfilled because, as one man said in the article that he is not “culturally suited for them.”

As Drucker says “You have to take responsibility for knowing yourself, so you can find the right jobs as you develop …” Seek job counseling. It is out there. Seek education, it is out there, often cheaply or even free. Be willing to let go of what you did before, or what you knew. Be willing to learn something new. There are still public libraries with things called “books” that can improve your knowledge. Quite often what is lacking is the willpower.

Granted it helps to have the support of a family or friends in this endeavor. Unfortunately, many men have alienated their support groups. However, there are groups that will offer support, you just have to seek them out. Yes, I understand this can be a difficult road, but deciding to travel down that road is another one of those decisions that must be made.


New FMLA forms now available

by Michael Haberman on September 17, 2018 · 0 comments

For those of you that use the government provided forms for FMLA designated leave, you may, or may not, have noticed that those forms expired on May 31, 2018. Those forms were temporarily extended. Now, however, new forms have been approved and have been published on the website of the U.S. Department of Labor. These forms are now good until August 31, 2021.

To determine if you are using the correct form look in the upper right corner for the exp date. If you are using an expired form you need to replace it with the new form.

You can find those new forms at https://www.dol.gov/whd/fmla/forms.htm


From the archive: Paying Employees During Bad Weather Closings

by Michael Haberman on September 14, 2018 · 1 comment

Hurricane Florence will cause job loss and loss of work hours. Make sure you know how to treat employees.

I am forgoing the Future Friday post for today. Weather snowstorms or hurricanes, such as Florence bearing down on the US, there are requirements for paying employees in nasty weather. This archive post, slightly altered, gives some guidance.

As [winter continues] the chances for snow and ice [continue] (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) and thus the chances of employees not being able to make it to work go up as well. The question becomes how do we pay employees during bad weather closings? A recent newsletter from HR Specialist entitled We’re in for nasty weather: When must you pay? provides some answers.

First let me point out that their answer, and my comments as well, are based upon what is required by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the US Department of Labor. Your policies must meet this minimum standard but can be more generous than the law allows. Additionally, there may be some law under a state or local jurisdiction that requires more than the FLSA requires and you need to be aware of that situation.

This question becomes easy to answer for your hourly nonexempt employees. If weather prohibits them from coming to work or weather results in your place of business is closed you are not required to pay them anything under the FLSA. The law only requires that you pay people for ACTUAL  hours worked. Of course, you may have policies that allow them to claim Paid Time Off (PTO) and that is fine, but that is a policy issue, not a legal one.

Paying exempt employees becomes more problematic. According to the HR Specialist:

The snow’s coming down pretty good and an exempt employee calls to say she can’t make it in today because her car is stuck. Can you deduct a full day’s pay from her salary for that missed day? Yes, according to a pair of U.S. Labor Department opinion letters on the issue. … What if your workplace closes down because of the bad weather? In that case, it’s a different story. You can’t dock her pay, but you can require her to use accrued leave time for the missed day.

So it becomes a distinction between whether the employee is unable to make it to work or if the weather is so bad that your place of business has to close. In the former case, HR Specialist says “When your organization remains open during inclement weather and an exempt employee misses work for his own (non-illness) reason, you can take a full-day deduction from the person’s salary, says the Labor Department letter, which was answering a health care facility’s inquiry. Or, the employer can require the employee to use vacation time or accrued leave to cover the time off.”

In the situation where you have had to close your business due to snow (or floods, hurricanes, landslides, volcanic eruptions … well it could happen) then your options for paying exempt employees are different. According to the HR Specialist “If you do that, your organization can require exempt employees to take vacation time or use leave, but you can’t insist on leave without pay.” According to the USDOL “When the office is open, an exempt employee who has no accrued benefits in the leave bank account does not have to be paid (i.e., may be placed on leave without pay) for the full day(s) s/he fails to report to work due to such circumstances as a heavy snow day.”

Both the HR Specialist and the USDOL point out that deductions can only be made in FULL DAY INCREMENTS. However, the USDOL does point out:

Deductions from salary for less than a full day’s absence are not permitted under the regulations. Therefore, where the employee’s absence is for less than a full day, payment of an amount equal to the employee’s guaranteed salary must be made even if the employee has no accrued vacation or other leave benefits. However, as stated in response to question #2, a deduction from an employee’s leave bank or salary may be made for absences of one or more full days for personal reasons, other than sickness or accident.

The opinion letters that HR Specialist references from the USDOL are  FLSA2005-46 and FLSA2005-41. I would suggest you read both of these because there is more detail included in those letters. I do want to point out that these letters were written in 2004 and 2005 and they do not address the subject of telework. Today it is very likely that if you have an exempt employee who is unable to make it to the office due to inclement weather they will still be able to perform work by use of their laptops or smartphones. If they are performing work at home you will be on “real thin ice” if you try to deduct one full day from their pay or PTO balance just because they did not physically make it to the office. (And yes that pun was intended.) For that matter, if you have nonexempt employees that perform work from home that is also compensable time.

In today’s world of smartphones and Ipads and laptops, you have to be very guarded in deducting or refusing to pay people just because they have not physically presented themselves at the office. You need to determine what you as an organization need and want to do. It requires you to understand your culture, the work that can be done, and the circumstances of each situation. Be prepared for how you will be handling situations. Bad weather situations in the US have already occurred this year and will be very likely to occur again before the winter season is out.

 Photo credit: Joe Smedinghoff


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Are you preparing to notify your employees of their rights?

by Michael Haberman September 13, 2018

Tweet Fifteen years ago Congress passed the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act in 2003 implementing prescription drug coverage under Medicare, commonly known as Part D. It required all employers that offer prescription drug benefits to provide an annual notice to all Medicare-eligible plan participants and qualified beneficiaries before October 15th of each year, […]

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The Rise of Background Screening in the Aftermath of 9/11 What has changed in background screening since that historic day?

by Michael Haberman September 12, 2018

Tweet As we acknowledge the anniversary of September 11th, 2001 I think we can all agree that the world has substantially changed. For employers, we have seen an increase in the use of background checks in the hiring process. As an outcome an increase in the perceived abuse of background checks occurred, resulting in a […]

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Three ways you learn leadership replayed

by Michael Haberman September 11, 2018

Tweet In a class this past weekend we talked about leadership and I suggested to the class one way to learn was to volunteer to be on a nonprofit committee. That made me think of this previous blog. In a blog post published on August 28, 2012 Professor Gianpiero Petriglieri told a story about a […]

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Emotional Intelligence in future generations

by Michael Haberman September 10, 2018

Tweet In a recent class, we covered the subject of emotional intelligence as an HR competency. It has become an oft talked about subject in HR. Emotional Intelligence has been around a long time. People who had it were good at “reading people.” But we went through a long period in HR when we were […]

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Future Friday: Are changes in the view of productivity changing because of technology?

by Michael Haberman September 7, 2018

Tweet Many people still view productivity as getting things done or getting things made. HubSpot’s chief people officer, Katie Burke, sees it differently. In an article in SiliconRepublic, she is quoted as saying: “I prefer thinking about performance and impact. It expands the conversation outside of just what you make, and gives room for the […]

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Replayed: Be an astronomer of people- The Challenge of Leadership and Management

by Michael Haberman September 6, 2018

Tweet Leadership is a hot topic these days. I wanted to replay this post from 2016 because I liked it. I subscribe to the YouTube channel of Jason Silva, Shots of Awe. This week he was talking about the telescope and the wonders and complexity of the universe. I am amazed at the vastness and […]

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