Manager question....

My personality is pretty compulsive and so I wanted you 2 cents on an issue I am having with a manager.

We have a no cell phone, no personal visitor policy for all employees. Our manager got a cell phone a few months ago and was on it constantly (when I wasn’t there) We had regular manager meetings and discussed the policy. Everyone was on the same page at the meeting. My two other “shift” leaders put their phones up and never have visitors.

They are constantly coming to me about his personal phone calls. He had 17 in a 6 hour shift. I had a one on one meeting less than two weeks ago and explained the other managers are coming to me asking what they should do when the manager is breaking the rules.

I told him he needed to call all his friends and let them know it was to the point now his job was on the line. He was not allowed to have his phone inside the store. He was not allowed to have personal visitors.

Yesterday the shift leaders came to me again (seperate)…and it continues. He had a visitor there for 2 hours waiting for him to get off. He had several calls and several times couldn’t be found because he was outside hiding (I assume to use his phone). This happens pretty much everyday.

It is so ridiculous of an issue, my husband thinks I am making a mountain out of a mole hill. He thinks I have bigger things to worry about. I think my manager is making a mountain out of a mole hill. I am aggrevated that he isn’t following the rules and he is the one who is suppose to enforce the rules.
I want to know what you all think.


Give him a clearly and respectfully written warning stating the policy as it applies to him including the consequences. You can not expect your other policies to be followed when some are not enforced.

With that said, all of our employees have cell phones and we tolorate short calls during the day but it is expected that the phones are set to vibrate not to ring and no personal calls during the rush. We really have not had problems with it. I have seen employees take calls during dinner, but tell the caller that they are at work and it is busy and that they will have to call back. Works for me.

For arguements sake let us make the assumption that this person is getting paid $12 per hour. For each minute he is on the phone for personal reasons he is costing you 20 cents. Knowing that he had 17 calls and assuming each of theose calls were 2 minutes that adds up to $6.80. If he were short in the till each shift by that amount how would you handle it?

The next factor I would look at is the sanitary one. Again I am making assumptions based on observation of my staff. If this person is working in the kitchen, do the hands get washed after the phone is used? My guess is no.

I have told the staff that if they bring a cell into the store then it must be in the locker or my desk drawer because i won’t risk cross contamination of my food. How many of them use the phone to text message while they are in the bathroom?

So the no cell policy is based on these two reasons. 1 Youare stealing my time when you are taking personal calls while not on a break. 2 You are putting my food at risk while using the phone in my kitchen.

I would tell him unfortuanly that he is no longer allowed to even bring his cell phone and I would put an add out there for hiring a new manager (I did this to put the fear in my manager and it work so far)

You could always put up some screening around the kitchen and make a Faraday Cage. No signals will definitely stop cell phone usage :slight_smile:

I used to completely ban cell phones too. Our new GM decided to allow employees to have them and I went along. We have mainly high school kids working there. They know they’re only allowed to text if we have downtime and they follow it. He’s treating the kids like adults and I think they like that helps them enjoy their jobs more. I don’t think I’ve ever had happier employees than I do right now.

Those kids work their butts of for us during the rush. When the rush dies down, why not give them a couple minutes to chill?

Your manager is a professional. Can you think of any other professional job that would absolutely not allow someone to make a personal phone call?

I also have the “compulsive personality” like you, and I used to think about all of the labor that would be wasted by texting. If not for the new GM, I’d still be running a gestapo regime there. It turned out to not be an issue at all. If your manager is talking and not getting his work done though, that’s another issue.

The “visitor” thing, though, I wouldn’t be happy about. I don’t mind when the kids have a friend or two to stop in and chat for a few minutes… but standing around for two hours is excessive.

We all have to learn to manage the “Millenial” generation. It’s not always fun, but we’re going to be forced to do things differently than were done with us.

I just did a quick google search on cell phone jammers… They are actually rather inexpensive… You can get a decent one for under $1k :)… Just hide it, where they can’t find it…

It would also take care of those customers at the front of the line that tell you “Hold on”, while they finish their conversation and everyone waits behind them … :slight_smile:

I would let him go and then get with your husband and figure out who is the boss. You are giving mixed signals to the staff.

Whether the cell phone policy is good or bad or could be altered I think is besides the point. Its a policy and he is supposed to be your number one enforcer of it. And you’re not talking about minor little offenses either. He is blatantly disregarding the policies and not hiding it. This is poison to everyone else on the staff.

To me the writing is on the wall. You have already made it clear to him and he does what he wants anyway. If it were me I would already be looking to replace him as this type of behavior does not change. If you can get by without him now you can have one last go round with him and dismiss him once he does it again – which I bet he will.

just my 2 pennies . . .

Kris, you gotta take a stand on this. You have complained about the respect you do not receive. Sounds like a combination of not enforcing the rules calmly yet firmly and perhaps your husband not having your back.

I agree with pizzapirate. The manager is there to set an example and enforce employee policy. Best of luck to you, sounds like you are struggling with letting this person go. He must mean alot to you. I have had a hard time deciding things like this in the past. You will feel better about letting him go in the long run. Trust me, He can only get worse.

Couldn’t say it better than this…you are so so right in holding your ground!!

It’s your place and the rules are the rules…document with 3 warnings and let em go.

I would sit them down and ask them what is going on. Explain your position and reasons, and then say this needs to happen by this time or x will take place. Example: If you are unable to eliminate you phone use totally, as a positive example then we have no choice but to??? replace you…its your call.

Get their feedback, explain the position, let them know how much they mean and what their strenghts are, then explain your position.
Treat them like an important piece, but with the ultimate understanding that if the situation is not resolved that YOU are the boss and the interests of the biz are more important than their interests.

Many times in the past I have struggled with wondering if I am making the correct decision to terminate, demote or transfer someone. I try to be fair, which is sometimes misinterpreted as wimpy, to the employee.
So…I learned many years ago a saying that has made the decision process very simple and easy for me to determine if I made a proper decision.

There are 3 reasons someone does not want to do something.

  1. They are not physically able to complete the task.
  2. They have not been trained properly to complete the task.
  3. And this is roughly 90% of the reason someone does not follow instructions…
    To me, this makes my decision so much easier.
    Rule out 1 and 2. Give proper written documentation and then do what needs to be done.

A friend of mine narrowed it down to “DON’T KNOW DON’T CARE”

Don’t be afraid to suspend him for 1 week without pay. If he wants his job, he will comply when he returns, if not…you don’t want someone working for you with a no care attitude.

Everyone needs to know what their boundaries are. They need to know how far they can go before something happens. Everyone with kids remember your child at 2 and looking at you as they put their hand in the cookie jar while you say no.
Even as adults we push the bar when needed…People need stucture in our lives and that is what builds character.

I hope Nick will input some wise philosophical wisdom for us to garnish knowledge from at any time. I for one enjoy his thought provoking insight…

the basic thing everyone is talking about is accountability. It’s part of their job to be held accountable as a manager for their performance. One thing you might try is a surprise visit when you’re off. It’s easier to hold someone accountable if they’re caught in the act. It could turn out to be a hesaid, she said type of thing. But if you can physically see it happening, then there is no arguement. I would do the 1 strike and you’re out rule. He’s already been warned. And then in a week or 2, try it again when he doesn’t have a clue you’re around.

Good Luck!!

I’m with ya Bubba, especially on the Nick part!

Well I really appreciate the replies.

Just so ya’ll know me and hubby work at two different locations. His manager isn’t a “cell phone” person. His crew and space doesn’t really allow cell phone use. His “thoughts” are when we are at home and I am going off cuz it blows my mind the disregard for the cell phone policy.

I have written documentation from at least 5 manager meetings where it was discussed over the last 6 months. What has me so irked is I had a one on one meeting (write up) on March 3rd. I am going to post it just so you can see what I said. The first part is on all my manager meetings.


Management is a constant learning, constant growing accountable position. Managers need to be aware of the danger of becoming complacent (self-satisfied, usually in an unreflective way and without being aware of possible dangers) and/or stagnate (not developing or making progress: to fail to develop, progress, or make necessary changes ) in their job performance.

Managers are enthusiastic, more experienced people who provide constant support, inspiration and advice to and watches over and has a personal interest in the progress and success of a less experienced person and team. Training is constant. Follow up is constant.

Managers need to practice constant and consistent discipline. (A controlled orderly state using practices and methods to ensure people obey rules by teaching and showing them desired behavior.)

Cell Phones / Personal Phone Calls / Visitors

We continue to have issues with cell phone use. Cell phones are not permitted while working. Personal phone calls and visitors are not permitted. We are called to be the example for the staff and violating rules and policies is not a good example. As discussed in our previous meetings: Managers need to practice constant and consistent discipline. (A controlled orderly state using practices and methods to ensure people obey rules by teaching and showing them desired behavior.)

In an effort to correct the problem leave cell phone at home or in car. When a personal visitor stops by or calls explain you will talk to them after work. This needs to be corrected immediately.

I am in the process of training 2 people to move up and they need a few more weeks to master cooking during a rush (they work Front of the house). I may just have to bite the bullet and work doubles awhile. I think that is really what the problem is…Argh those dang doubles!

Thanks for your input.


I don’t have any ‘final word’ to offer, just what someone once asked me: What is more important to you?

If it is compliance with the rule and manager’s performance does not override your displeasure with the rule . . . then decide to remove the employee.

If performance is more important and the performance is so superior that the cell phone use makes no impact, and you performance outweighs non-compliance . . . then get past the rule.

It really sounds like your in the first part of not seeing performance out weight defiance. So, maybe a three sentence document that says something like:

“We are displeased with your failure to comply with attached cell phone & visitors policy (especially if you can catch him in the act). ANY further failure in the next 90 days will result in a one week suspension. A second infraction will result in termination. After that time, Owners will decide appropriate disciplinary action that could result in reprimand, suspension or dismissal.” {your sign and date along with his sign and date . . . copy to him and original to you}

Direct outline of expectations and consequences. Nothing flowery and no wiggle room. This also doubles as documentation for any unemployment claim disputes. If you want to include a BRIEF statement of the manager’s value, that can work. The constant defiance can erode the authority you have with the rest of the staff . . . or sometimes it can strengthen the view of you as a flexible and considerate manager. It all depends on the staff and dynamics you got out there.

I never got the three strikes rule. Maybe because I am in a at-will state. Perhaps it is because of EEOC worries.

I will remind them once about a rule. If it happens again, we have a heart-to-heart talk and if I get the slightest whiff that they think the rule is “stupid” or should not apply to them, I let them go on the spot. I suppose I have always had a culture that respected my rules and knew that they were not flexible. I have so few and the rationale for them is logical that anyone who does not follow them is saying they do not respect my judgment. And that’s really okay. You need to work someplace where you respect your manager.

Usually when it gets to the point where a team member is breaking rules it is because they do not buy into our culture and do not value the opportunity we offer them.

A manager ignoring an owner’s rules is cause for immediate termination without waiting to train a replacement. Otherwise they will continue to piss in the well.

Okay…first…this is a rule that you are expecting adherance to…so enforce it.

Second…honestly, before jumping the gun on your manager…why not have someone you TRUST who isn’t well known to your establishment come in and “mystery shop” it.

Have them specifically order, pay, and sit and watch the manager. If you’re carryout only…try to find a way for this person to stall so they can truly see if this guy is using his phone for personal calls or not.

I would hate to think your 2 shifties don’t like this manager and are trying to “church” him for his job.

You say you’ve not seen the cell phone usage, just heard it from the 2 shifties…so I would verify that this is 100% for certain he uses the phone before you let go a good manager.

You could very well find that, out of fear of getting caught, they have no problem narc-ing on your manager when they in fact are also taking personal calls.

None of this appears to have been mentioned in other responses…so, as someone who has SEEN this happen, I wanted to present this to you in case this could actually BE your case.