The Employee with the Ugly Swing[bar]

Cape Times (South Africa), April 16, 2012 | Go to article overview

The Employee with the Ugly Swing[bar]


Golfing folklore suggests that two true legends of the game, Byron Nelson and Sam Snead, once observed two amateur golfers practising on a driving range. The amateurs both played off 10 handicaps. The one amateur had a most glorious golf swing whereas his partner's swing was too dreadful to watch, laden with faults and idiosyncrasies.

According to the legend, Snead turned to Nelson and said, "Boy, if I could only work with that guy, I could get him to be a scratch handicap in a week."

"You mean the one with the nice swing?" asked Nelson.

"Nah," replied Snead. "If he's only a 10 with that swing, he's as good as he will likely ever be. But just think of what I could make out of the guy with the ugly swing."

Managers in the modern workplace are masters in juggling the demands placed on them by employees seeking their guidance and assistance. The frequent complaint from managers is that they spend so much time on coaching and counselling "dead wood" that their talented staff lose interest as the managers are too busy managing the poor performers to give attention to the needs of the performing staff.

This is obviously an area of concern as competitors would love to get their hands on a company's talented staff - with the company unwittingly assisting them in doing so by not giving attention, guidance and mentoring to staff that are performing well. However, managers cannot use that as the reason for neglecting their responsibility in managing poor performing staff.

The Labour Relations Act places an obligation on employers to assist poor performing employees before dismissing them from service. The Code of Good Practice: Dismissal recommends a process of performance counselling before dismissal for poor performance. The employer first has to establish that the employee has not met the required performance standard. Once this is confirmed, the employer must determine whether the employee was aware (or could reasonably have been expected to be aware) of the required performance standard. …

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