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INSIGHT

How to stop being a ‘hit and run’ supervisor

By Lynne Curry  bio

How many times have you left the scene of a hit and run employee accident? Have you dented any employee fenders this month? What did it cost you?

When hit and run supervisors spot problem situations, they race to the scene, take fast action and speed away, not realizing they may have left one or more employee casualties in their wake. If you’re a hit and run supervisor, you’ve probably weathered multiple collisions—including some you afterwards regretted. Unfortunately, even if you later say, “I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have snapped like that,” your apologies rarely erase the dents creasing your employees’ fenders.

If you’d like to overhaul your hit and run approach, learn to slow yourself down by coupling your fast “in the moment” reactions with peripheral view decision-making. When you see a trouble situation, ask your employee to meet you in your office or another out-of-earshot location. Then, before you reach a conclusion ask, “What’s going on here?” —and listen. If your employee tells you something you overlooked in your initial haste, you save yourself future grief.

When you do need to critique an employee, take your foot off the gas before you deliver your comments. Supervisors who take a few moments to think through how they can best deliver negative feedback and don’t leave the scene until their employees both understand and commit to improvement achieve lasting results. Supervisors who instead deliver verdicts and race off can’t count on what they’ll find when they return.

Hit and run supervisors often take good behavior for granted yet zero-in on problems. If you excel at dishing out criticism but rarely dish out compliments, turn your employee encounters into races won by letting your hardest working employees know you value their consistent good work. Try a few, “Mike, you’ve really gotten the billing situation under control—and I know it wasn’t easy. Great job!”

If you want your problem employees to turn the corner, follow up any corrective feedback you give them with rear-view mirror work. Have any of the employees you criticized last month taken what you said to heart and improved? If so, follow up with “I’ve noticed your efforts in the last couple weeks. Keep up the good work.”  

Finally, learn to use your side-view mirrors. Hit and run supervisors believe they are right because they say so. They make up their minds based on what they see and rarely ask for or hang around to hear opposing views. If you find this fits you, the next time you catch yourself cutting a conversation short because you don’t want to hear the employee’s view, stop yourself, not your employee, short.

Are you tired of collision management? The next time you find yourself racing toward a problem, ease off the gas and ask yourself, “Am I jumping to conclusions? Let me hear what the employee has to say first.”

If you want the best results when you correct employees, take the time you need to word your comments so your employees understand what they need to do differently and commit to the improvements. Widen your peripheral vision until you give as much attention to your great employees as you give problematic behavior.

And, finally, use both your side-view and rear-view mirrors—because you can’t hit and run when you see the whole picture.


Lynne Curry, PhD, author of “Beating the Workplace Bully,” AMACOM 2016, and “Solutions” regularly presents to the Medical Group Management Association, Alaska Chapter and provides services to multiple medical practices and hospitals. You can contact Curry @ www.thegrowthcompany.com.


The above information is shared by a guest contributor and does not necessarily reflect the views of Medical Office Manager.

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