Sometimes things happen at work that disrupts the environment and requires management to think fast and act. This doesn’t mean that employees should fix these disruptions. There are things, accidental and otherwise, that management shouldn’t ask employees to do.
Though some “asks” are obviously a no-no, others may not be so clear. Here are four.
Anything You Wouldn’t Do
One of the best guidelines for managers is simply this: Never ask your employees to do something you wouldn’t do. If the duty is part of their job description, fine, but generally speaking, if you aren’t willing to do it, don’t assign it to an employee. Always take the first turn and set the example.
Anything Illegal or Unethical
This should go without saying. Examples of illegal or unethical things that employees should never be asked to do include:
- Falsifying documents
- Lying to customers
- Stealing money from customers or the company
- Stealing information from employees, customers, the company, or other companies
- Harassing coworkers
- Pressuring employees to disclose personal information about themselves or others
Do not pressure your employees to participate in charitable donations or donate their time. Requiring an employee to donate money to any charity is docking their salary. Since you have no idea what their work/ home situation is, requiring them to donate their time to a charity may not be possible either. Offer the option and do not force employees to participate.
Never throw employees under the bus when things go wrong, even if they make a mistake. You are responsible for your department and its employees, good and bad. Even if you did not expressly authorize or request it, take responsibility for it.
Anything Dangerous or Harmful
Don’t ask your employees to do anything that may cause them to risk life and limb or harm them professionally. That includes performing duties outside their job description that could result in harm or death, as well as dealing with an abusive customer or working in a physically or mentally toxic or harmful environment.
Anything That Violates the Employment Package Agreed To
When you hired your employee, you agreed to the job’s parameters, the salary/ benefits package they would receive in compensation, and the terms of work (hours, vacation, PTO, sick days, etc.). Forcing an employee to work outside those parameters, to cancel vacation time, or to work when sick violates that employment package and should never happen.
Management comes with a great deal of responsibility, including looking out for the welfare of your employees. Even when messes happen and the workplace environment goes off the rails, taking care of your employees and never asking them to do anything you wouldn’t do first is essential.