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Formality is good practice in golf

Formality is good practice in golf


The golfing employer that is too friendly

Elite golf bosses are formal, not fuzzy

I am sure we have all had a boss that we thought cruel and callus. By the same token, we have probably all worked under someone warm and fuzzy. Well, where warm and fuzzy types are fabulous at stoking loyalty and boosting productivity, they may have a hard time when employees underperform.  

When a problem around performance arises with a member of staff, they much prefer to just have a chat - not the ominous kind, but the smiley, don’t worry about it too much kind. This can lead to a cluster of problems for both the employer and the employee.

Without formalising the discussion, the employer has no recourse at a later time if he, or she, feels the employee is still not working to standard. Moreover, a friendly chat may downplay the discussion. They might walk away thinking, ‘it’s no big deal, there’s nothing to remedy’.

I have witnessed this myself and a boss reluctant to formalise any disciplinary process will grow resentful of the employee he feels isn’t pitching in. That is, until there is a straw that breaks the camel’s back moment. Then it’s decided, ‘she has to go’.

But at this point the employee is clueless. For her, the friendliness of their chat a month ago suggested everything was fine. All the while her boss was fuming.


A common problem across golf sector

Don’t risk employee confusion

Nothing was ever formalised and so the disciplinary process can only begin when relationship breakdown between the employee and the employer already seems inevitable. According to the great Golf HR Blogger, Carolyne Wahlyn this story is retold across the golfing world over and over. In her writing she mentions one employer:

He’d simply stopped asking her to do the tasks she was getting wrong, or mentioned that she’d not done something correctly.  

She had NO idea that things had gone wrong, because the MD had failed to convey the seriousness and importance of the mess-ups to her.

In the above case the employer and the employee finally had a meeting to discuss performance. But, as Carolyne puts it, she ‘didn’t really get it’. I have looked in on situations like this one. Sometimes employees don’t get it.


Formality makes an elite golf employer

Golfing employees should benefit from formality

Employers need to make sure that employees do get it before any confusion or relationship breakdown occurs. They should sit down and discuss grievance at the earliest convenience, and formalise it. Any written form does this.

Employers… make sure you tell the employee that your discussion is formal. Be transparent.

And if you are formal, there can be no misunderstanding as to what you wish staff to achieve. If you have that friendly chat, the don’t worry about it too much kind, things will probably get ugly later.