At end of the day the boss is right

South Waikato News - - RURAL DELIVERY -

One of the con­tin­ual is­sues that come up be­tween em­ploy­ers and em­ploy­ees is em­ploy­ees who feel it is OK to ar­gue with the boss, dis­agree with in­struc­tions, feel they can tell the boss that they know bet­ter, ar­gue and in some of the more ex­treme sit­u­a­tions – take of­fence that the boss has dared to at­tempt to set guide­lines around what they are do­ing.

If this has not hap­pened to you on farm I am sure that you will know some­one that it has hap­pened to. And it gets com­pounded when the em­ployee also be­haves in a man­ner that pro­vokes the em­ployer and pushes a few of those but­tons. When the but­tons get pushed, peo­ple re­act then the fall­out can lead to all sorts of stress­ful sit­u­a­tions in­clud­ing me­di­a­tions.

How­ever if the em­ployer re­calls that ‘‘when pro­voked re­main calm, wan­der away if needed’’, un­til you can deal with the is­sue and not the per­son­al­ity or tem­per­a­ment, but you still have quite a stress­ful sit­u­a­tion to deal with don’t you? After all, do­ing the smart thing and walk­ing away from provo­ca­tion has not re­solved the is­sue of an em­ployee who is not fol­low­ing in­struc­tions.

Well the an­swer is very straight­for­ward. Within almost ev­ery em­ploy­ment agree­ment – and cer­tainly within the Fed­er­ated Farm­ers agree­ments, you will find a clause with the word­ing: ‘‘the em­ployee agrees to ful­fil other du­ties that, although not spec­i­fied……, pro­vided that such are not un­law­ful or un­safe.’’ And fur­ther­more the Em­ploy­ment Re­la­tions Act 2000 it­self re­quires em­ploy­ees to carry out all tasks in good faith, which cer­tainly does not in­clude ar­gu­ing or re­fus­ing re­quests.

Avoid­ing all the le­gal phras­ing that is within the Act, to make this clear for all the ba­sic state­ment is that if the boss wants a job done and he wants it done his way then the em­ployee is ob­li­gated to sim­ply do it and do it well. Of course where com­mu­ni­ca­tion is open a dis­cus­sion of sug­ges­tions and ask­ing if it is OK to do the task in another man­ner can be held but if the em­ployer still wants it done their way – then done their way it is and done cheer­fully.

This is one of the key ‘‘bound­aries’’ that I usu­ally re­mind a new em­ployee of when go­ing through the em­ploy­ment agree­ment terms with them. If you haven’t done this, then do­ing so as a part of your ori­en­ta­tion or just dur­ing a cof­fee catch up when talk­ing farm is a good thing. Just so that when things are re­ally busy on farm and there is not time for a lot of dis­cus­sion, the guide­line is clear, if it is safe, le­gal and the boss wants done, then the em­ployee smiles and does it.

John Bros­nan, HR ad­vi­sor, Coop­erAitken Ltd ac­coun­tants

John Bros­nan

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