I've seen in coming. In the name of change, no one was paying much attention to what was going to happen when something was questioned. If there's a relaxed, laid back atmosphere to a workplace, it can be a lovely thing. However, sometimes this causes responsibilities to get blurred.
The workplace I'm writing about has undergone a change in management. Basically, some "young guns" have assumed power after about a two year time period when the business appeared to run itself as its founder was ill and subsequently passed away. These youngsters, while successful in areas of the business they may have run, have very obviously never opened up a book on managing personnel.
One of the soundest pieces of advice I ever received was from my mentor, Frances Mercer, my Executive Director at Association for Retarded Children wayyyyy back when. She never, ever reacted to a complaint about staff until she had heard it three times from three separate sources. Even then, she would have a talk with the person the complaint was about before taking any action. This one piece of advice is directly responsible for any success I've ever had in the world of human resource management. It's a piece of advice I wish I could pass along to the young men trying to manage a workplace now who are reacting rather than managing situations, and perhaps not listening proactively.
No employee -- whether it's their first day on the job or their ten thousandanth day -- should ever be put in the position where they are blindsided by an employer regarding their job performance. That should only happen on episodes of Survivor. I would caution others who work for employers who do not consider coaching their employees a vital component of managing. Who wants to work any place where communication is not open, honest and effective? Sure it might be fun to have everything seem laid back, but not when it's your back's against the wall and someone else has put it there unfairly and no one has heard "the other side of the story".
And, trust me, there's always another side to the story. Often, it's the side you haven't heard yet that holds the largest amount of truth. If the "young guns" trying to run this company don't learn this soon, they aren't going to have much of a company left to run. Once good employees leave because they aren't treated fairly, word gets out. It's a smaller world than we think. There are some egos that need to be reined in here. Before it's too late.