Careless Boss

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about manager who has become careless: How can I address the carelessness of my boss whose authority is not being adequately used to insure the quality of the restaurant?

I have worked at a Japanese Steakhouse for almost two years now. It has two different types of restaurants–one being a hibachi side and the other a fine dining sushi side. On the hibachi side a chef comes out and cooks on a grill in front of all the patrons making it a unique experience. I started out as a hostess and now I am a server. I have been a server since August and mainly what servers do is serve customers their drinks, appetizers, soups, salads, desserts and bring them their check. Overall, I attend to my customers’ needs and take care of them with the best of my abilities.

Another part of our job is side work at the end of the night assigned with different tasks depending on your section. Our general manager has been there for about six years now and has contributed a lot to the our Japanese Steakhouse restaurants. But, over the past two months I have seen a huge change in him compared to when I first started working there last January. He has aged a bit and lately has become careless. I respect him entirely and would not be the person I am today without his guidance. Some of the servers like his carelessness and the more laid back environment. Due to this many servers, bus boys, hostesses and chefs have either been doing their side work inefficiently or not at all. One general manager has even reported to the owner in the past what has been going on but the servers easily slipped back into their old ways.

I do not want to get my manager in trouble but somehow approach him and ask him to become stricter. I have pointed multiple things out to him such as the to-go station not being cleaned or grills not entirely scrubbed down but he does not take it seriously. My manager does not like being told what to do and interprets advice as an insult to his superiority. I don’t want our restaurant to get a reputation of being dirty and inefficient. What can I possibly do to eliminate this problem? It would be much appreciated because I do care about this restaurant a lot and the people I work with I consider my family. My question is: How can I address the careless of my boss whose authority is not being adequately used to insure the quality of the restaurant?

Signed, A server Who Cares

Dear Server Who Cares:

You need to fully approach your manager and explain what you just wrote about him. Furthermore, point out the to-go station is not being cleaned nor are the grills not entirely scrubbed down. If you are serious about wanting to eliminate the problems you’ve described and to improve your work environment, then confront him. Tell him that you want to be taken seriously. Explain that you are not trying to tell him what to do but you are simply advising him with useful information. If he believes you are insulting his superiority then be sure to inform him that is not your goal but your goal is to improve the restaurant.

From the Workplace Doctors website there is an answer similar to your question to a signed subordinate of demotivated boss. The question asked about confronting a boss that had become demotivated the past couple of months. In the answer, William Gorden stated, “From what you don’t say, I assume you haven’t had the courage to confront her. You lack ideas about what might be done to change the atmosphere and more importantly make positive change. Assuming this is true, here are suggestions for your consideration:” The suggestions that he lists are similar actions you can take to improve your work environment:

  • “Begin with a concerted effort of self-improvement. Put your brain to work about small things you and your boss might do to make each others jobs easier and more effective.
  • Conspire to brighten your work area. Hammer out do and don’t communication rules between for the two of you of for all those with whom you work.
  • Talk about talk can make instructions clearer.
  • Discourage negativity and promote constructive mindedness.” Will you give these suggestions an honest try?

Nicole Matti, Guest Respondent and William Gorden