Why can’t I get results from a staff member in a remote location?

Hello Aunty B!

I was hoping you could help me with a people management problem.

I manage a few staff members in different offices nationally and one is taking advantage of this.

She will come into the office late (I have been told by others in the office who don’t report to me), leave early and is not getting the results I would expect from her.

She is expected to make contact with her clients and sustain a relationship. She does this only by email and rarely sees or speaks to them on the phone. This is very frustrating as she does get paid well, and it’s not the sort of behaviour I would expect from someone at her level.

Her contract ended last year and the job was offered to someone else who turned it down. I then had to convince the CEO to offer her the role again. Something she has been very lucky to receive!

I thought she would hit the ground running or else be forced to go back to a job with a significant pay cut and one she says she didn’t enjoy as much as her current role.

But her behaviour is slowly going back to how it was (not good!).

Can you please offer any advice on how to manage or get results from staff in remote offices? Her results are my results.



Dear Help,

Why on earth do you think this is your problem? Oh, I see why. From your email address I can see you are a woman. For goodness sakes, women of Australia, listen up! As a manager you will encounter employees that are (a) not up to the job now or never OR (b) borderline crazy.

Now forgive the stereotyping here, but in the event of A and B, men will blame the worker and move them on. What are you doing? Spending your days, ringing all and sundry, boring your husband, kids and long suffering friends to death and writing to Aunty B about what is wrong with you!

There is nothing wrong with you. You are a highly professional, results-oriented star who is managing all your other employees well. And it is perfectly obvious that your worker is not up to her new role.

Proof? A large part of her job is in customer relationships. But she doesn’t do relationships. She is measured by results. She isn’t getting results. And she is lazy and unprofessional to boot. Of course she doesn’t want to go back to her old job because she can’t afford her new apartment!

So you are breaking up and it’s not about you – it’s about her. Set in place a performance management system at two-weekly intervals and make her produce the changes you want or let her move on to another job where she may be better suited.

Be smart,

Your Aunty B


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