Drama in the workplace happens, A business owner has the power to make positive change
Drama in the workplace is definitely a time waster that we can all do without. Nevertheless it happens. As a business owner or manager there are some clear steps you can take to minimise it – from potential fisticuffs to malicious and petty gossip.
It starts at the beginning when you hire employees and continues with your management style. More than anyone else, you have the power to make positive change.
At an interview you can ask these types of questions:
- What would your past employer say about you, positive and negative?
- Which parts of your personality or character would you most like to improve?
- Describe a time when you failed? What did you learn from the situation?
- What kind of people do you struggle most to work with? How do you manage that?
During a reference check ask
- Is the candidate a team player?
- How does he or she respond to authority figures?
- Does this person have an awareness of emotional vibes around them?
Such questions help to assess if people value generosity and cooperation in their relationships with others they work with.
Take note if there is a tendency for candidates to speak negatively of other people and over-value their own contributions
Even if they are effective at their jobs, noxious workers actually have twice the negative impact on the bottom line as their positive work mates. They often spread their behaviour too, undermining the success of other employees and often causing higher staff turnover.
Lead By Example
Set a clear precedent for staff. Walk the talk. Always treat others with respect and tolerance while maintaining clear boundaries about what is acceptable at your place of work. Avoid
- gossiping about other colleagues
- withholding valuable information
- shaming in front of the group
- more negative than positive feedback
Create a zero-tolerance policy for bullying
Sometimes snide, hurtful comments make the rounds, inflating an issue resulting in multiple people pointing the finger. Nip it in the bud immediately. Be proactive and create a zero-tolerance policy for name-calling, cursing or abusive behaviour.
Mediate with clear communication
Whether we’ve been trained or not, most business owners end up mediating difficult discussions and conflict. It’s generally not effective to blast all employees by email because it fails to address the specific offender(s). By keeping a cool head we can diffuse drama rather than contribute to it.
1. Try to establish the facts in advance
2. Ask employees to speak from their actual experience
3. Actively listen and show you are listening. Stay calm and relaxed
4. Consider the context. Is it a one time issue or so something that has been repeating for a while
5. Consider your role in ending the situation. Is there anything you need to say or do. Should you speak one to one with the individual who caused the problem? Does that person owe the other employee an apology?
6. What was the intent of the person who started the drama? If it was malicious or seemingly intentional, firmly state the unacceptability of the action and give a severe warning.
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