Browsing the archives for the civility tag.

Managing People: Don’t become a therapist (part 3)

Geek 5, Managing people

Last week, we discussed the importance of not becoming a therapist and covered common “therapy” scenarios of medical concerns and family drama.  Those are the heavy hitters.  But there are some other common scenarios that can also be therapy risks, time sucks and just plain annoying. 

3.  Personal disputes at work– Sometimes the workplace starts to feel like junior high.  Cliques get formed, disputes start, petty bickering ensues.  These disputes are usually based on personal conflicts and not work-related issues.  As the boss, you might get pulled in as a referee.  Whatever you do, stay out of it!  Set the expectation that the workplace is a professional environment and civility is expected.  If someone asks you to deal with someone else, send them back to deal with the issue face-to-face like a calm adult.  If it is bickering and not substantive (harassment, etc.) then it is not your problem.  Tell the juveniles to deal with it themselves and then hold them accountable for professional etiquette.

4.  Complaints about work environment– As innocuous as it seems, complaints about the work environment can be really tricky.  About a year ago, my company built some new buildings and everybody moved locations.  Some of the most contentious and complicated meetings I have ever attended revolved around seating arrangements.  Who was near who and who was near the window and which office was biggest?  Yikes!  Other common complaints involve noise, temperature, condition of equipment and location.  Sometimes these kind of disputes don’t have a good solution.  Sometimes you just have to say that it is what is is.  The work buzz has a funny article about power struggles over the thermostat.  It even provides strategies for dealing with it.  But as they remind us, no bathing suits at work!

5.  Just plain weird.  Sometimes as a manager you’ll get requests that are just plain weird.  Some involve drama and some don’t.   Ask Annie at Fortune covered some of these requests recently.  She discussed a CareerBuilders survey of 2,924 managers at U.S. companies that asked them to recall the most memorable perks employees have asked for lately.  Some of these involved tanning beds, jail time requests and clown variances.

 Above all, keep your sense of humor.  Focus your time on issues that will move the business the right direction.  Stay out of the petty dramas – your life will be easier if you do!

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