People stay in jobs they hate because of the unstable job environment. When this decision is made, it’s important to have tools at hand that will help with internal (your thinking) and external (the jerks at work) conflict resolution. Poor employee relationships do not increase workplace productivity or help team conflict resolution. So what can be done when the goof ball in the next cubicle is driving you nuts?
1. How can employees deal with a co-worker who is a slacker and doesn’t pull their weight at work?
If it affects their work outcome or output, they should approach their supervisor, manager, director or whomever they report. This is the type of conversation they should have. “I need your help and need some clarification. Is this a good time for you?” If it is not a good time, schedule a time when it is. If it is a good time, continue by saying, “I understand that my job responsibilities are _____________. Is that correct? Great. Here’s where I need your help. Did you want to review the responsibilities with (name of the slacker) or was there someone else you wanted to do this?” You are now putting the ball back in their court. This approach may have to be done several times because the leader may be in denial and not hear the message the first or second time.
How does the employee response change if their supervisor is a slacker? Same approach – except you substitute, “With whom on the leadership team did you want me to verify responsibilities?”
2. What should employees do when a co-worker (or supervisor) yells at them?
Calmly say, “You maybe right. Help me understand where you’re coming from.” Did deeper, and don’t take it personally. It’s not about you. It’s about the work!
3. How can employees handle unwanted flirting or sexual advances?
Again calmly approach saying, “I need to discuss a sensitive issue with you. Is this a good time? OK good. I’m not comfortable with some of the comments you’ve made to me and consider it inappropriate for the business environment. I would appreciate conversation to be kept to work topics and for the personal references (or whatever) to stop. Is that something that we can agree on as two professionals (colleagues, business partners or whatever.)”
This information is actually from a conversation I had with a media interview for The Reactor Factor: How to Handle Difficult Work Situations Without Going Nuclear. Would love to hear your comments and suggestions!! Marsha