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Your Title is NOT an Exemption

September 1, 2009 3 comments

Nothing frustrates employees more than supervisors, and particularly an org’s top leaders, who feel as though they are above the standards they set for others.  Managers who think this routinely drop the ball on projects, see a high turnover of staff, and often wonder why the team isn’t performing to its potential.

Examples I’ve personally experienced include:

  • asking subordinates to work late on a Friday to meet a deadline… and promptly leaving at 3:15 for “coffee”… and not coming back to the office until Monday at 10am.
  • scheduling “mandatory” meetings to get a project moving forward, only to schedule something else at the same time and attempt to play double-duty in both meetings. (Please don’t ever attempt to “run” meetings you don’t plan to attend!!)
  • making every request seem like a critical fire that needs immediate attention… and you work your butt off only to find out that it was only critical b/c the boss dropped the ball a few weeks ago by not passing the information along to the team at the appropriate time.

Read more from LeadStar:

Lead Star | News and Insights | On Our Minds | Title is Not an Exemption

~Kristin

All Things Workplace: Purge The Victims and Villains Syndrome

If you are afraid of conflict, you are afraid to grow.

We humans are stubborn.  Even those of us who claim to “handle change well” or “love learning new things”.   At some point or another (or maybe all the time), we avoid things that challenge our view of the world.  Most often, this challenge comes in the form of conflict.

“If you are afraid of conflict, you are afraid to grow.”

Some wise person sent me this quote. I’m not at all certain who it’s attributed to, nor where my wise friend found it… But isn’t it so true?

The situations that we find ourselves avoiding are typically the ones we learn the most from, once we face the challenge.   Every difficult person, challenging goal, or stressful project teaches us something.  We learn something new about ourselves, or maybe we find a new strength to leverage in the workplace.  No matter what type of situation it may be,  if it challenges the way you view the world, I can guarantee you’ll discover something new if you have the guts to experience it.

~Kristin (with a little help from Mr. Anderson)KristinMeezHeadshot66x66

Categories: conflict, diversity, learning

Change How You Deal With Difficult People

Everyone has someone who “bugs” them. Learn how to better handle these type of people, and have fun while doing it:

All Things Workplace: Change How You Deal With Difficult People.

If You Think Your Bad Attitude Doesn’t Leave a Mark, Think Again


I bet you would all agree with me that loud, rude, and/or negative people in the workplace are not the reason you show up everyday. Most of you would probably agree the rude and mouthy people can be really damaging to your outlook and mood. For instance, how do you feel after hearing someone fly off the handle, yell, and curse over something as small as a rescheduled meeting or unexpected phone call from a sales person?

For the grand majority of us, the instinct to take flight (aka: lay low) takes over. And even if the outburst wasn’t aimed at you, guess what happens: your focus, engagement, productivity and creativity are out the window.

This article highlights some research that confirms our intuition about these folks in the workplace. The study shows that rude behavior has an effect on productivity and creativity. And I guess if we’re noticing a decline in productivity, creativity, engagement, innovation, etc… we could safely assume it’s having an impact on the bottom line, as well.

“We found that even when the rude behavior is pretty mild, it impairs a person’s cognitive functioning and has spillover effects in how they treat their co-workers,” said Amir Erez, a University of Florida management professor.

The unusual study, by Erez and Christine Porath, a management professor at the University of Southern California, appears in the October issue of the Academy of Management Journal.

This well-crafted research shows that when organizations allow rude employees to run roughshod over others, it not only creates uncivilized workplaces, it is just plain bad business.

Take note, and don’t let your temper tantrum run roughshod over your employees.

The Toxic Employee

My Soapbox: We’ve all been around the co-worker who just sucks the life out of you. You know, the one that complains about everything, relates everything back to his/her negative experiences, or shares his/her dissatisfaction with every aspect of life? Heck, maybe this someone is you.

Have you ever wondered why this person comes to work everyday if he or she is so unhappy with their job duties, the organization, or with management? Why doesn’t the toxic employee simply find another job where he or she will be happier?

I think there are two answers to these questions:

First, misery loves company. If the toxic employee is dissatisfied life, they want you to be dissatisfied too. The toxic employee isn’t going to sit at home alone. Oh no, they want to share the toxicity with you!

Second, they get rewarded for being toxic. Hang on a minute, and hear me out!! The toxic employee is rewarded inadvertently by the organization (pay increases, seniority, and good benefits, etc), so wouldn’t you come to work if you get paid to complain? AND, when a manager has a toxic employee on the team, they tend to avoid giving them the important projects and tasks. They tend to hand those out to the “shining star” employees (therefore overloading the shining star, and making them dislike the toxic employee and their boss), while the toxic employee gets to kick back with less work to do and more time to spread the toxicity.

How Do You Deal With The Toxic Employee? A couple tips:

  1. Before you approach the toxic employee, you need both observational data (examples of negative behavior) and an accurate quantifiable account of the number of negative behaviors observed. For example, “I have observed you telling four coworkers last week that they should resist using the new process.”
  2. Run your observations past the HR department to get validation that the behaviors do indeed undermine the organization’s goals and/or create a toxic environment for other employees.
  3. It is also a good idea to work with another manager, who can act as a witness to your behavior, during any closed-door meeting you have with the negative employee. CYA.
  4. Inform the toxic employee that future work performance reviews will include both objective and subjective measures — like an assessment of how the employee is either increasing or decreasing his/her negative behaviors, by asking colleagues and other managers for feedback (think 360 Review).

Rules for Dealing with Toxic Employees

Rule 1: You cannot change a toxic employee with negativity. Hence, you must keep your cool and be positive when talking with the toxic employee.

Rule 2: Keep your overall expectations low. Do not expect an apology and do not expect the toxic employee to admit to their toxic behavior.

Bottom Line: While everyone has moments of self-centeredness, it’s the regularity and intensity of those moments that will shape how you affect others and how shape your environment. When you are dissatisfied at work, it’s very easy to become hazardous to your co-workers. Don’t let toxicity run your team.

Handling Tough Communication Teleseminar

January 22, 2009 Leave a comment

Don’t let a fear of confrontation negatively affect your career.

Join LeadStar for a Tough Talks teleseminar Tuesday, Feb. 10 at 1pm EST to learn how to overcome communication challenges with confidence, consistency and clarity.

During the 60 minute call and 30 minute Q&A session you will:

  • Realize why direct communication is crucial to your success
  • Increase awareness of your communication style
  • Learn best practices to effectively handle the most common difficult workplace communication
  • Discover how to manage your emotions to ensure productive conversations

Learn more and sign up today — it’s only $49.95 USD / line.