Handling Difficult Conversations

It would be wonderful if we could work day in and out with our co-workers and bosses and everything went just wonderful, no problems or misunderstanding? What a wonderful world it would be, but that is not reality, when we work with people we are bound to have rubs with personalities among other daily issues that come up and need to be addressed.  If you are like most people you dread t821924_place_des_carmeshis type of interactions, where you need to confront someone and let them know that either they did something incorrectly or have caused another problem in the office.  I received good advice one time and have held to it for the most part and that is when something with a co-worker or supervisor comes up that needs to be dealt with, WAIT, yes, wait for at least 24 hours to pass or more so that you have time to really digest the problem and think about how you could handle it as to not cause further problems.  Now there is always the exception to this rule and that is if someone is causing immediate danger to others or themselves, these issue need to be handled immediately.   Dreading the encounter will not make it go any better, but by taking the time to really think it through and how you can say what needs to be said in the most positive way with the other person’s best interest in mind will make you feel somewhat better.  Preparation is the key to successfully get the information across to the other person.  Know what the issue is, spell it out clearly, and end with something positive.  Take for instance this situation I encountered; we had one employee that was a chatter box, (this is putting it mildly), she could talk a leg off a horse and it was about senseless things and this drove a couple of the other staff members crazy.  I admit, she got to me too, but I also could see many of the good qualities that she had and tried to overlook this issue until it got so bad that the other employees came to me and insisted management talk to her because they had already tried.  The two physicians and myself talked about how we could make good of this situation and went in to the conference with this employee with the attitude that we would make it the situation right and have this employee understand that we truly did care for her, but the issued of her chattering needed to stop.  The conversation held that day was not easy, and our intent was to have a positive outcome.  Our employee did have her feelings hurt and was able to verbalize how she saw what she was doing.  As we took the time to really speak from all sides on how her actions affected the office she was able to understand what we were saying, and did come to realize that we must really care for her because we took the time to try to fix the problem and not just let her go.  During the conference we continually talked of this employees good qualities so she was not bombarded with just the negative.  She did become angry, but we let her speak and work through that, knowing that we would probably feel the same way.  By taking the time to prepare for this meeting and letting the employee know in advance that we needed to speak to her on this issue she was not blind-sided and had time to also prepare, we came to the table in a calmer manner and it paid off.

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