We all can have our moments. Moments when we are happy, sad, miffed, and difficult. If an employee who usually exhibits relatively happy and cooperative behavior and suddenly or unexpectedly shifts behaviors for the worst, then it’s probably due to some out of the ordinary happenstance. This employee may need some time off or require services such as a counselor or legal advice that is outside our skill set as managers. It’s those employees who exhibit consistently difficult behavior that are the issue.
These employees try our patience and emotions. However, patience and controlling our emotions are of paramount necessity to help handle these trying people. This is increasingly difficult to pull off when dealing with these types of behaviors is a daily occurrence. Let’s look at some of the causes and cures of these difficult personalities.
As a “recovering” Human Resources professional, working in hotels no less, I’ve had my share of difficult conversations with both guests and employees. Conversations with employees ranged from body odor, to inappropriate dress, unprofessional behavior, rule infractions, personality conflicts, petty territorial disagreements, and you name it. While some workplace conversations can be difficult, avoiding them is not recommended. First, we’ll look at the consequences avoiding difficult conversations can bring and then look at the essential steps for handling them.
Some people think that because an individual holds a managerial position that he or she automatically understands how to handle difficult conversations. Further, while managers may think they are confident and competent at holding difficult conversations, Human Resources (HR) holds a different opinion as indicated in the graph below.
Source:Adapted from Handling Difficult Conversations at Work
Well certainly a CEO knows how to chew these conversations up and spit them out. The fact is, that most of us don’t enjoy holding these conversations and many of us are not that skilled at having them. In fact, according to a study appearing in a Sage Publication, these conversations can be unnerving and emotionally draining. So, as human nature dictates, we avoid the unpleasant and the awkward. Failing to hold training sessions for difficult conversations is only asking for trouble.