Confronting Difficulties at Work

Confronting Difficulties at Work

“Conscious evolution begins as we take responsibility for clearing our own obstructions.” — Dan Millman

Today’s tip deals with confronting difficult situations with a team member, or with your team in general.  An individual may be disgruntled for some reason and is doing everything in their power to “infect” the team atmosphere. They may be angry about not getting a raise, being disrespected by customers or other team members, or just by the conditions of life in general.  Regardless of the cause, you have a situation that needs to be addressed.  What should you do?

Too often, our first step is to ignore the problem and hope it goes away by itself.   Sometimes the problem does appear to go away, and we applaud ourselves for our Solomon-like brilliance in not making a big deal of it.  Most often though, even if the outward symptoms or negative behaviors disappear, the core problem is still there.  As small business owners, we are typically moving quickly and view problems like this as annoying and time wasting — and they are.  However, if you constantly sweep them under the rug you will pay dearly in the long term.

My suggestion is to always confront the issue early, directly and in a very supportive way. Try following these basic steps in working with these types of issues:

  • Take a few minutes and summarize, for yourself at first, what you are seeing and what could possibly be going on.  If other team members have brought this to your attention, brainstorm a bit with them — but do it in a FACTUAL and OBJECTIVE way, always giving the employee a supportive perspective and the benefit of the doubt. Reflect on the personality type of your employee for how to approach them, communicating in a way that they need to hear the message.
  • Know your resources, sometimes the problem is deeper or more complex than we can address. I believe this is one of the reasons we don’t address issues — we don’t want to know what the problem is, REAL life can be ICKY. Does your company have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)? What resources are available in your community to address things like, domestic abuse, alcohol or drug abuse, harassment, credit issues, etc. gone are the days of sweeping problems under the rug. A visit to your HR Department is a good place to start, knowing where you can go with a conversation so that you are following company policies and procedures and the law.
  • Have a discussion with the employee about what is going on. Be sure to let them know upfront in an authentic way that you value them as a person foremost and as a member of the team.  Very clearly let them know what you have been noticing and why it’s important to you. Point out the difficulties it is causing with your team and for your business.  Finally, ask how you can work together to deal with the issues causing the problem.
  • Keep an eye on the situation and be overly supportive during the time when the team member is dealing with getting back on track.  This will let the team member know that you are there for them.

Not all situations can be dealt with by helping the team member get back on track.  However, it should always be your first step in dealing with difficult situations.

Keep it up!
Until next time,


Your friends at Soul Canyon Training & Development

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