July 30, 2008 · 1:16 pm
This management seminar flier categorizes different types of problem employees (e.g. “The Gossip,” “The Excuse Artist”), and offers ways to deal with each employee personality type.
I think it is usually counterproductive to give people labels. For example, if a manager tells an employee that he is “The Gossip”- or if the manager merely believes the employee can be reduced to a stereotypical icon like “The Gossip”- those beliefs or words can push the parties’ employment relationship in a negative direction. In my own observation, employment disputes are resolved much better when management address employees in terms of behavior (e.g. manager tells an employee that “Gossiping is harmful, and I’d ask that you and others avoid it”) rather than labels that categorize a person (e.g. “You are a Gossiper”).
With that said, upon review of this full flier information and seminar description, I think that, for the most part, this seminar does address behaviors first, and promotes positive communications with employees. (In other words, the seminar promises to tell managers how to communicate with employees about things like gossiping, and doing so in a constructive manner that does not offend the employees or make them defensive).
In my observation, when management encounters behavior types that are legitimately harmful (e.g. excuse-making) but communicates negatively to the employees about this (e.g. “You’re an Excuse Artist who never takes responsiblity for anything!”), then the first stone is cast, and escalating disputes and litigation are much more likely.
As I often find myself saying to employees (and the same holds true for management): When you are in a dispute, it is not enough to be right. How you communicate is just as important, and often more important, than being right. If you communicate negatively or unprofessionally, that distracts from the fact you are right, and makes people inclined to defensive or retaliatory behavior, as opposed to seeing the light.
Because this seminar appears to share this philosophy, I give it a thumbs up, for whatever the value of my little thumb in cyberspace is worth.
July 17, 2008 · 11:38 pm
Employers- are you looking for an employment defense attorney who will unquestioningly agree with every word you allege, gladly smear your opponent employee as “ridiculous” and a “liar” and the like, and write letters to your opponent (although more so written to you) proclaiming your organization will be “vindicated?”
Employees- are you looking for an employee rights attorney who will unquestioningly take your “slam dunk case” as you call it, who gladly promises to be more “aggressive” than the prior two attorneys you retained, and who nods and agrees that your case may well go to the Supreme Court because you’ll “never settle with those people?”
If you search long enough, and if you bring a big wallet along, you will eventually find the right attorneys to Pump (PAUSE, CLAP) You Up.
And at some point (well short of the Supreme Court or “vindication”) you will realize that you have spent a lot more money on legal fees than you needed to, and you probably WILL “settle with those people” (or, at least you’d BETTER). And the settlement will be a disappointment to you as compared to what you had believed back when your attorney was vocal about pumping you up, and silent about the multiple risks of deflation. But at some point you’ll see it’s better to cut your losses than continue to pay Hans and Franz’s membership fee.
June 6, 2008 · 3:11 pm
Some employers, concerned about workplace romances and sexual harassment lawsuits, require that dating coworkers sign “Love Contracts.” (see article here; free registration required).
That’s right: a contract that sets terms on love.
The Contracts require dating employees to agree, among other things, that their personal relationship is consensual (e.g. to admit their relationship does not involve a supervisor misusing his authority and coercing a subordinate to date him).
A bit intrusive, you might say? In practical terms, yes. But in legal terms, no. While I feel employers often go WAY overboard with intrusive maneuvers (viewing employees’ emails and internet use, using PIs to spy on injured workers, etc.), I actually agree with employers’ use of “Love Contracts.”
Why? Because employers have reason to be concerned. Sexual harassment is a very real risk in worker-dating situations, and liability for a sexual harassment lawsuit can be staggering. Most dating-relationships end without marriage, and many end with hard feelings. And many jilted people do irrational things. These realities are painfully evident to employers, likely even more so than to love-struck coworkers who are blinded to common risks and future contingencies.
It only makes sense that employers ask dating coworkers to acknowledge that their relationship is personal, is of their own free will, and that it’s not the employer’s fault if things go sour.
After all, love hurts.
May 13, 2008 · 11:43 pm
Are you a jerk boss? Before you answer, please do not rely on your self-awareness (or lack thereof) alone– unbridled confidence gets the real jerks in trouble.
Take this test to find out if you’re a “jerk” (my term), or, as the test’s author puts it, an “A@$ole”.
The test was developed by Robert Sutton, PhD, author of “The No A@$ole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace, and Surviving One That Isn’t.”