April 22, 2014

Conversations About Workplace Drama: CEDR’s Trip to JAWS

team showing how to avoid workplace drama


[Paul isn’t the only voice at HR Base Camp! Meet Ali Edwards, CEDR’s Senior Solution Center Advisor, attorney, and speaker on all topics HR.]

I had the incredible privilege a few weeks ago of speaking to a fantastic group of administrators at the 2014 JAWS Society Conference on California’s beautiful Coronado Island. The topic was one of my favorites to teach and speak about: Workplace Drama.

So many of workplace drama masksyou are out there swimming in a sea of gossip and negativity, trying to stay one stroke ahead of the rumor mills in your offices. Believe me when I say, I feel your pain! And I love helping managers find solutions to their everyday stresses, even if it sometimes just means being a sounding board. Plus, it makes for some great stories that help us put future problems in perspective.

At JAWS, in addition to going over some great tips for hiring better and knowing when and how to fire without risk, we delved into a conversation about leadership communication, personal accountability, and the careful balancing act of being a liaison between your team and your doctors/practice owners.

We triggered some excellent questions from the audience, and I was able to offer some specific guidance on how to give corrective coaching in such a way that your team members can hear clearly what you are asking of them, and are most likely to act based on your guidance. We also learned about recognizing our own personal triggers and biases, to see where we unintentionally create obstacles to achieving our goals.

Dealing with Workplace Drama: Understanding, Expectations, and Boundaries

One subject we discussed in some depth was how knowing your employee’s underlying motivations can help you frame your conversation with them, enabling you to be more effective. For example, we often see the type of “Queen Bee” who is constantly complaining or whining, and they can have a toxic impact on the rest of the team. We know, however, that this kind of person generally doesn’t feel heard, and doesn’t feel effective or competent. To get through to them, you need to let them know that you hear them and understand them, and that you believe in their abilities and value their contributions (even if you really don’t!).

On the other hand, there is a second common Queen Bee variety: someone who tends to be bossy and moody, or who doesn’t like to follow direction. This type of person is more likely motivated by power, and getting through to them can be easier with a bit of ego stroking, acknowledging their impact on the team, good or bad, and letting them know you need them on your side.

With both types of Queen Bees, showing appreciation for what they do well while also setting firm boundaries can be very effective. Finally, show them how to take responsibility by doing so in your coaching: “I may have let this slide for too long, and didn’t clarify my expectations.” Or, “I was trying to keep the peace, but now this is a safety issue.”

Need a Speaker at Your Event? Give CEDR a Call!

All in all, I am truly grateful to have had the opportunity to engage with such a sharp and attentive group at JAWS. If any of you are interested in having Paul or I speak at a seminar or event in your area, whether about workplace drama, stronger hiring and management, safer firing, or any other topic pertaining to HR compliance and lawsuit avoidance, please contact us at any time at 602-476-1418. We’re here to help!

Friendly Disclaimer: HR information discussed here is general in nature, and is not intended to replace good council about a specific issue with either your attorney or your favorite HR expert.

Friendly Disclaimer: This information is general in nature and is not intended to provide legal advice or replace individual guidance about a specific issue with an attorney or HR expert. The information on this page is general human resources guidance that is believed to be current as of the date of publication. Note that CEDR is not a law firm, and as the law is always changing, you should consult with a qualified attorney or HR expert who is familiar with all of the facts of your situation before making a decision about any human resources or employment law matter.

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Please note: CEDR Solutions specializes in providing expert HR support to owners and operators of independently owned medical and dental practices.