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How to Effectively Deal with Conflict in the Workplace by F&P LLP

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How to Effectively Deal with Conflict in the Workplace by F&P LLP

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How to Effectively Deal with Conflict in the Workplace by F&P LLP

  1. 1. How to Effectively Deal with Conflict in the Workplace Presented by: Laura P. Jordan Phone: (503) 242-4262 Email: ljordan@laborlawyers.com Atlanta • Boston • Charlotte • Chicago • Cleveland • Columbia • Dallas • Denver • Fort Lauderdale • Houston • Irvine • Kansas City • Las Vegas • Los Angeles Louisville Memphis • New England • New Jersey • New Orleans • Orlando • Philadelphia • Phoenix • Portland • San Diego • San Francisco • Tampa • Washington, DC www.laborlawyers.com Fisher& PhillipsLLP ATTORNEYSATLAW Solutions at Work®
  2. 2. ROADMAP: • Workplace Conflict Resolution • Dealing With Difficult Employees • Scenarios • Summary
  3. 3. Why Conflict Resolution? THE WORKPLACE IS THE MOST DANGEROUS PLACE TO BE IN AMERICA – United States Department Of Justice, 1994
  4. 4. Conflict in the Workplace • Workplace Conflict – Can be a serious problem in the workplace – Will result in a loss of productive employee time – Could result in civil/administrative litigation • Costs of defense • Costs of an adverse determination – Personal liability of managers and supervisors
  5. 5. How to Resolve Conflict • Manage • Identify Opportunities • Meet Challenges Head-On • Communicate • Pay Attention to the People
  6. 6. Manager’s Role • Prevention through good company culture, training and education • Proactive and responsive to complaints • All reasonable steps necessary to prevent • Prompt, thorough and effective investigations • Appropriate follow-through
  7. 7. Key Manager Responsibilities • Be a positive force/influence • Communicate Effectively • Uphold Performance Standards • Model Appropriate Workplace Conduct • Filter issues to determine what needs to be raised with HR or management
  8. 8. Key Manager Responsibilities • Be a positive force/influence – You are the face of the company – Negative attitude/interactions reflect on the entire organization – Most employee disputes can be dealt with early or avoided through positive communication
  9. 9. Key Manager Responsibilities • “Positive Communication” requires that you actively engage your employees. • It is not okay to ignore issues in the workplace. • How do you actively engage your employees?
  10. 10. Key Manager Responsibilities • Communicate Effectively – Clear notice of expectations – Opportunity to meet standards – Feedback on performance • Performance evaluations • Disciplinary action • Positive praise where appropriate
  11. 11. Key Manager Responsibilities • Uphold Company Performance Standards – Impose a duty on employees – Find a benchmark that can be used to measure performance – Requires more professionalism than what the law requires
  12. 12. Key Manager Responsibilities • Model Appropriate Workplace Conduct – The manager’s conduct is the standard for employees • Employees will not conform to policies if manager does not conform • Ignoring issues undermines the policies
  13. 13. Key Manager Responsibilities Filter of Issues/Disputes • Not every workplace dispute needs to be reported to HR or senior management • Look at the totality of the circumstances – Is a protected status implicated? – Are factors other than one’s ability to perform a job at issue? – Not sure whether to involve HR?
  14. 14. Managing Employees • Treat Employees With Dignity And Respect – Find an office or conference room for privacy – Start with general, open-ended questions – Avoid questions that suggest a bias – Avoid editorial comments or legal conclusions – Any matter that is potentially significant (such as harassment, discrimination, family leave, retaliation, wage and hour or workplace safety) must be reported to HR
  15. 15. Managing Employees • What to Document – Performance Assessments Both formal and informal performance evaluations should be documented Tie the evaluation to job-related standards – Performance Management/Discipline Give the employee specific information about performance problems and the steps to correct the problems
  16. 16. Identify Opportunities • Nip it in the bud! • Ears and eyes open • Look for the real issues • Beware of motives • Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear!
  17. 17. Meet Challenges Head-On • What elephant? • Avoiding a problem is not likely to make it go away • More likely to grow out of control if not addressed
  18. 18. Communicate • Two-way process • Skill • Clear • Timely • Effective
  19. 19. Communicate • Consistent • Personal • Positive • Respectful • Motivational
  20. 20. Pay Attention to the People • Don’t get carried away by other distractions • A little bit of employee relations goes a long way • More and more important in this economic environment
  21. 21. Identifying Issues • Silence, bickering, pettiness • Lack of team approach • Complaints • Other symptoms
  22. 22. Resolving Workplace Issues • One-on-one • Group • Third party • Goal setting • Common benefits • Or else
  23. 23. Dealing with Difficult Employees • Direct • Professional • Deal with issues • Avoid traps – Legal – Personal
  24. 24. Reality • Every manager has a tendency to put off those difficult conversations hoping the problem will disappear • Whether vulgar language, excessive gossip, inappropriate dress, personal hygiene, or performance issues, every manager will face difficult employee issues
  25. 25. Reality (continued) • Supervisors need to be skilled and understand what is legal • More than that, they need to understand what will work – How to begin the conversation – How to confront difficult employees – How to create an atmosphere that engages employees – How to discover the truth and learn what is really the cause
  26. 26. Reality (continued) • Attitude problems • Rule breakers • Does not play well with others • An excuse for everything • Keeping a record • Intentionally difficult
  27. 27. Reality (continued) • Address the facts • No tolerance for threats, accusations and defiance • Productive ways to counsel employees • Keep your emotions under control • Focus on the problem, not the person
  28. 28. The Right Approach • We are all in this together • Do you want to be a part of the team? • Do you want to succeed?
  29. 29. Scenario • Attitude problems –Identify the real issue –Motivation –Address as appropriate
  30. 30. Scenario • Rule breakers –Testing? –Showing off? –Pushing the limits? –Leader of the group?
  31. 31. Scenario • Does not play well with others –Source of conflict –Motives?
  32. 32. Scenario • An excuse for everything –Has it worked? –Real issues? –Find a cure
  33. 33. Scenario • Keeping a record –Always pretend you are being recorded –Warning bells –Don’t be scared –You’re the star!
  34. 34. Scenario • Intentionally difficult –Agenda –Defense mechanism –Zero tolerance
  35. 35. Scenario • Constant Complainer –Negativism –Setting an example –Subject of dissatisfaction
  36. 36. Scenario • Handwriting on the Wall –Waiting to act –Correct timing –Decision point
  37. 37. Stay Legal • All actions subject to review • Identify attempts to mischaracterize • Watch for fraud • Watch for buzzwords • Create your own record
  38. 38. Key Points to Remember • Manage employees • Deal with complaints and problems • Realize “perception” is as important as reality • Remember the goal is to prevent, resolve and avoid claims – not to “win”
  39. 39. Thank You! Follow up and final questions? Presented by: Laura P. Jordan Phone: (503) 242-4262 Email: ljordan@laborlawyers.com Atlanta • Boston • Charlotte • Chicago • Cleveland • Columbia • Dallas • Denver • Fort Lauderdale • Houston • Irvine • Kansas City • Las Vegas • Los Angeles Louisville Memphis • New England • New Jersey • New Orleans • Orlando • Philadelphia • Phoenix • Portland • San Diego • San Francisco • Tampa • Washington, DC www.laborlawyers.com Fisher& PhillipsLLP ATTORNEYSATLAW Solutions at Work®

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