Supervisor Newsletter - February 2019

Whether to Intervene or Not in Supervisor, Employee Conflict

If an employee in the department you manage complains to you that his direct supervisor is harassing and bullying him or her, do you intervene or allow them to resolve the issue directly? Find out the answer to this and other real-life manager scenarios in the latest issue of the Personal Assistance Newsletter.

One of the employees in the department I manage complained to me that his direct supervisor was harassing and bullying him. I didn't take action, because I felt the first step was to have him confront his supervisor. I am ready to step in, but isn't this inappropriate until he has tried to resolve the issue with his supervisor first?

In years gone by, your approach may have been commonly recommended. However, in today's world of work, not taking action after being informed of offensive and hostile behavior is usually viewed by courts as a failure to act and negligence. Likewise, procrastination or putting off investigating the matter can be seen as apathy. This is why sexual harassment policies support employees going to the next level of management when lodging complaints. It's better to ask, "How do I act now in order to get a fast, fair resolution regarding this incident?" Think speed and responsiveness. The employee should be offered support, and Personal Assistance Service can help. Referring the employee to PAS can reduce the risk to the organization and help employee manage any sort of emotional issues brought on by the incident.

My employee is quick to get angry. It's scary. It includes getting red in the face and shaking, even when playing cards on lunch break. Some coworkers think this is funny. Frankly, I am a little nervous. If he had a personal crisis, could he lose control? Should I be concerned?

You have enough information to document this situation and be rightfully concerned about it. Consult with Personal Assistance Service and discuss an approach that will support a successful constructive confrontation with the employee and a referral to PAS. PAS will role-play with you the best approach. Be sure to talk to your employee in private. You don't have to wait until the next incident, but it will be helpful to have the following: clear examples of the behavior that is concerning, its impact on others and work productivity, and what changes you would like to see. The employee is likely aware of his explosive style because others outside of work have either remarked about it or been victims of it. Coworkers should be discouraged from finding this behavior as a source of entertainment, including taunting the worker. Employees with explosive rage can act with violence while feeling detached from their ability to control their behavior.

No one wants a cranky supervisor. Sometimes my mood is not the most pleasant. Are there any tricks or techniques for improving my mood so I can enjoy work more and engage with employees more effectively?

There are techniques for changing your mood. A frequent need to improve your mood could be a sign of depression or another medical condition. In this case, visit Personal Assistance Service for an assessment to see whether there are other steps worth considering. Here are a few quick tips:

  • Exercise regularly. It will influence your mood to keep it more positive.
  • Feel an undesirable mood coming on? Go for a short "exercise snack," a 10-to-15-minute walk outside or in a new environment.
  • Sit quietly, and for five minutes, imagine some activity you experience great pleasure in doing, such as fishing, gardening, hiking, or playing with grandchildren. This will influence a more positive mood, and it helps you keep life in perspective.

Moods are related to subtle negative "self-talk." Your mood can change as you change your inner dialogue. You will notice an improved effect with practice. Make an appointment with PAS if you remain concerned about the need to alter your mood, chronic feelings of irritability, or a communication style that does not facilitate a positive relationship with your employees.