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Dec 18 2017

Workplace Issues – What To Do


Dealing with a workplace issue? It’s inevitable. Even in the healthiest work environments, problems can crop up around responsibilities, communication, conflicting personalities, and more.

To handle these situations with grace and as little stress as possible — and more importantly, to find a solution — you need to know the best way to respond.

Some problems necessitate going to HR. Others can be addressed by talking to your boss. Still others is having a check-in with your coworkers.

1. If it’s your colleague…

You have two avenues of recourse. The right response depends on the degree of your coworker’s negative behavior. Is it annoying, like they constantly play loud music in their cubicle, making it hard for you to concentrate? Or is it seriously detrimental, like they use rude and demeaning language with you when they’re upset?

Try to resolve irritating behavior by speaking directly with your colleague. Be professional, matter-of-fact, and neutral. For example, you might say, “Mark, I’m a big Radiohead fan too, but I can’t focus when you play music during the work day. I’d appreciate if you either listened with headphones or turned it way down.”

This approach should be enough to fix the issue and gives your colleague a chance to change without “tattling” on them. If they don’t, then you can involve your boss.

However, if your team member is putting the company’s reputation or success on the line, or causing a hostile workplace for you or others, go directly to your supervisor. Give a clear, detailed, factual description of what’s going on, with dates and documentation if possible. You want to shut down this behavior as quickly as you can; plus, you need the added authority of your boss.

2. If it’s your manager…

Bosses aren’t perfect. Sometimes, they’re actually quite flawed. In this case, you have three potential ways to respond.

First, how responsive is your supervisor to constructive feedback? If he or she usually takes it well, speak with them about the problem. Try not to point the finger; instead, give them some insight into your perspective and then brainstorm solutions.

But if your boss easily gets defensive, or their behavior is truly over the line, raising the problem with them might not be the best idea. Document the problem — i.e., “December 4th: Boss yelled at my team in meeting and called us ‘lazy,’ ‘incompetent,’ and ‘useless.’”

Then, schedule a meeting with your boss’s boss or the HR department. If you know the former fairly well and trust them, take that route. But if you usually never interact with them, or suspect they enable your manager’s bad behavior, report it to HR instead.

One note: HR isn’t typically meant to handle interpersonal conflicts. They’re your best bet when you’re faced with harassment, discrimination, illegal activity, and abuse. Think about where your issue fits in this list before escalating it to HR — because you don’t want to simply be sent back to your boss.

Next time you’re in the midst of a professional conflict, use these tips to resolve it as quickly and smoothly as possible.

About Signature Consultants, LLC

Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Signature Consultants was established in 1997 with a singular focus: to provide clients and consultants with superior staffing solutions. For the ninth consecutive year, Signature was voted as one of the “Best Staffing Firms to Work For” and is named the 15th Largest IT Staffing Firm in the United States (source: Staffing Industry Analysts). With 29 locations throughout North America, Signature annually deploys thousands of consultants to support, run, and manage their clients’ technology needs. Signature offers IT staffing, consulting, managed solutions, and direct placement services. For more information on the company, please visit https://www.sigconsult.com. Signature Consultants is the parent company to Hunter Hollis and Madison Gunn.

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