In this world, nothing is certain except for death and taxes — oh, and drama. Inside every office is a melting pot full of valuable skill sets and personalities that employees bring to the table, but there’s also so much more beneath the surface. From interpersonal relationships at the office to drama outside of the 9-5, you name it and every office has got some variation of workplace issues.
Whether personal or professional, some issues have a way of creeping in to the office and if they aren’t addressed they can do some serious damage to those caught in the crossfire. If you’re not sure how to handle these concerns, here’s a look at simple ways you can address sensitive topics.
Encourage regular, open communication
Imagine a situation where an employee is struggling to get along with a coworker and knows the trouble has escalated to the point of needing someone to intervene. If they worked in an office where management was impossible to reach, the employee would feel discouraged and trapped with the feeling bottled up deep inside.
Nobody wants to have that environment embody their business, so make it your mission to implement an open door policy. Encourage your staff to communicate with you on a regular basis and reach out to them for check-ins on their lives. For conversations that are difficult to have, listen and be open to what they have to say to make the process easier. People communicate when they feel safe, so focus on establishing a safe environment where they are able to share their needs and issues for you to understand.
At the core, businesses want their team members to feel comfortable being who they are at work and happy to be there. However, in order to understand sensitive workplace issues, it’s important that the employees are as honest as possible.
Honesty, though not always easy to discuss aloud, is critical to having successful big talks about problems in the office. When you’re honest, the problem does get resolved. Whatever the issue is — whether it’s being late to work, not responding to customers, interpersonal issues between employees, failure to come to work regularly, poor performance, or being too noisy — when you are open, honest, and kind, everything can get worked out.
Try to drop it at the door (if you can)
While many advise leaving drama outside before going to work, this is often easier said than done as certain workplace issues can sometimes worm their way inside. If you have a TV on in the break room that’s playing a live political broadcast on CNN, those viewing it may be inclined to start up a heated debate.
Try to avoid discussing topics that have the potential to get heated in the office. Political discussion, as well as bringing up other issues like money or religion, can irritate work relationships and alienate certain parties. It’s more productive to drop it at the door before starting the work day — after all, we’re here to get work done and ideally get along while doing it.
While drama in the workplace is never welcome, it won’t go away unless you make an effort to listen to it. By encouraging open communication and honesty, you’ll be able to understand it and what’s truly going on — and ultimately this will allow you to better address the needs of your employees.