Join Fred Kofman for an in-depth discussion in this video Angeli's story, part of Fred Kofman on Managing Conflict.
- So let's look at a conflict situation where Angeli is dealing with an employee who seems to be resisting, and how part of this resistance stems from the fact that she's stating the purpose as unilateral control. I am right, you are wrong, and you need to do what I tell you. - My name is Angeli and I'm the manager for Employee Health and Safety at a hospital here in southern California. A difficult, or challenging conversation, or management issue that I've had recently has been an employee who has a different perception of her work ability than what I perceive her work ability to be, and giving that coaching, and giving that expectation of how I would like her performance to increase when she thinks that everything's going well, is a difficult conversation.
So, when she's at work, everything seems to be going okay because she has her own workflow, and her daily tasks, and she gets those completed, but the times when somewhen else needs to step into her role. Even just one sick day, anybody coming in to try to cover her position is difficult because of her organizational style doesn't seem to match anybody else's organizational style. She knows what's in all of her piles. She knows what's in all of her drawers, but there's no rhyme or reason to where things are.
She wants to please people but when you approach her with specific suggestions of how to organize her day she gets very defensive and things will become, "you know I can't reorganize because it's so busy, "I can't reorganize because I just have to "get these tasks done. I just can't do "anything more than what I'm doing." And the manager before me, her feedback to this particular employee, was everything was always positive.
- Can we come up with a name, I mean just a ficticious name. - Yeah, well, we'll call her Alice. - [Man] Alice? - [Angeli] Yeah. - [Man] Okay, so it's a she, Alex. - Yes, it's a she. - Okay, so let's think about Alice. If you were going to sit down with her what would you say, like, I'd like to be Alice, I'd like to understand if I was totally open to listening to you, if I wanted to solve the problem, so speak to me with the truth, not in an aggressive way, but the truth, what do you need, why do you need it.
- So I'm asking you? - [Man] Yeah, I'm Alice. - [Angeli] Yeah. - [Man] And you're Angeli. - [Angeli] Yeah. - [Man] And you're asking me, I'd say, "Angeli, you said you had a few ideas "on how we could work better together, "or some things I could do that would be better." - Right. So, please tell me what would you like? - So, the conversation that I've had with her before has been, "You know, I've noticed that you're day is very scattered, and harried, and I've heard you say that you don't have a lot of time to do anything over and above, and what I want to make sure is that you have the right tools to do your job.
Do you feel confident that everything that you need to do in a day is done? - Okay. Good, so I'm listening. As Alice, I would feel a little defensive now because there are a lot of things you have said, which I may agree with, but the way you said them to me put me on the back foot, like you're day is harried and scattered, and things like that, which, regardless of the accuracy, are statements that I would feel compelled to defend.
- Okay, mhm. - [Man] I mean, I don't know if Alice is like this, but I would be like, "Oh I would have to take a breath.". To start this conversation there's a high bar, I have to acknowledge that I am not working very well, and that's a hard thing for most people to accept so that makes it difficult.
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