Every workplace has them, that annoying co-worker. But how do you address the issue without alienating the person? While every situation is different, there are three tried-and-true Total Quality Key Principles to use in effective interaction.
Maintain or enhance self-esteem of others.
When talking with a co-worker about a sensitive topic, you want to identify a private location for the discussion behind closed doors. You want to thank the individual for meeting with you and open up the conversation with the reason for the conversation. “The reason for our conversation is I need your help in solving a concern.” Notice the use of an “I” statement and “needing their help?” You set the tone for engaging them in solving the problem.
Is there a business-related impact? If so, that business-related decision needs to be outlined. “There have been complaints on the volume of your voice when you’re talking with your customers which interrupts our other customer service agents from hearing their customers.” Notice that it provides specific information on the concern.
Listen and Respond with Empathy.
Allow some silence for the person to respond to the statement. You may want to ask for related information and help in understanding their position. “Is your headphone working properly for you?” There may be times where the co-worker is unaware that they have a hearing problem in which case you’ve just brought something to their attention.
Remember to respond with empathy. The idea is not to embarrass or focus on who is wrong or right but to focus on solving the problem.
Ask for Help in Solving the Problem.
You want to engage them in solving the problem. Once the problem has been identified, you might ask, “What solutions or ideas can you think of that would improve the quality of the customer’s experience?” or “What are the next steps?” Allow enough silence for them to come up with some ideas. If they don’t know, you may have some suggestions. “What about…..” Agree on the actions by deciding on who will do what and when.
It may be as simple as keeping a sticky note at the cubes reminding people to be quiet. If the employee needs their hearing checked, you may have just brought it to the surface for them but ultimately they have the responsibility to address it.
In closing the conversation, you may request another follow up meeting to check progress and to follow up on the action items each of you had on the list.
If they are part of developing the solution, they will naturally have more buy in to it. Also, they may even appreciate your help in bringing something to their attention.
Remember to express appreciation when the concern has been addressed. Positive reinforcement helps to close the loop and encourage that changed behavior.
Lisa Mininni is the best-selling author of Me, Myself, and Why? The Secrets to Navigating Change (www.memyselfandwhy.com). She is an expert on navigating change, effective and evolutionary leadership, and organizational effectiveness. She is passionate about helping others through her writing, speaking, and coaching and has been dubbed the "Transformation Architect" by professional associations and companies that have used her unique blueprint for change.
Lisa is President of Excellerate Associates, an organizational consulting and developmental coaching company. As a master facilitator, Lisa helps people help themselves as they learn how to align their uniqueness with the work they do, break free from the frustrations of transformation, and take control of their lives and careers. For more information on how Lisa can help you, visit her at http://www.excellerateassociates.com.