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Refereeing a gripe? Try this

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

Part of a boss’s job is to listen to complaints about employees from their co-workers. For example, Jane tells you she often has to scramble near deadline because her co-worker Joe seems to drag his feet with the data she needs to complete her task. What should you do?

Although you might be tempted to drag Joe into your office to de­mand a reason for his sluggish performance, hold on. First, you come off as accusatory and immediately put Joe on the spot. He may have a valid reason for his performance, but he feels resentment over the way the whole thing is handled. He may even suspect that his co-worker is unfairly ratting him out, and that you are taking her side. Here is one way to solve the problem:

Listen to Jane’s complaint without agreeing with her. Ask questions so you fully understand her point of view.

Call Joe into your office and tell him Jane has an issue. Then turn to Jane and ask her to explain her problem to him.

Two things will likely happen: (1) Jane will frame her complaint in a more tactful way, and (2) Joe just may see the light on how he is hampering productivity.

What you have is two employees working out their differences diplomatically. They’re just using your office to achieve it.

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