December '18

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74 • RV PRO • December 2018 rv-pro.com B U S I N E S S Start with a private conversation. If that doesn't stop it, make it a confer- ence with the manager. If the improper behavior continues, it's a matter of write-ups and progressive discipline. But be clear that drama isn't tolerated. Keeping a Civil Tongue Much has been said lately about our lack of civility. There's an axiom that death and life are in the power of the tongue. It's definitely true in the workplace. Repeating a rumor separates friends. Think of the heart or attitude of a person engaged in gossip. They want appear to be smarter or "in the know." And it's all about them – not the company. Better that your company has a clear under- standing of this, and that the culture and training of your company does not listen to, validate, or participate in gossip and the rumor mill. The 'Short Takes' on Drama What follows are a fe w sets of opposing ideas you can use to recog- nize, diagnose and train against work- place drama. It's not meant to be a complete list. You should, however, get the idea. Focus on facts – not opinions. Opinions have their place. For example, in a brainstorming group session to gather ideas about solving a problem. Still, you should recognize that opinions identifying a perceived problem may not be intended to solve the problem – it may only be the desire to make someone else look bad. There's your drama at work again. In those cases, look to the facts. Ask for the facts. Put the issue on the table and look at it clinically. And use facts to under- stand it – not just opinions. Seek solutions – not excuses. One of the smartest managers I ever worked for called me out for my poor performance one day. He said, "Marzahn, there are two kinds of performance: excuses and results. Which are you going to give me?" I quickly learned not to keep simply informing him about the problem. He already knew those. What he needed – what we all need – was the solutions to the problem. By the way, isn't it interesting that my old boss's caring enough to call me out still impacts my thinking in a positive way to this very day? Be motivated by reason – not emotion. If you have an employee who is constantly telling you how they "feel" about something, odds are they operate from emotion – not reason. I'm sure working from emotion has applica- tion. Perhaps, in the arts. In the dealership business, you'll find it more effective to work and make deci- sions based on reason – not on emo- tion. You may make a reasoned decision to appeal to an emotion during a sales presentation, but it's generally not the best basis for business decisions. Be professional – not personal, in outlook. This pair of ideas goes along with "reason – not emotions." When one of your folks is always making the slightest issue a personal affront, you have a problem. If you have someone who is always in turmoil in their personal life, it is also a problem. It can sap the energy from your business. On the job, our attitude should be from a professional standpoint. Always! Recognizing the difference should be an easy way to identify the sources of drama. Focus on accountability – not blame. If an employee is constantly blaming others, it's a problem. Or should I say, they are a problem. It's one of the things I see too often. Somehow the thought is that if he can blame a problem on someone else, he's off the hook. Find a way to replace that blameful employee with another who is moti- vated by accountability. When everyone expects personal accountability, the game changes for the better. I'm betting that, if you've read this far, you already have a particular employee in mind when it comes to some of the atti- tudes I've described above. My question is: Why would you put up with it? Why would you allow that bad attitude to infect all the others who want to do a good job? Decisions Offering the Best Effect The best possible outcome for the company should be everyone's goal. When there is a conflict, you should ask this: "What is the course of action if I consider what's best for the balance sheet?" I've used that for years. When I make a business decision that's best for the balance sheet, I find I've made a deci- sion that's best for the greatest number of company stakeholders. I didn't say share- holders. I mean rank and file employees, families of employees, as well as manage- ment and ownership. According to the American Manage- ment Association, you will be remem- bered for two things: the problems you solve and the ones you create. The land- scape of a peace-filled life is fruit trees and harvests while the landscape of con- flict is a war-torn and barren wasteland. You get to choose where you live. Have employees talk out conflicts early on to curb workplace drama.

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