Management is largely about how you can get the best out of people under your care, but sometimes difficult situations emerge that will test your leadership outside of the commercial purview. Here are some scenarios you may face, and some tips on how to deal with them best.
Management is largely about how you can get the best out of people under your care, but sometimes difficult situations emerge that will test your leadership outside of the commercial purview. Here are some scenarios you may face, and some tips on how to deal with them best
Death in the company
Losing an employee can be devastating – colleagues can be some of the closest people to you, people with whom much of the day is spent. The knock-on effects can be significant. Not only are you and your team suffering emotional repercussions from the loss of someone close to them, but you’re also losing an experienced contributor to your business.
There’s no easy way to conquer grief, but organising group therapy sessions can be an effective way of helping you and your team process the feelings of loss and pain following tragedy.
Life can have any number of unexpected turns. One of your charges may experience a life trauma, from personal injury to a death in their family.
An empathetic attitude is likely the best choice for a manager. Avoid penalising an employee for things outside of their control – the impact for the person already suffering might verge on the cruel, and the consequent reaction from other staff may negatively affect productivity and staff retention.
Bullying and sexual harassment
Claims of sexual harassment and bullying within your workforce are among the most difficult to deal with. Sexual harassment especially requires sensitivity to the victim.
Bringing in an outside mediator may be necessary – while you may feel strongly that both kinds of behaviour run against your beliefs, an outsider might be able to keep your status as an objective authority protected.
Industrial action can be motivated by a number of factors; strike action might be motivated by workers acting in solidarity with a larger group of workers, they might have wage demands, they might be striking due to a perceived unfairness in the workplace, or they may feel that there is an unsafe working environment.
If your workers are unionised, you’ll have had interactions with the shop steward, who represents groups of workers. Making sure that tensions are kept low is your highest priority – negotiations will be more successful if there isn’t a hostile feeling rebounding between the workers and the management structures.
Finding out that one of your employees is stealing from your company can be devastating. Not only is the loss of goods or money a harm to your business, but you’re obliged to investigate and possibly terminate the employment of someone that you’ve come to trust. Depending on the size and seriousness of the crime, you may need to involve the police.
Sorting out these situations requires that you have the burden of proof on your side – false or under-proven accusations can backfire. Discretion must be applied too to the involvement of the police in criminal matters such as this – the employee may have been caught up in an impossible situation, or the theft may have been motivated by greed.
Though your primary focus in all these cases is the effect that they have on those under your charge, you ought not to dismiss your own well-being. Having to take the lead requires showing strength of character, especially decisiveness and compassion, but can add unusual stress. In promoting your strong persona, you may neglect your own emotional needs. Ensure that you are taking care of yourself as much as you are taking care of the well-being of your employees and clients, or you’ll be neglecting the well-being of the business.