101 Tough Conversations to Have with Employees

A Manager's Guide to Addressing Performance, Conduct, and Discipline Challenges

 101 Tough Conversations to Have with Employees

Author: Paul Falcone
Pub Date: April 2009
Print Edition: $18.95
Print ISBN: 9780814413487
Page Count: 320
Format: Paper or Softback
e-Book ISBN: 9780814413494

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Table of Contents

CONTENTS

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction: The Rules of Engagement 1

PART I: Uncomfortable Workplace Situations

1. Common Managerial and Supervisory Discussions 9

Scenario 1: Mediating Disputes Among Subordinates 9

Scenario 2: Appropriate Responses to Requests to Speak ‘‘Off the Record’’ 13

Scenario 3: Promoting a Neophyte into a First-Time Supervisory Role 15

Scenario 4: New Supervisor Syndrome 18

Scenario 5: Inheriting an Employee with Disciplinary Problems 20

Scenario 6: Stopping Attitude Problems in Their Tracks 23

Scenario 7: Advice Before a Holiday Party or an Offsite Event 24

2. Individual Appearance and Uncomfortable Workplace Dilemmas 28

Scenario 8: Bad Hair Days 29

Scenario 9: Inappropriate Dress 32

Scenario 10: Body Piercing and Body Art 33

Scenario 11: Tattoos 34

Scenario 12: Halitosis (Bad Breath) 36

Scenario 13: Body Odor from Lack of Cleanliness 37

Scenario 14: Body Odor from Suspected Medical Reason 39

3. Cultural and Religious Differences 42

Scenario 15: Inappropriate Display of Religious Icons 43

Scenario 16: Supervisor Proselytizes to Subordinates 47

Scenario 17: Offensive Food Preparation and Spicy Smells 49

Scenario 18: Euphemisms like ‘‘Honey,’’ ‘‘Sweetie,’’ and ‘‘Doll’’ 50

Scenario 19: Speaking Foreign Languages in the Workplace 53

Scenario 20: Inappropriate Display of Sexually Explicit Material 55

Scenario 21: Lack of Understanding of Multicultural Differences 58

PART II: Poor Work Habits and Job Performance Concerns

4. Performance Transgressions 63

Scenario 22: Lack of Quality, Detail, or Efficiency 64

Scenario 23: Lack of Quantity or Speed 66

Scenario 24: Substandard Customer Satisfaction 69

Scenario 25: Lack of Sales Production 71

Scenario 26: Failure to Learn New Material During Training 73

Scenario 27: Acts Resulting in a Loss to the Employer 76

Scenario 28: Failure to Follow Through, or ‘‘Dropping the Ball’’ 78

5. Policy and Procedure Violations 81

Scenario 29: Failure to Adhere to Safety Rules 82

Scenario 30: Excessive Personal Telephone Calls 84

Scenario 31: Excessive Time Spent on the Internet 86

Scenario 32: Unauthorized Use of Company Equipment and Facilities 89

Scenario 33: Working Unauthorized Overtime 91

Scenario 34: Off-Duty Conduct and Moonlighting 94

6. Excessive Absenteeism and Tardiness 98

Scenario 35: Excessive Unscheduled Absence: ‘‘No Fault’’ System 103

Scenario 36: Excessive Unscheduled Absence: ‘‘Excuse-Based’’ System 105

Scenario 37: Patterning Excessive, Unscheduled Absence Around Weekends 107

Scenario 38: Rolling Calendar Year Maneuvers 108

Scenario 39: Excessive Tardiness 110

Scenario 40: Exempt Employees Who Choose to Come and Go as They Please 112

7. Lack of Requisite Skills 115

Scenario 41: Inferior Job Knowledge 116

Scenario 42: Lack of Technical Skills 118

Scenario 43: Inadequate Problem-Solving Skills 121

Scenario 44: Substandard Written Expression 123

Scenario 45: Poor Time Management 125

Scenario 46: Lack of Organization and Neatness 128

PART III: Inappropriate Workplace Behavior and Conduct

8. Sexually Offensive Behavior 135

Scenario 47: Foul Language in the Workplace 136

Scenario 48: E-Mail Misuse 139

Scenario 49: Finding Pornography on an Employee’s Computer 142

Scenario 50: Bullying 144

Scenario 51: Discriminatory Comments or Racial Epithets 147

Scenario 52: Leering 149

Scenario 53: Sexual Harassment Findings (Reverse Harassment) 152

9. Substandard Communication Skills 156

Scenario 54: Tattletales, Gossipmongers, and Snitches 158

Scenario 55: Whiners and Complainers 161

Scenario 56: Requests for Confidential Conversations from Other Supervisors’ Subordinates 163

Scenario 57: Poor Listening Skills 166

Scenario 58: Failure to Communicate Upward 169

Scenario 59: Establishing Effective Staff Meetings 171

10. Personal Style Issues 174

Scenario 60: Suspected Alcoholism or Substance Abuse 174

Scenario 61: Inability to Accept Constructive Criticism 179

Scenario 62: Lack of Sensitivity and Protocol (E-Mail Censuring) 181

Scenario 63: Badgering and Challenging One’s Supervisor 183

Scenario 64: Lack of Teamwork and Relationship-Building Skills 186

Scenario 65: Laziness and Lack of Commitment 188

Scenario 66: Blamers and Excuse Makers 191

Scenario 67: Coworker Jealousy and Employees Who Can’t Let Go of Their Anger 193

Scenario 68: Supremacists—Arrogance and Superior Attitudes 194

11. Leadership Style Challenges and Career Management Obstacles 197

Scenario 69: Stalled Career Syndrome 198

Scenario 70: Unwillingness to Confront Problems Head-On 201

Scenario 71: Staff Motivation Conversations 204

Scenario 72: Protecting Your Company from Legal Liability (Documentation) 207

Scenario 73: Inability to Provide Constructive Criticism 210

Scenario 74: Handling Group Complaints Wisely 212

Scenario 75: Lack of Diversity Awareness 216

Scenario 76: Lack of Leadership 218

PART IV: Corporate Actions

12. Corporate (Intentional) Actions 225

Scenario 77: Probationary Termination 226

Scenario 78: Administering Disciplinary Warnings 229

Scenario 79: Administering Decision-Making Leaves 231

Scenario 80: Termination for Cause (in Conjunction with Progressive Discipline) 235

Scenario 81: Convincing an Employee to Leave Voluntarily When There Are No Progressive Disciplinary Warnings on File 237

Scenario 82: Negotiating a Separation Package When There Are No Progressive Disciplinary Warnings on File 240

13. Corporate (‘‘No Fault’’) Actions 244

Scenario 83: Layoff: Position Elimination—LIFO 245

Scenario 84: Layoff: Position Elimination—Lack of Qualifications 247

Scenario 85: Layoff: Position Elimination—Union Bumping Privileges 250

Scenario 86: Layoff: Position Elimination—Department Closure 254

Scenario 87: Layoff: Position Elimination—Plant Closure (WARN Act) 256

Scenario 88: Follow-Up Discussions with Survivors After Layoffs Occur 258

14. Summary Offenses (Immediate Discharge) 262

Scenario 89: Employee Theft 263

Scenario 90: Selling Proprietary Products on the Internet 265

Scenario 91: Time Card Fraud 268

Scenario 92: Threats of Violence in the Workplace 269

Scenario 93: Sexual Harassment 271

Scenario 94: Falsification of Company Records 274

Scenario 95: Insubordination 276

15. Special Circumstances 280

Scenario 96: Welcoming Back Employees Returning from a Stress Leave of Absence 281

Scenario 97: Dealing with Employees in Crisis: Isolation 285

Scenario 98: Dealing with Employees in Crisis: Suicidal Concerns 288

Scenario 99: Dealing with Employees in Crisis: Homicidal Concerns 290

Scenario 100: Terminating Employees Who Are on Investigatory Leave 292

Scenario 101: Verbally Accepting an Employee’s Resignation 295

Index 299

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