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Soft Skills are very important in the workplace. Understanding the dynamics of personal interactions and the potential pitfalls of mishandling situations is a vital aspect of developing your interpersonal skills and progressing your career.
In these pages, we look at communication issues related to:
Management and Leadership
Conflict Resolution; and
Interactions between staff and colleagues
Dealing with staff and colleagues in work in a polite and respectful manner is part and parcel of developing good interpersonal and professional relationships. Building such relationships is a proven way to achieve success and satisfaction in work, and with your career in general. People respond well to respect, but in management, it must be balanced with assertiveness and confidence. You cannot be afraid to tell your employees that you’re not happy with their performance, or that you want them to work harder. Likewise, as an employee, you need to develop good relationships with your colleagues if you are to enjoy your work and perform well overall.
We’ll begin with the language of leadership. Maintaining a balance between respect and authority is difficult, and employees generally respond very badly to rude or impolite language. Here are some ways of dealing with troublesome staff without sounding too aggressive:
Why not try…?
*Use the Present Continuous (+ing) with ‘Would you mind…’
Of course, it’s possible that demotivated staff (or just lazy staff!) will sit around doing nothing when there is plenty of work to be done. Keep in mind that you might not be aware of the real reason someone isn’t working or following your instructions. There could be personal reasons for their poor performance or lack of motivation that need to be dealt with tactfully and professionally. These options will help you to be direct without seeming rude or pushy. This is all about asserting your authority without going on the offensive:
Why not try…?
You’re too slow!
Why aren’t you working?
You’re getting worse at your job.
When an employee eventually sits in front of you for their Performance Review, their poor performance and their drop in productivity must be addressed. There can be many reasons productivity drops amongst your employees - low wages, poor morale, internal conflict, and so on. It’s important not to make the situation worse by coming down like a ton of bricks on your employee(s). Instead, you need to use ‘diplomatic’ language to soften the blow when giving out or redressing someone who works for you. Here are some ways to say what you want without overtly insulting or upsetting your employee(s):
Why not try…?
You’re no good at your job!
We don’t want you here!
You were already shown how to do this!
This is so easy to do! Why can’t you do it?