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Difficult Employee Situations – Book Review

Perfect Solutions for Difficult Employee Situations by Sid Kemp is a must read for new (and tenured) managers who need to have those difficult conversations with their staff. Knowing what to say, how to say and when to say it can be difficult. Attempting to steer clear of lawsuits or harassment charges, employers are sometimes reluctant to have those much needed conversations. What happens next? The situation spirals out of control and becomes even more difficult than if it had been taken care of immediately.

“Now I’m the one who’s angry.” How many times have you dealt with an employee who did something so outrageous, that you lost your temper? What did you do? Did you start screaming? Did you throw them out of your office? Perfect Solutions provides excellent advice – “slow down and breathe”, “take a walk” and write down your feelings.

Perfect Solutions for Difficult Employee Situations provides an entire chapter on time and punctuality. Do you have employees who are late every day and offer the same excuse? What about employees who take a long lunch break? What about those members of your staff who miss meetings? Kemp defines each of these problem areas, helps the manager find the source and then solve the problem.

Let's examine the employee who takes a long lunch every day. Do you really know what the problem is? Are they just going out to a restaurant that has slow service or is there a personal matter? What if they are running home at lunch time to take care of a child or elderly parent that prevents them from getting back to the office on time? Kemp provides an excellent opening, “We need to talk about your long lunches and their effect on productivity…” The opening line is short and to the point. It focuses on the behavior and not attitude. Once you understand the root of any problem, you then know how to have the conversation.

Not every situation, however, can be fixed with a simple conversation. There are times when additional help is needed because of the nature of the problem. The author talks about the danger signs to look for when the manager may need assistance from Human Resources, a higher up in the organization or legal counsel.

While Perfect Solutions for Difficult Employee Situations is an excellent resource, there are some topics in which the author does fall short on advice. This shortfall leaves the solution open-ended and unresolved. As a result, the manager may not find the answer to their question on how to address some topics. It is, however, a good resource. It is a great starting point for managers to find out “how to say it.”

This book is out on loan from the local library to review.
Perfect Solutions for Difficult Employee
Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition

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