Monday, July 31, 2000

Avoiding workplace discord

By Jerry Langdon
Gannett News Service

        It's important for both management and employees to make an effort to avoid workplace conflicts, according to, an Internet site about legal issues.

        Management should try to keep communications with employees positive and open, according to the Web site. In doing so, legal conflicts such as wrongful termination and hostile work environment claims might be avoided.

        Among its suggestions for employers:

        • Give timely, informal feedback. Don't wait for an official evaluation.

        • Provide reviews. Employees need to know what they're doing right and what needs improvement. Many disgruntled workers' primary complaint is that their employer neglected to keep regularly scheduled evaluations.

        • Keep interaction positive. Be constructive. Deal with issues before they become problems. Avoid dramatic showdowns.

        • Praise. Complimenting a job well done can boost productivity and morale.

        • Imagine yourself as the recipient of your message. Employees may be less willing to pursue grudges if managers express even bad news with tact and sympathy. Make meanings clear initially to avoid misunderstandings.

        On the other hand, employees should consider that how they deal with their workplace environment can affect their career path. Suggestions for employees:

        • Seek feedback. Ask questions to discover whether your projects are progressing as expected.

        • Look ahead. If it looks as if the company has plans that don't involve you, prepare. Don't wait for the ax to fall.

        • Keep the boss happy. Flattery isn't necessary, but respect is appreciated.

        • Keep evaluations in perspective. Use them as an opportunity to make changes, but keep in mind they're just one opinion.

        • Trust your instincts. Be prepared to leave if working harmoniously with supervisors or co-workers is impossible. It is better to leave on your own terms.


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