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Chapter 12. Can You Create Win-Win with ... > Looking Under the Rock—Figuring Out ... - Pg. 125

Can You Create Win-Win with These Folks? And How! 125 "Mel, it's probably better for both of us if we work together on this because, look, we're both unhappy with the situation. But I can't work with you unless you want to solve this together. If we can't do that, then the only other option is to get into a disciplinary process, because it's obvious your unhappiness is affecting your work. I don't want to do that unless it's necessary, and I'm sure you don't. Let's try, at least. Let's stop this discussion for now. When we meet on Thursday, I'm going to ask you whether we can work on this together, or whether you want me to start documenting some of your performance difficulties. That way you get to choose which way you want to go." Insider Secrets Believe it or not, it isn't always obvious to angry people where their own best interests lie. That's why it's a good idea to map out the options to someone, to explain the benefits of working something out together, rather than going to war. Then let the person think about it for a while. By providing an either/or situation, Roberta helps Mel think this through. Does Mel really want a war? If not, Mel is likely to come back prepared to talk. Here's some tips for the approach: · Don't wait too long to start. The longer the situation goes on without intervention, the harder it is. · Keep the approach meetings fairly short, particularly if it isn't going well. If it does go well, the meeting can be longer because you don't want to lose momentum. · Consider documenting the meetings or keeping notes with times, dates, and discussion details. If the process fails, you'll need these in any disciplinary process. · Stay cool and focused on solving problems. Don't let the person pull you into arguing. · If the person acts unpleasant or makes personal remarks, refocus him or her on the problem. Here's a statement you can use: "If we both get angry, we can't solve this, and we both lose. Let's get back to the issue." · At the end of the approach meeting, summarize any commitments each of you has made and any ground rules you have agreed to follow. It's a good idea to do this in writing, also. If you follow the tips above, you may be very pleasantly surprised. Some of the apparently nasty people will work with you if you approach them in just the right way. Looking Under the Rock--Figuring Out What's Going On After we've built the groundwork during the approach and have gained a commitment to the process, the next step is to get the employee's perceptions, feelings, and reactions out in the open. If the approach phase is completed easily and in a short time, you can begin this in the same meeting. If the approach has been a struggle, schedule another meeting to do this. Here's what it sounds like. Roberta and Mel meet again. Roberta starts. "Mel, thanks for agreeing to try to work out this problem. I'm confident that we can come up with something that fits for both of us. The first thing I need from you is to find out what's going on. Why are you unhappy? Is it something I can address?"