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Chapter 4. Why Me, Lord, Why Me?—The Man... > It's in Your Self-Interest - Pg. 41

Why Me, Lord, Why Me?--The Manager's Burden 41 This Won't Work! People can sue anyone for just about anything these days. The most risk involves management inaction re- garding sexual harassment and toxic work environments. If you are in doubt about your legal responsibilities, consult an expert. The law attributes certain extra responsibilities to management. Apart from the legal risk factor (which should be enough to encourage you to take on your respon- sibilities), when you allow difficult people to run roughshod in your organization, you indirectly cause harm to those who work for you. There is at least some moral obligation to use your additional power and influence as a manager to protect staff from difficult people. Of course, there is the practical issue. If you allow difficult people free rein and don't execute your responsibilities, chances are that productivity will drop. Staff may leave and your turnover statistics will be high. Customer service may worsen. And guess who is accountable to the brass? You. Responsibility for Mediation Chapter 10, "Monkey in the Middle: Mediation and Arbitration," goes into more depth about the management function of mediation. Essentially, mediation refers to a process in which a third party works with two people who are in conflict or cannot settle an issue. The mediator (I call this person the monkey in the middle) is expected to assist in conflict resolution. Employees look to you to solve certain kinds of interpersonal or productivity-related problems. When two people can't get along because one or both people are difficult, who do they come to? Often it's you. You have that extra burden. If you feel that adults should be able to work out their own differences, you're right. However, if they can't and it affects staff productivity or morale or health, then the hot potato falls in your lap. If you refuse to involve yourself in the mediation process when approached, then you lose credibility and will be seen as shirking your responsibilities or as incompetent by your employees and your boss. It's in Your Self-Interest Employee Handboook