Dr. Greer has found that using more of the term “I” and less of “you” is beneficial. For example, when confronting an employee about tardiness, he may say, “I noticed that several times you were not able to get to work on time. Is there a problem with your transportation?” Making the issues seem more like an enhancement toward improved work flow and less accusatory will improve receptiveness.
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Explore This IssueOctober 2015
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7 Practical Applications
Below, experts provide advice on how to handle seven situations that require giving constructive criticism. The experts include Dr. Greer; Mr. Gallagher; Ms. Selby Long; Elana M. Oberstein, MD, MPH, FACR, practicing rheumatologist, Arthritis and Rheumatic Disease Specialties, Miami; Sheeja Francis, MD, FACR, rheumatologist, Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, PC, New Windsor, N.Y.; and Lynn Berger, LMHC, NCC, MCC, a career counselor and coach in New York.
Scenario No. 1: Skipping Out Too Soon
An employee who does a good job otherwise often arrives a little late and leaves a little early, leaving others to pick up the slack. She often blames the traffic or the need to pick up her kids. How should you address this situation?
Dr. Greer: I would ask the employee to help me understand the issues she is having with her work hours. I would inquire if it’s a problem with child care or if other issues at home require attention. Then, I’d ask how I could help improve her work hours (if there is some flexibility on my end).
Dr. Oberstein: I would refer to the practice’s employee handbook, which should clearly state staff’s hours of operations. Point out that it’s important that everyone adhere to these hours equally, unless prior written permission is given. Obviously, sudden unexpected accidents or road closures may delay an employee on a rare occasion. However, persistent tardiness is detrimental to the work environment. Every employee should be familiar with these guidelines and be aware of consequences that stem from noncompliance.
Dr. Francis: Discuss possible challenges she may be facing in terms of time. Acknowledge the quality of the employee’s work, while at the same time pointing out how important it is to not leave work behind for others. Giving the employee a chance to explain may also lead to creating a work schedule that may fit both the employee’s personal needs, as well as those of the office.
Scenario No. 2: Chatty Cathy
You’ve noticed that a nurse is a little too talkative about personal stuff with patients. What should you say to her?