Comstock's magazine 0119 - January 2019 - Page 25

you as more of an authority figure than she does her boss — that’s why she came to you for a raise instead of her manag- er. So, fixing the managing relationship will probably fix the employee problem. You need to sit down with the man- ager and challenge her assertion that reining in this employee will create a toxic environment. Not reining her in creates the toxic environment. Performance improvement plans only create problems when perfor- mance doesn’t need to improve. That’s not the situation here. You have a super dramatic, time-sucking, ineffective em- ployee who creates a toxic environment. When she doesn’t do her work, other employees have to pick up the slack. That is unpleasant for the other employ- ees. When her manager fails to correct that behavior and other employees see this, that creates a toxic environment. Even if other employees aren’t com- plaining, they are experiencing nega- tive consequences. When she creates distractions with her drama, she takes away from every- one’s ability to be productive. If people can’t do their jobs, and there’s an ob- vious cause (the drama queen), fixing these problems won’t create a toxic en- vironment. It will reduce the toxicity. You say the employees think there is a toxic environment, and they’re right. There is one: Managers are unwilling to deal with the source of drama, which means they ignore all sorts of problems. So, you need to coach the manag- ers on how to handle the employees. Explain that discipline and negative feedback aren’t bad things; they are absolutely necessary for a successful business. Offer managers (specifically her manager, but it seems all managers need help) the training and coaching they need. Managers need to know how to give and document feedback. When you have an employee like this one, who de- nies being told anything, it’s not good enough to just offer a verbal correction. All managers should follow up every discussion with an email documenting what was discussed. And you need to step out of the “of- fice mom” role. You may be the older, experienced person but — unless you’re also the facilities manager — the ants and the misplaced package are not HR problems. When you’re good at fixing things, people come to you for help with fixing. But that doesn’t mean it’s your job to fix everything. It’s up to you to es- tablish boundaries. n Suzanne Lucas spent 10 years in corpo- rate human resources, where she hired, fired, managed the numbers and double- checked with the lawyers. On Twitter @RealEvilHRLady. Have a burning HR question? Email it to: January 201 9 | 25