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Friday, September 4, 2009

Check those personal problems at the door

Personal problems are something that every person has to deal with. Everyone has issues in his or her personal lives that can take up some or all of our free time: kids, relationships, money, health, etc. The rub comes when people start bringing their baggage to work.

For managers, what do you do when your people start bringing their personal problems to work? Your team members are paid to come to work...AND WORK, not sit around whining and complaining about the problems in their lives. They are supposed to focus and be productive. You've seen what it can do to an office or organization:
  • Distract from work
  • Depress the whole office
  • Suck other people into the problems
As bosses, you have every right to expect your folks to focus on their duties while you're paying them. What can you do to keep personal problems from changing the atmosphere at work? You're not a heartless beast who cares nothing for those around you, so what do you do? Some suggestions I've heard are to:
  • Set expectations up front (leave your problems at the door)
  • Listen (like during 1:1 sessions)
  • Help find counseling
  • Provide time off, if necessary, to deal with the issues
I have two questions for you:

What other issues are caused by people bringing their personal problems to work?
What ways can bosses help their people while still completing the mission and ensuring customer care doesn't slip?

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