When Flexibility Meets Exploitation

There will always be difficult people to deal with at work, people who are unreasonable or annoying. They could be bosses, co-workers, or employees. You may, for example, be a supervisor with an employee who tries to take advantage of flexible scheduling by making unreasonable demands. If you are a supervisor who has one of these unreasonable people on your payroll, how is it best to deal with them? Here are a few tips.

Stay calm.

You need to control your emotions when dealing with the person. If you become angry or agitated, you will just escalate the situation, making it more tense than it has to be. Keep things on a calm and rational footing.

Also, by controlling your emotions, you are able to think more clearly in confronting the problem.

Focus on the problem, not the person.

If your employee is making what you consider to be an unreasonable demand, consider the issue first before reacting. Try looking at it from different angles. Are there other interpretations that could make it seem more reasonable? Is it more of a misunderstanding? Question the employee to get more information about the issue and to understand it and the motivation behind it better. Try putting yourself in the employee’s place to see what might be motivating them.

If the worker tries to aim accusations or lay blame for a problem on you or at the company, redirect it back at the individual by focusing on the issue as it relates to the person.

Lead the conversation rather than follow.

The employee might ramble on about what is wrong and continue making demands, taking over the conversation. You should regain control of the conversation. This can often be done by questioning the employee to redirect the conversation.

Be fair but firm in your decision.

Once you have considered the issue, and satisfied yourself that you have reached a reasonable decision, communicate it simply and directly to the employee, explaining your reasoning.

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