4 Step guide to managing an office full of emotions 3


Hiring a manger to take on tasks and implement working solutions, can be a somewhat of a crucial procedure. As an HR, you basically need to ensure that you can instruct the basics to an employee. For some this may be easy, but the office manager is the life blood of the company. Failed minor details, can lead to major mishaps, and this all on the watch of the office employee.

Set the precedent

Do not allow your office to intimidate you and avoid office politics at all cost. No office environment will ever be perfect, because of the many different personalities. Set the tone of the company by establishing a culture of sincere honesty and fairness. The job description of all employees never indicated that lying and backstabbing are required skills. The company values should match your own. If you can’t change it, then move along.

Nip bad politics in the bud

Whenever there is a whiff of negative social interaction in the air, step in and take immediate action. Getting the two parties together to talk about their issues is the only solution to get rid of unsavoury office conflict. In the long run, the business might suffer, and it’s up to you to prevent that from happening. Handling conflict isn’t something you’re taught in PA courses, it’s a skill that needs to be developed over time.

Let it slide now and then, but know when to take action

The moment an employee has been emotionally hurt by his or her colleague or when that employee is made to look bad, they are intruding on that person’s chances of career advancement. At any given stage of such an occurrence, you should intervene. Those who practice destructive office politics like to do their work in the shadows, hiding behind others, should also be seen to. Call out any bad practices and then encounter them. Don’t allow rumours and innuendo to grow and fester–cut them off at the pass every time.

Be inquisitive and attentive

When you get to the root of the problem in the office you will often find that it started with an immense fear of losing something or looking bad. Even the desire for more power can drive people to unscrupulous behaviour.  

Author of The Successful Soloist, Marla Tabaka says, “As a leader, you must take a curious and mindful stance, rather than jump to conclusions or judge the individuals involved. Ask questions that will reveal their fears and put on your coach hat. Listen attentively to help both parties feel heard and validated. Once you understand their goals and concerns, agree to a joint course of action.”

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3 thoughts on “4 Step guide to managing an office full of emotions

  • Brian V Moore

    Thanks Chantel. 

    This is great advice for those who manage people – however it does leave them and their people, in a very stressful place. It is a bit like trying to herd chickens – they will all run in their own direction.

    The most powerful way to manage workplace relationships is to lead your people – to manage themselves and the team. This is achieved through empowering them to create their own relationship values and then regularly managing their own interactions – based upon their values.

    This takes the stress off the team and you, as a a manager. And it more importantly uplifts your team in terms of accountability, responsibility and ownership. You don’t need to manage grown-up children – you need to guide them to lead their own lives and relationships.

    Powerful, simple and respectful.

    Here is a case study…

    http://www.conflict-resolution.co.za/conflict-case-studies/

  • Steve Short

    While it is food for thought Chantel, it all sounds rather impersonal and evidences ‘Theory X’ style leadership.  When we abdicate leadership to ‘procedure’ and ‘instruct’ instead of lead, we take the HUMAN out of HR.  AND then that we manage people like commodities instead of people.  

    Each person brings his/own unique EI and talents into the workplace.  When we begin to understand what makes people tick, we can apply participative leadership. IMHO Conflict management CAN be learnt… but then you need teachers who understand and apply a constructavist approach.   

  • Bulie Ndodana

    Thank you for this post! Many offices are very vulnerable to emotions and leadership is , in most cases, unable or unwilling to handle such situations without taking sides. Government working environments are the worst and the bottom line employees get fractured and bruised on a daily basis as supervisors take sides with their ‘favourites’.