Most of us are process-driven. It usually starts first thing in the morning with the process we use to get ready in the morning before heading into the office. Once we get to the office, we follow processes for just about everything we do. In the spirit of organization, efficiency, and quality control, we also seek ways to modify and streamline processes to make our lives easier.


As a manager, do you have processes for dealing with people who cause conflict, create problems, throw sand in the gears of getting things done and try to drop all their problems on your desk? People processes do exist and are taught in strong leadership training programs.

Why is this so important to have processes for dealing with people problems? The answer is simple: more than 90 percent of leaders’ problems originate from people. People create conflict (hence the phrase, it takes two). People don’t live up to our expectations and/or those of their team members. And people look out for themselves as they are in a constant pursuit to get their individual needs met.

Some of the best and most effective managers have been able to adopt and practice techniques for dealing with people problems by following proven processes.

Following are just a few of those processes:

  1. When people bring us their problems: Seasoned managers know how to keep the burden of problems on their owner. These managers understand that their role is to facilitate a process for solving problems – not taking ownership of them. Keep in mind that the best person to solve a problem is the person who owns the problem.
  2. Confronting unacceptable behaviors: Use of Confrontive I-Messages is both a skill and a process for confronting problems head on, minimizing the risk of the person being confronted defensively striking back with excuses in defense. It is a skill where the goal is to achieve a win-win outcome where the conversation ends amicably, and ideally, on a friendly note. In its conclusion, the confronter and the receiver both get their needs met.
  3. Maximizing the effectiveness of meeting time: If meetings are to be productive, cost-effective and valuable, meeting leaders must adopt a process to keep them both focused and on task. In a nutshell, meetings need to have an agenda and must end with conclusions on who is doing what and by when. This approach ensures that the meeting doesn’t take wild turns into a venting session.

Most importantly, when people problems do arise, leaders must acknowledge that there is a problem and in turn must address the problem immediately. It is the quickest way to define boundaries, set expectations and earn respect.

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Guest contributor Scott Seroka is an expert in Brand Development and Strategic Communications. He has taken leadership-training courses through Gordon Training International and writes for their blog.

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