How to Address a Chronically Late Employee and Two Other Tricky Workplace Dilemmas

Your employees aren’t just workers. They’re people. And every person has good days, bad days, and meh days. As people, they also bring what’s happening in their personal lives into their work.

The good news is that dealing with tricky workplace dilemmas requires you to extend some humanity and empathy towards your employees. Here’s how to deal with some of the more delicate workplace dilemmas.

Fight Chronic Lateness with Diplomacy

Everyone is late sometimes. Whether it’s scheduled or unscheduled, it’s part of life as an adult. But everyone knows an employee who is perpetually late.

The worst thing you can do about lateness is to ignore it. It’s both unfair on your punctual employees, and it prevents you from getting to the heart of the problem with the late employee.

Rather than starting with an accusation, give them a chance to explain on their own. You might find they have an explanation, and they just needed you to ask.

If their excuse is a good one, work with them to prevent their tardiness from impacting other employee’s work. Once you try the diplomatic approach, then you can consider punishment. Just make sure it’s constructive. Documenting the issue with HR is often the wakeup call needed.

Practice Empathy with Office Supply Hoarders

Employees who hoard office supplies seem like a trope made for TV. But these situations do occur in the real world.

Hoarding is usually a symptom rather than a condition in itself. There’s often something fuelling the hoarding rather than the other way around.

There’s no way around it. You’ll need to talk to them. Just remember that there’s a difference between being untidy and hoarding. So, don’t use an inflammatory language where it’s not warranted.

Most of all, approach them in a manner free from judgment. There are usually emotional triggers associated with hoarding, so ask with empathy and genuine concern rather than saying, “Hey, what’s up with all the toilet paper under your desk?”

As with lateness, a short conversation will usually reveal what’s happening behind the scenes.

Stand Up for Yourself When Facing a Decision You Believe is Wrong

Every once in a while, you encounter something at work that you disagree with. You have two choices: go against the grain, or take the ‘easy’ road. But the easy path isn’t so easy.

You don’t need to turn standing up for yourself and your team into a battle.

Rather than becoming defensive, you can share your preferred solution. It works because it avoids an argument and instead directs your conversation towards the ideal change. It also acknowledges the other person’s ideas, which is a demonstration of empathy and humility.

A Little Empathy Goes a Long Way

Very often, some of the toughest situations that come up at work can be traced back to something happening in your team’s personal lives. The best way to support your workers and deal with tricky dilemmas is to treat them with empathy and dignity.

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