Question: Since becoming the office manager for a large medical practice, I have received numerous complaints about one member of my staff. Several people have told me that "Tricia," our front desk supervisor, frequently makes harsh and demeaning comments to employees and even speaks sharply to patients.
Tricia has worked in the office longer than anyone else, so she is knowledgeable about policies and procedures. Nevertheless, I'm beginning to think she's a liability, because everyone seems to walk on eggshells around her. How can I tactfully suggest to Tricia that she needs to improve her working relationships?
Answer: Telling a friend that her outfit is unflattering requires tact, but telling a rogue supervisor that she is out of line requires candor and conviction. As Tricia's boss, you have both the right and the obligation to insure that she exhibits appropriate professional behavior.
Based on the recent deluge of complaints, your predecessor apparently abdicated all managerial responsibility and allowed Tricia to do whatever she pleased. Now that this wimpy manager has departed, Tricia's colleagues are obviously hoping you will be the one who finally holds her accountable.
As soon as possible, therefore, you must advise Tricia that rude and insulting remarks are not acceptable. From now on, she is expected to be courteous and respectful during all workplace interactions.
If you find that she is unable to make this shift, then there is no place for her in a medical practice.
Marie G. McIntyre is a workplace coach. Visit www.yourofficecoach.com