Amy Canaday:
I am Amy Canaday, the business, director of business development for CollectionCenter. I’m excited to be here today with all of you. I appreciate you joining our session. I would like for today to be interactive. So as Kelsey mentioned, please feel free to use the chatbox, to provide input or ask questions as we go along. Let’s go ahead and take a look at what we’re going to cover today. Please tell me that none of you have ever had this happened in your office over the years. I’ve seen it come close, but never do a full-on knock-down-drag-out fight. Thank goodness. But workplace drama is bound to happen. In this session today, we’ll focus on ways that you can reduce workplace drama and increase morale. As you grow your leadership skills. What are the five managers’ mistakes that we as managers make that contribute to workplace drama? One, failing to develop new leaders, two, avoiding performance conversations, three, taking things personally, four, making assumptions, and five, using accountability the wrong way. We’ll take a deeper look at each of these mistakes today. Addressing these key areas can reduce turnover and time spent dealing with personnel issues. So with that, let’s go ahead and dive in.

Amy Canaday:
Number one is inadequate development. Think about when you, yourself became a new leader. Did you have a time in which you felt like you were experiencing an identity crisis? I know that I certainly did. A contributing factor to that is that new leaders haven’t really had the time or development necessary to identify with the new role that they’ve been assigned to. And as a result, new leaders, and even some of us experience one can definitely make some rookie mistakes. So let’s take a look at a couple of those mistakes. The first one is trying to be the best friend, that open door that’s created when you’re trying to be the friend soon ends up becoming a revolving door. The end result is that the manager has to work around the clock to get work done, and the employees become codependent instead of empowered. Any of you ever feel that you’ve made that mistake at one point or another?

Amy Canaday:
I know that I have. It’s not uncommon that we spend more time with our coworkers than we do with our friends, with family. Therefore, it’s also not uncommon that we sometimes develop strong relationships and friendships with some of our coworkers. Some of my personal closest friends are some of my coworkers and we really have to set boundaries between our personal relationship and our work relationship. We’ve made a vow not to engage in a lot of personal discussions at work to distract from what we’re there to do. And we also don’t talk about work when we have a girls’ night out and we’ve also made a commitment to one another to really be forthcoming and honest in the workplace and have those difficult decisions even, or difficult, difficult discussions. Even when we don’t see eye to eye on an issue. You’ve got to make sure that you’re going to draw that line in the sand.

Amy Canaday:
I also think it’s important that as leaders, you realize it’s your job to lead, not to get everybody to necessarily like you. Respect you, yes. And you’ll do that by getting them to do what you want them to do because they want to do it for you. There’s a great article that I actually found on this topic, I’m going to include it in the chatbox here for you guys real quick. This is about friendships in the workplace. Um, it’s actually titled why best leaders don’t care about be your friends. So I included that there, if you miss the link in the chatbox, and are interested in looking at that article, please feel free to reach out to me afterward, and I can email you the link also. The second mistake that we make in inadequate development, comes with trying to lay down the hammer and show who is boss. Have any of you worked under this type of leader before?

Amy Canaday:
If so, you know what to think about, ask yourself what type of workplace drama was created as a result? Feel free to share you know, any, any examples of that in the chatbox as I continue along. But this approach may work in the short term because staff may be afraid of getting yelled at or fired getting in trouble for something, but it’s not going to work in the longterm. You guys, people will lose respect for this type of leader. And as a result, they will, more than likely only meet the minimum expectations that have been set for them, but not really be motivated to exceed those expectations. This approach will also limit creativity because your employees are afraid to think outside the box. They don’t want to take new risks or try new things for fear of those being shut down. The end result here is that this approach can really lead to a toxic work environment.

Amy Canaday:
And I promise you guys, a toxic work environment is going to lead to workplace drama. My point is neither one of these ways work, but because the new manager may not have all of their skills developed, they can be left, floundering and have a hard time finding that middle ground. But with that said, it’s important that you teach your up-and-coming leaders and remind yourself as well, the right way to lead. Advise them and remind yourself to avoid these two approaches. The next mistake that we make is avoiding performance conversations. Conversations about performance are avoided for many reasons, including lack of confidence. Maybe the manager might be afraid that the employee is going to cry. I’ve had this happen many times and I used to dread having conversations with an employee that knew was going to cry. My boss taught me a really valuable lesson in several of my own crying conversations because I’ve had those.

Amy Canaday:
And what he taught me was it’s okay to cry. It doesn’t change the fact that that conversation needs to happen. It just means that you should have a Kleenex ready and know that that conversation might take a little bit longer and that’s okay. Maybe the manager is afraid of blowing up themselves. I’ve also been there, where I’ve been so upset by something that took place. I wanted to meet that employee at the flagpole at three o’clock. In a situation like this, I’ve had several approaches I’ve used to address it. First of all, I remind myself that a hostile work environment is a lawsuit just waiting to happen. So I won’t be meeting anybody at the flagpole at three o’clock. The other approach that I’ve taken is to go to another supervisor and seek different perspectives on how to handle the situation, using those resources that we have with the other leaders in our office. Or maybe I’d have to give it the 24-hour rule.

Amy Canaday:
What I mean by this, is this is where you give yourself 24 hours to ponder the situation. Perhaps seek some input and then consider your action from there. That’s sort of a cooling-off period. But I will caution you, don’t let it go any longer than that, because if you do some of the behaviors going to be forgotten, and it’s not going to have the same impact that it needs to. Another reason that the manager is afraid, the employee will lead the conversation off course. You’ve probably all been there too. Maybe they want to start deflecting by telling you, well, Susie just said the same thing last week. She didn’t get in trouble. And that’s when you really have to remind the employee that this discussion is about them. And just as Susie, wouldn’t be privy to this conversation you’re having with them. They wouldn’t be privy to any conversations that you may have had with Susie last week. Side note on the image here guys, I’ve always been told to leave politics out of presentations.

New Speaker:
But this was really the best and most appropriate image that I could find to illustrate losing control of a conversation. For any of you, not sure who that is. This is Chris Wallace. He was the guy who moderated the first presidential debate for the 2020 election. And if you missed it, it was too weak. No one had control in that conversation. So I felt it was a really good example of what not to do. But back to back to the mistake, by not focusing the conversation on the end result, or by simply avoiding the conversation altogether, you can really set yourself and your employee up for failure. When faced with these types of situations, reach out to your peers. Like I mentioned, and ask for guidance. You guys can even call me up. I’m happy to help during my career here and throughout my role in human resources, I’ve had to deal with a variety of tough conversations.

Amy Canaday:
But it’s okay to go into performance conversations with notes to reference. Doing so can really help ensure that you cover everything that needs to be covered. Keep the conversation on track and help provide you with a sense of competence in that conversation. Keep in mind that regardless of how the conversation goes, it needs to happen to prevent those issues from continuing to happen in the future. It can be all too easy to put off those unpleasant confrontations, even once you have a plan in place, but keep in mind that unchecked workplace drama can have, unending consequences in your office. Aside from creating a toxic team environment where complaining and excuses become contagious and good employees quit or lose hope, the business will eventually also suffer from lost productivity, increased legal dangers, loss of reputation, and even loss of sanity. So make sure you guys are having those conversations.

Amy Canaday:
The third mistake that we’re going to touch on today is taking things personally. Poor performers cause a lot of problems for managers and because the conversations are avoided the performance, usually continues to worsen. As managers, we might start to take those things personally. I have three examples of problems that we as managers have likely all faced at one point or another. And I have been guilty of taking all three of these personally myself, which led to resentment, which we’re also going to talk about today. So let’s take a look at some of those examples. The first one I have for you guys is Jeanie and Jeanie is 15 minutes late. Every single day, I get frustrated because I’m constantly having to take the time to document her tardiness have conversations with her. Her later arrival creates a distraction to the work floor when she comes walking in and then others start to think it’s okay to arrive late.

Amy Canaday:
And I have three other employees, but I’m having to address the same issue with. She’s also constantly using her PTO to cover the hour or so that she ends up late each week. So now, I’m irritated and I am certain that Janie is doing this to annoy me. Our next example is Robert. Robert is slow. Although he’s very cute. He never makes enough phone calls during the day. I’m expecting 120 actions each day and Robert is consistently coming up 40 actions short, every single day. So I am irritated and I am certain Robert is doing this to annoy me. Last but not least, We have Jadah and Jadah continues to forget details and deadlines and she’s missing meetings frequently. So again, I’m irritated and I am certain Jadah is doing this to annoy me. You guys see where I’m going here. I’ve taken each one of these scenarios personally, and now guess what happens?

Amy Canaday:
The resentment sets in. So now I am out to get each one of them. I start documenting every tardy, every day, the stops are not met, and every single thing that missed or forgotten, I do this so that I feel justified to fire them down the road and I have the documentation in place to do so. However, once a leader starts to do this, the intention is really shifted from trying to help that person to instead of just having their pink slip partially filled out already. Does this serve me or the employee well? Not at all. Had I not taken things personally, I would have recognized that I need to spend some time visiting with each of these employees to get to the root cause of what was causing the issue and identify what I could do to help them. That’s what we as leaders do, right?

Amy Canaday:
We help others succeed. So again, you know, don’t take personnel issues personally. Had I not taken things personally, and instead had a conversation with Jeanie, Robert, and Jadah, I may have found ways to resolve the issues and help them succeed. First in ways that I might consider doing just that. I’ll give you an example for just Robert. Maybe I would have found out that Robert was having a hard time with these stats because he sits near the break room and everyone that enters our exits thinks that they need to stop and visit with him. Being the social guy that he is, he’s had a hard time not being distracted by this. Well, you know what, easy enough, because I investigated that. I know that the simple move is to move into a desk with less traffic. Now I’ve got future drama, avoid it.

Amy Canaday:
My point is you guys, like I mentioned, at the beginning of the slide, don’t take personnel issue personally, ask questions, seek clarity, and find a solution that’s going to work for both of you. In the end, it really will help reduce your workplace drama. The fourth mistake that we can make is making assumptions. You guys don’t make assumptions. Okay? Once anger and resentment set in, it’s really easy to assume wrong intention or lack of will on the part of the employee. Personnel issues could be due to any one of a variety of reasons. Like I’ve listed on the slide here for you. It could be clarity, priority, resources, skill, or will. But without the ability to recognize whether the real problem is one of these five possibilities listed, managers tend to just assume that the issue is one about that last one, will, instead of skill. Be willing to consider that it is a skill deficit and not accused of insubordination or lack of will. Like these have cute little donkeys remind us, you guys remember that old saying, right? You know what assuming does, I won’t say it, but you guys can feel free to type it in the chatbox. If you, if you’d like to, you know what assuming does. So don’t assume, you know, why the issue exists. Investigate, provide guidance and real-time feedback to those employees to help get them moving in the direction that you want them to.

Amy Canaday:
That fifth mistake that we make, when a manager is using accountability the wrong way. And so when a manager talks about creating a quote-unquote accountable culture, it’s likely because they’re trying to use accountability as a whipping stick. So for example, if you don’t do X, Y, and Z, then you’re going to get punished by A, B, C. The real issue is one of personal responsibility. If a manager can’t get the employee to own the job, then no amount of accountability is going to get the kind of performance that you need. So how many of you have had, and you could just type yes, in the chatbox, if you can identify with this, but how many of you have had employees skew numbers to avoid punishment? You know, I have, I had an employee many, many years ago that started falsifying history.

Amy Canaday:
They would say that they left a message or that there was no answer at the number that they dialed when really they didn’t even dial the number because really they were just trying to hit those daily stats. They didn’t have any true ownership in the true results. And so we had to work through that. You know, those types of things can happen. And while I’m going to have these next things that I say on the next slide, I would like for you guys to jot these down, just to remember them, and I will repeat them for you as well. Accountability is about measurement and it’s of the head, but the responsibility is about ownership and that’s of the heart. Once again, that was accountability is about measurement, and it’s of the head. Responsibility is about ownership and it’s of the heart. You really need both to be successful.

Amy Canaday:
However, you can’t make someone accountable who doesn’t take ownership. Let me give you guys an example, a personal example. I’m used to doing my job in my current role, a certain way. I’m used to doing that out on the road in person, given our current dynamic with the pandemic, it’s just not possible. So I really had to adapt to a new way of doing things. And I wasn’t excited about it at first to admit that. I don’t get the same rush and connection by being a voice on the other end of the line as I do when I have an opportunity to meet someone in person. Because of this, I was kind of in a funk and I kept putting off the quote-unquote new way of doing things. And so I shared my frustration with my boss, Ronna Denny, and our consultant, Tom. And as we have this discussion, it dawned on me, that it doesn’t matter if I like it or not.

Amy Canaday:
It is my current reality. And I own how I’m feeling about that. So it was time for me to change how I felt about it. I needed to look for things that I enjoyed about the new process and that I could consider a win. I’m the only one that can do that. Nobody else is going to be able to do that for me. And so that sense of ownership and the accountability to have any ability to have input to how the new way gets done, which I was supported really provided me with that sense of responsibility, which in turn, was opened that accountability piece. So we’ve got fed you guys, be sure that you look for ways to encourage job ownership within your organization. When you get them involved. And I swear, this works when you get people involved, it makes it their reality, instead of just what they consider to be your perception. So get them involved.

Amy Canaday:
You guys remember that today’s session is about preventing workplace drama and the responsibility that we as leaders having in preventing it. We all know Smokey Bear. And I remember it’s Smokey Bear, not Smoky the Bear. But Smokey Bear tells us, only you can prevent forest fires. Well, today I’d like for you guys to meet Drama Llama and his messages only you can prevent workplace drama. Keep in mind that very few newly promoted first and second-level leaders come with a skill developed, but they need to be effective leaders. It’s important to have that ongoing training and you yourself as a leader, look for training opportunities. Very few new leaders are going to ask for help because they fear that they might seem incompetent. So make sure that you combat that by assuring them, and yourself, that it is okay to ask questions and seek help.

Amy Canaday:
I always told my leaders, or even when I’m training new employees within our organization, don’t be afraid to ask questions. The only lead question is the one that you don’t ask but using the list that we covered today, you can really start to identify where are the root problems contribute to lack of engagement, turnover, and a culture of workplace drama. Which none of us wants to be in. But with the right development and critical thinking, new seasoned leaders, can acquire the skills that are necessary to improve performance and create a culture of personal responsibility and empowerment. Before we move on, I want to just hop back real quick to a couple of examples with those three individuals that we had Jeanie, Jadah, and Robert. I talked about how we might identify what was going on with Robert. But maybe in identifying what was going on with Jeanie, the one who was late every day, maybe in talking to her, I find out that she can’t drop her children off at daycare until straight-up eight o’clock in the morning, and then she’s got a fifteen-minute commute to work.

Amy Canaday:
So that’s why she’s coming in every day late. Well in our organization, you know, we do have a lot of single working moms and so we want to try to do what we can look to accommodate in those situations. So one example there is, maybe I change her schedule and instead of working eight to five, I have her working eight-thirty to five-thirty every day, again, easy enough. And now I’ve got future drama avoided as I mentioned with Robert. You know, so keep those types of suggestions in mind as you’re, you’re identifying what the root cause of those problems are. I’d like to give you guys all an opportunity to ask any questions or share any input that you might have. Feel free to type your questions or comments into the chatbox. Do make sure that you click on the dropdown that says to all panelists and attendees so that we see those there, and I’m also going to have Kelsey unmute so that she can chime in and respond as well.

Amy Canaday:
Kelsey has been in a leadership role within our organization for many years now. And I think that she does a really, really good job of avoiding these mistakes that we’ve covered today. And as a result, she doesn’t have a lot of drama going on in her collection floor. And so while we’re waiting for those to come in, I’d also like for you guys to please make note that I’ve included the contact information that we have here for each of us. So if you’re more comfortable asking questions offline, please feel free to reach out to any one of the three of us. I’ve included Ronna Denny our senior vice president of client services, the contact information on there as well. So again, you guys can type questions in as you have them, but I know that we did have a few that had been submitted prior to the session today from some attendees that had registered, but we’re not going to be able to sign in. And so I want to make sure to answer those for the recording. So, Kelsey, I believe that you maybe have those. Do you want to toss one of those out for us?

Kelsey Peters:
Sure thing. So we have, how do you not take something personally when you know, it was personally directed?

Amy Canaday:
Yeah. You know, and I realized that happens, you know, we talked about don’t take personnel issues personally. But I understand that occasionally very rarely, that can happen. And I’ve been on the receiving end of that myself, you guys, my best advice is to either ignore it or address it head-on. Whichever you decide to do probably depends on the frequency in which that’s happening with that individual. If it’s just once or twice, then maybe they’re having a bad day and you just ended up being the target because, you know, maybe frankly, maybe they feel like you’re an individual that they have a close relationship with and they can do that. But if it’s happening more frequently, I think it really does justify a conversation to let that person know how you feel about their behavior. And keep in mind when you’re having those conversations.

Amy Canaday:
You don’t want to go at it saying, “You make me feel this way,” because again, you own how you feel, not them. Like your reaction to their behavior is yours, but, you know, I think it is important to let them know that this is, you know, the result of their behavior has this impact on you. I see we’ve got a question on the chatbox as well, coming from Karen. Karen says, “I found that now that some employees have been working from home, they’re very resistant to returning to the office. I need staff in the office because they’re much more productive. And so what’s your advice to bring those people back in?” You know, and this is something, this is a dynamic that we had to deal with too, as the pandemic hit, we were like, what, you know, why are we going to do?

Amy Canaday:
And Kelsey being in charge of our, our collection staff, we have some high-risk employees that we had to transition to home. And now as we’ve implemented precautions and so forth, we’ve been able to transition some of those back into the office. So, Kelsey, I hate to put you on the spot, but if you don’t mind, I’d like to have you may be answered that one because you do have experience with that. So what have you, what have you found has really worked in getting those people back into the office?

Kelsey Peters:
I think the biggest thing was that it depends on the resistance and I think a lot of my homeworkers were resistant to come back in because they were fearful of COVID and getting it. However, we have pretty strict health protocols and health checks to ensure that we’re keeping our staff safe. I’m too one that really is motivated by team synergy and morale.

Kelsey Peters:
So I found that my team produces much better in the office together and at about that 120-day mark, I just started pulling people back in. We had a telecommuting agreement that we put in place that, that didn’t guarantee that these individuals could work from home full-time and that we could ask them at any point to return to the office. So that’s just kinda what I started to do. We are obviously monitoring just the current situation with the pandemic in each of our locations. And as things, you know, opened back up, we felt safe having more people come back into the office and, you know, I think, I think it just tries to make the environment back in-house as fun as possible. So they’re not focused on the fear and they’re focused on the job again.

Amy Canaday:
Yeah, absolutely. And I think, you know, to go along with that, one of the things that we do in our office now is, you know, we do screen everybody every day that they come in. And so my hope is that that has really made everybody feel a little bit more comfortable if they were nervous about coming in. The other thing that we started doing is our CEO, Dan Russell, he actually does a weekly video to all of our staff now that we send out. And we talked about the current staff and the current dynamic with the pandemic, but he also talks about, you know, things that are going on within our organization and how we have a positive impact doing the jobs that we do. And I think that that, that alone goes back to that ownership piece, that sense of responsibility and ownership with our staff and it just really being transparent and keeping it, keeping in touch with, you know, our homeworkers and those people that are in the office has made some of those transitions back into the office a lot easier, a lot smoother.

Amy Canaday:
Great question. Thank you for that. We really appreciate it. If you’d like to talk to Kelsey more about how she’s maybe dealt with some of those that might’ve been a challenge, please feel free to reach out to her offline. I’m sure she’d be happy to discuss those with you. I do want to make sure that you guys get out of here on time today, but we’re not going anywhere. We’ll hang on the line for a little bit, but I want to go ahead and move on to our conclusion. Again, like I said, don’t, don’t hesitate at all to reach out to us offline if you have a question that comes to mind, or you had one that didn’t get answered today. But in conclusion, what did we cover today? The first thing is we talked about, you know, finding that middle ground between being besties and being unapproachable set aside your insecurities.

Amy Canaday:
When it comes to performance conversations. You know, prepare yourself to have those conversations, regardless of how you’re feeling about it. You really owe it to your staff and yourself. Also, don’t, don’t take things personally management isn’t about you. It’s about them. So look for opportunities to help them address and correct issues. By doing that, you’re going to also help them grow as valuable employees within your organization. Avoid making assumptions, take the time to invest, and identifying the root cause for lack of performance. You may find that they just need additional training and guidance, or maybe there’s some accommodation that you can make. Also, remember that accountability is about measurement. If you encourage your staff to really own their job, then you’re going to see that and take on more responsibility. Trish, just real quick. I see you had a question come in from Trish.

Amy Canaday:
“How do you deal with those locker room people who no matter what you say, they still find a way to manipulate the situation.” You know, and yeah, we, I, I’ve had, I’ve run into those from time to time too. And I think, you know, it’s, it’s with those it’s really important to make sure that you are having those conversations and that you’re documenting the conversation. You know, one of the things Kelsey and I were actually just talking about this yesterday, and maybe she can chime in on it if I don’t summarize it as well as she did for me yesterday. But you know, when she has those types of situations, she’ll call the employee in and she’s just very straightforward about here’s the situation. Here’s the problem. Here’s the issue it’s causing. Do you agree that this is an issue?

Amy Canaday:
Hopefully, they do agree that it’s an issue if they don’t, then she doesn’t waste any more time with them. She’ll let them go. But you know, I would say nine times out of 10, she gets them to agree that it is in fact a problem. And so then she gets them involved in, okay, like what, you know, what, what can you do to help ensure that this doesn’t continue to be a problem? What do you feel you need from me to help this avoid being a problem in the future? And if it does continue, she always follows up with, if it does continue being an issue, then what do you think the consequences should be? And the thing that I really like about that approach, Kelsey, I hope I summarized that accurately. I’ve seen her put it into effect, but the thing I really like about that approach is that it gets them involved in the solution.

Amy Canaday:
And again, when you get somebody involved in the solution, it really makes it their reality rather than just a perception of what they, what they believe to be your, your reality, or your perception. And the other thing is it takes a piece, it takes the monkey off your back then if that does continue to be an issue and you have to implement that consequence, they came up with the consequence. So, you know, they don’t have anything to complain about. I’ve done that with my kids, and it works. So I hope that answers your question, Trish, but if it doesn’t please feel free to reach out to either myself or Kelsey afterward. And we’re happy to discuss that further. So I know that we’re at the end of our time today. CollectionCenter really appreciates you spending the last 30 minutes with us on our webinar, please remember to fill out the survey that you guys will receive afterward.

Amy Canaday:
That should be coming to you via email. Those are really important to me, as your feedback is important to me. It helps me continue to improve upon the information that I’m delivering to you. We do plan to do more of these webinars in the coming months. I think we’re currently scheduled to do them every two months. Webinar Wednesdays, we just have to, we have scheduling conflicts and had to move it to Thursday this week. But your input to topics that you’d like to see covered are also important. We can do those on a variety of topics, ranging on anything from collection processes to the AR cycle to management tips and tricks like we’ve covered today. So please feel free to email our senior vice president, Ronna Denny, or me, with your thoughts on any topics you’d like to see covered in the future. Again, thank you guys for joining us today. Stay safe, stay well, and know that we’re here for you guys. Bye-bye.