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Wyoming Business Tips for Nov. 20-26


November 14, 2011 — A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.

(The following column is written by Sabrina Schleicher, business and executive coach, corporate trainer and licensed psychologist. She owns Tap the Potential LLC, www.tapthepotential.com, a firm specializing in coaching and training to empower individuals and organizations to thrive.)

"Why can't people just get along and do their jobs?" Joel, Riverton

Each personality type has an Achilles heel. Left unchecked, your Achilles heel will undermine and keep you from attaining what you want most in life. Is your Achilles heel wreaking havoc in your life?

"Dr. Jones" is the owner of a busy private practice and is known throughout his community as a caring, compassionate physician. He has strong personal values about how people should be treated. Jones regularly expresses his appreciation for his employees. In spite of his strengths in communicating and motivating others, morale has been low and there is conflict among his staff. Why is this happening despite Jones' best intentions?

When the doctor sought my services, he shared what he most wanted -- to serve the people of his community with exceptional care and to build a great team that could lend support in achieving their goals.

"It seems there is always one person stirring up trouble. When that person leaves, it settles down for awhile, but then the drama starts again. Why can't people just get along and do their jobs?" he asked me.

It seemed directed at one particular staff member, but Jones did not want to confront her. He doesn't like confrontation. This staff member regularly came in late, left early, took long breaks, made insensitive comments to patients and generally performed poorly. The doctor confided in me that he fantasized about closing his practice just to end the drama.

Although the rest of the staff was extremely frustrated with this particular co-worker, they were even more frustrated with Jones for not doing anything about the situation. In fact, one of his best employees confided in me that she was strongly considering a job offer she recently received.

What was at the root of these problems in Jones' office? His Achilles heel was undermining the very thing he wanted most and wreaking havoc in his business.

Jones is overly concerned about the needs of others and does not want to offend anyone. He was reluctant to confront his staff member because he did not want to upset her. In spite of her chronic poor performance, he did not want to fire her because she had a family to support. Jones was so focused on her needs that he was neglecting his own. He needed a lot of support to address his Achilles heel but managed to turn the situation around. Jones learned valuable lessons along the way that he continues to apply.

"Dr. Jones" is a fictitious name, but the situation described above is compiled from several clients with whom I have worked. For more information about workplace communication, team-building and employee engagement, contact Schleicher at www.tapthepotential.com.

A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://www.wyomingentrepreneur.typepad.com/blog/.

The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email wsbdc@uwyo.edu or write 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY, 82071-3922.

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