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a blog by Chris Barrow

What to do about the team member who posted themselves partying over the weekend

"Seeing stuff all over social media this morning - managers and owners not knowing what to do because their staff are all over social media posting photos at pubs and parties with no mask on and not socially distancing"

Thus spoke one on Sunday morning and, within hours, the message had been repeated by a significant number of others.

My own urban village of Hale, Cheshire was buzzing over the weekend as shops, bars and restaurants reopened for on-site business. Our main local pub, The Railway, had a weekend of "invitation only" bookings for the faithful. The biggest queues in the village were outside the male hairdressers.

It is with mixed emotions that we welcome back the world of local business.

A sense of relief that the owners of smaller businesses can start to function again (especially when one considers the list of high-street retailers and hospitality firms who have become Covid victims).

Equally, a growing sense that the re-emergence of Covid outbreaks at home and abroad reminds us of the very real risks that still exist. They are risks that make me personally very wary of ending any social distancing too soon.

It is such a balancing act between the scientists and the economists. Equally, a series of personal decisions by all of those exercising their democratic rights.

As if my dental clients didn't have enough to deal with, this Monday morning many of them are reporting to me stories similar to that with which I began this post.

"Nurse on social media posting photos clearly socialising in private house with >1 other household, not social distancing and in breach of .gov rules... Thoughts?

Initial plan - general written reminder to whole team that in addition to their professional registration/duty of care such posts could compromise the reputation of the practice and undermine the credibility of all our COVID measures. Triple risk. Potential disciplinary for further transgressions..."

Notwithstanding my own health concerns and a sense of exasperation that some folks are daft enough to post selfies like that mentioned above, we all do have to be a bit careful this morning before kicking off about the need for care and the potential harm to patients, colleagues at work and business reputation.

Please remember that the majority of your team members will be acting responsibly and will, perhaps, be equally irritated or worried if a team member has "misunderstood" the rules. They, like you, may have been working in uncomfortable and stressful conditions in recent weeks and might not take kindly to the boss painting all with a similar brush.

Just be careful how you handle this.

I'm adding to this post a favourite PDF from our archive - "Dealing with difficult conversations", with a reminder that, when confronting anyone with concerns about their performance or behaviour, it is necessary to:

  1. Request permission to have a direct conversation;

  2. Explain your perception of what has happened (because your perception may be wrong);

  3. Explain how your perception is making you feel (because accusation creates aggression);

  4. Request a change going forward if your perception is accurate.

Dealing with Difficult Conversations
Download PDF • 119KB

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