The BIFF Response(SM) Method In The Workplace
An Employee-Manager Example
Lea worked at her company for two years before a new supervisor, Cynthia, took over. There were immediate problems for the whole staff with Cynthia, but she particularly bullied Lea. One day Lea was out sick with some type of stomach flu and her daughter also stayed home with the same problem.
When she returned, she received the following email from Cynthia: “Well, Princess Lea, I hope you’re proud of yourself for taking off on the day the rest of us had the most work to do all year. We had to get that presentation prepared and you knew it! I will expect to see a note from the doctor first thing tomorrow morning to confirm that you were sick! You think you’re so special sometimes and this is not the time or the place to stop pulling your weight in the office. If this happens again, there will be certain consequences. Perhaps someone else would be better in your position.”
Lea was really upset and didn’t know how to respond. Do you?
Businesses depend on quick communications internally and with customers and clients- email, texts, intranets, etc. In the perfect world, every email is efficient and to the point. In reality, workplaces are made of diverse people with different temperaments – from calm and collected to High-Conflict People – all of whom have varying communication skills. Toss in a few disruptive clients, managers or employees, and the probability of losing sales and productivity to low morale and/or workplace tension is high.
- Have you ever received an angry email from your customer, blaming you personally for their dissatisfaction and threatening to sue?
- Maybe you are manager who dreads reading the daily complaints in your inbox from Employee X.
- Do those written reviews from your High-Conflict supervisor just make you want to quit?
- Having trouble collaborating on a project with that certain person who never seems to actually work, and blames others for it in emails to the boss?
- Perhaps you have a client who sends you countless antagonistic emails and consumes far more time than you can give to any one client.
- Are you frustrated with Mary’s and Jane’s regular rounds of confrontational emails to each other, all of which get copied to you?
These are just a few of the situations where you might find a High-Conflict Person, or be an HCP’s target of blame. Chances are, it’s happened before, and it will happen again. Do you and the staff know how to respond?
BIFF Responses are specifically designed to help you respond to written hostilities, but it can also be used in person-to-person verbal confrontations. BIFF is Brief, Informative, Friendly, and Firm (don’t let the friendly part fool you). It’s a simple set of tools that’s quick and effective in dealing with today’s High-Conflict communications, and we price it to be affordable to everyone. Check out our products, services and trainings for more information and contact us with questions or comments.
High-Conflict People and just plain difficult people seem to be increasing in the workplace. Learn effective strategies for managing them—whether you're the "Target of Blame" or a supervisor tasked with resolving employees’ disputes and personality clashes.
“This book belongs in every leader’s library. Although I believe there’s a pearl of good in everyone, some people’s pearl is hard to find. You may not be able to change a high conflict personality, but by using Bill Eddy’s and Georgi DiStefano’s techniques, you’ll be able to keep the focus on solutions rather than arguments.”
—Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager® and Leading at a Higher Level