Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Ghosts of the Past

It's unfortunate but everyone of us has probably experienced the "conversation of the past" in our workplace. This conversation is usually brought up more than once and revolves around a change that occurred well in the past. Perhaps you weren't even with the organization when this change occurred but there just seems to be a person that cannot stop bringing it up. They continue to bring up any issues they perceive resulted from that change and how those issues continue to make them unhappy. What do you do?

First, I would put some limits on how many times this conversation will be repeated. You can accomplish this through feedback, being very specific about what you have seen, heard and observed. Make note of the impact of these things and what you would like to see instead. The past can't be undone, however, one can make changes for the future.

Second, it might also be very important to query why these past issues continue to be raised and explore how the person can move beyond the issues. This would be important information for the person as well. Find out if there are any opportunities to provide coaching to the employee to help him/her move forward. You may also consider a referral to your EFAP benefit provider, if you have that support in your organization.

The two key elements to remember when trying to move through the past is to limit and explore. Limit the influence of the past on the present and explore options in helping the organization cope with changes and Bounce Forward!

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