Managing a PSAP is not an easy undertaking. There are many challenges that you will face and overcome when leading in an environment that is already set up to be toxic. Your personnel are not only dealing with their own personal issues but also taking on the mental stressors of their co-workers, serviced personnel, and even complete strangers with every 911 call they process. If you think that your work environment will be rid of drama, my friend, you are sadly mistaken.
As much as you may put forth your best efforts in leading your team(s), life happens. People will disappoint you, not understand you and even gossip about what they think your intentions are.
So, what do you do when you get caught off guard by Human Resources calling you into question? Do you get upset? Nervous? Mad? Or, play games to get back at the person who you feel has done you wrong? Let's face it, you're human and you will react. The best word of advice in these situations is to find that space between stimulus and response before you do something that gives credibility to the complaint. After you process your emotions, now focus on the facts and be willing to face what those facts are.
Marlene Chism once shared, "Knowing your feelings will not change the facts, but knowing the facts can change your feelings." A statement that I live by everyday! When I find myself taking bait, I remind myself of this statement and ask myself, "What are the facts?" and "What are my feelings around this situation?" When doing this exercise you may surprise yourself with the results.
When your actions are called into question, be the example of what you expect from your employees. Be organized, have your documentation, own your part and be curious.
When meeting with HR be able to show the support that you are offering your personnel or the person who is being disciplined. Be prepared to show the efforts you and/or your management team have taken to assist the employee who is challenged. What resources have you provided? Training? Remediation? EAP for issues beyond the workplace? Do you have meeting notes from previous meetings where boundaries were set? And if disciplined, was the discipline fair in fairness to others?
When you are completing disciplinary actions these reports should not reflect all of what the employee is doing wrong, but even more so show of your efforts of support and mentoring. Disciplinary actions should also not be completed in performance evaluations, but as a separate form of documentation that you may reference in the employees performance review.
Human Resources should be seen as your support system not as your adversary. If you find that you need mentoring or support don't be ashamed to ask for it. You will earn more respect from those you lead if you are willing to admit your weaknesses and challenges. As leaders, we have to be the example of what we expect of our team(s). Not an easy undertaking, but with the right support can be done.