3 Rules for Dealing with Hotheads

Managing a basketball team can be like running a business. You have different kinds of players who may have incredible talent as individuals but struggle to work as a team. The top basketball players in the world, like the best employees in a company, are nothing if they cannot work collectively.

One common problem: the hot-tempered player who can affect the entire team if his behavior isn’t corrected immediately.

The Los Angeles Lakers take the following steps if a player has an issue (and you can apply the same rules in your workplace).

1. Have a one-on-one talk with the player, get to the root of the problem and solve it quickly. The longer the problem lingers, the more likely it will have a negative effect.

2. If the player does not cooperate after talking and the issue remains unresolved, the player will lose playing time. There should never be any surprises with players or employees. Spell out the rules on day one so they know the exact consequences if they don’t cooperate.

3. If the problem continues, the player is suspended. Even if the player is the most talented member of the team, he must go. If you have an employee who continually causes problems, she needs to be dismissed. You will be amazed how the atmosphere in your office will improve once this person is gone.

—Paul Pressey, assistant coach of the Los Angeles Lakers

Conflict is inevitable in the workplace. Check out 11 tips for refereeing disputes between employees.


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