Debra Howard Consulting- Burlington, VT Area

Staying Out of the Spider’s Web

How Managers Can Avoid (and Reduce) Triangles at Work

There are many types of politics in the workplace. The most basic is at an interpersonal level when two people aren’t getting along, or one person is unhappy with another. What do they do? They pull in other people (often their manager) to fix the problem, fix the person, be the messenger, or be a sympathetic ear. Psychologists call this triangulation.

Interpersonal triangles are so prevalent in our families (where we initially learn how to create them) and in the workplace that most managers accept them, and even perpetuate them. But there are big downsides to allowing triangles to flourish at work—especially for leaders. During this provocative presentation you’ll learn:

  • What to do about gossiping, venting, and complaining at work
  • What to say when people come to you to complain about a problem (which is usually another person)
  • How to keep from getting caught in your employees’ triangles
  • How to help people talk with each other directly about their concerns, without becoming their messenger
  • How to have an open-door policy without enabling triangulation
  • How to avoid the temptation to set up your own triangles

After this presentation, you will immediately and easily be able to identify triangles in your work teams, and take positive steps to reduce the conflict, tension, and anxiety they can cause.