The specter of supervisor fear in reasonable suspicion confrontations can create a disproportionate sense of dread when dealing with this issue. No-one ever wants to be the ‘heavy’ or to have to be the one to tell an employee they are no longer performing effectively in their job. When there are the complications of drug or alcohol abuse coloring the situation there is the added worry of the blame/denial cycle, or of heated exchange and recriminations turning to ugly confrontation. The best way to guard against ugliness is with education. If you are well educated on how to approach the situation and communicate well to the employee then things will go much smoother than you expect.
A supervisor can feel fear for many reasons – the most common are the fear of the unknown (not knowing how the employee will react) and the fear of being inadequate – of not knowing what to say. A good training program can help overcome these fears by giving you a complete understanding of the process from both the supervisor’s role and responsibilities, and through representational examples of possible employee reactions. When you have been fully trained then it is possible to control, and even eliminate supervisor fear in reasonable suspicion confrontations.
Another key to conquering supervisor fear in reasonable suspicion confrontations is to remember that your employee’s problems are not going to go away by themselves. In fact, it is quite the opposite, in the vast majority of cases the problem will only get worse until the employee spirals so deep in the grip of drugs or alcohol that they lose everything. In many ways, by calling their attention to the problem now you are doing them a favor. Of course, the employee will not see it that way for a long time. This is where proper training can help you effectively deal with the situation and avoid personalizing it, or taking anything cruel that is said to heart.
It is natural to feel some trepidation when dealing with a difficult employee or situation, but when you are properly prepared and trained, the nervousness can be kept to a minimum and will not distract you from the proper steps that you need to take. Because there is so much riding on the proper treatment of the employee it is natural to feel some supervisor fear in reasonable suspicion confrontations, but there is no need for that fear to cripple you.