Employee Intervention: Methods and Application

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Rob Wengrzyn

Rob has an MBA in management, a BS in marketing, and is a doctoral candidate in organizational theory and design.

Sometimes managers must intervene with an employee to ensure they have a chance to rectify their behavior. Learn the different intervention types and methods, including authoritative, facilitative, and prescriptive interventions, and explore how employee intervention can be applied by analyzing a hypothetical problem in the workplace. Updated: 10/14/2021

Management Problem

Tony has a very big problem. You see, he has an employee that he thinks needs some counseling. He is not sure how to address the problem or even how to approach the employee. There is no one in the organization that can give Tony any guidance in dealing with the situation. So, in many ways, he feels like he's stuck.

Let's try to help Tony understand counseling and employee intervention. As we help Tony, he will begin to understand some of the counseling methods and some of the actions he can take to help him with his problem. Along the way, we might learn something as well.

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  • 0:02 Management Problem
  • 0:34 Intervention Types
  • 3:14 Analyzing Tony's Problem
  • 3:56 Lesson Summary
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Intervention Types

What many people do not know is there are different categories of intervention. There is not just one main rule that everybody follows when it comes to intervening with employees. While some HR departments might have a formal structure for how to intervene or counsel employees, Tony's problem is he needs to understand how to take that first step and what his options are for counseling the employee.

There are two types of intervention: One is called authoritative, and one is called facilitative. When we talk about authoritative as it relates to intervention, it means that the individual who is helping the other person is doing so by giving them information. They are, in effect, challenging the person or even suggesting what the person should do.

On the other hand, facilitative focuses on the aspects of having the person who is trying to help, try to draw out ideas from the employee. These ideas help boost self-confidence and may deliver actual solutions that really help the other person to reach his or her own solution to the problem.

Obviously, it's more helpful if the employee who needs intervention reaches his own solution to the problem and gets on the right path on his own. However, that cannot always happen, and sometimes authoritative intervention must be used.

Authoritative has three main aspects - prescriptive, informative, and confronting. Prescriptive intervention is when you directly give the person advice and direction, informative is when you provide information to instruct and guide the other person, and finally, confronting is when you challenge the other person's behavior directly. This is not to say that you have to be aggressive when you do so, just that you are confronting them in a very direct and forward manner.

Facilitative intervention has three aspects as well. Those aspects are cathartic, catalytic, and supportive. When we use cathartic, we are helping the person to express emotions and overcome thoughts that they may not be aware they had. When we talk about catalytic, we're talking about helping the person to look back on their life or on their problem, analyze it, and see through a self-directed path that they can come up with their own problem-solving ideas. Finally, we have supportive, where we build up the confidence of the other person by focusing on the good qualities they possess.

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