EAP Management Consulting Knowledgebase
A living archive of resources for the development and advancement of
management consulting skills for Employee Assistance Professionals
DOs and DON'Ts of Management Consulting

Here is a collection of the proverbial "Do's and Don'ts" lists.
With thanks to the contributors Kathleen Berman (FOH), Roberta Dill (FOH) and Jeff Harris


  • Act as a consultant
  • Consult in a neutral and objective manner
  • Detach yourself from any drama
  • Maintain manager confidentiality
  • Create solutions that are win-win-win (multi-client model)
  • Look for "the teachable moment"
  • Serve as a sounding board
  • Help generate options
  • Educate in our area of expertise
  • Recommend the involvement of HR, legal, security and other services
  • Remember the supervisor is the client
  • Coach manager on focusing on specific behavior issues versus gross generalizations and/or diagnosis
  • Advocate for healthy, professional behavior in the workplace
  • Discuss the basics
  • Get the facts/history
  • Explore alternatives
  • Encourage the manager to make a plan of action
  • Discuss the matter privately with the employer
  • Follow-up with the manager
  • Tell the manager to consult their policy manual
  • Set limits
  • Discuss options
  • Let the supervisor decide what to do
  • Discuss safety issues
  • Ask the supervisor if s/he has discussed the situation with his/her own supervisor
  • Clarify roles
  • Serve the company and the employee; avoid aligning with one or the other
  • Be careful when charting
  • Develop a professional relationship with the manager
  • Make certain the focus is on performance/work-related issues
  • Affirm things the manager is doing well
  • Let the supervisor decide the action taken
  • Take into account the organizational culture or context of the problem
  • Get authorizations for release of information/consents
  • Encourage following established policies and procedures


  • Challenge or threaten manager's authority
  • Corner a manager
  • Make a promise to an employee that obligates the manager to take a certain course of action
  • Get snared into an alignment with manager
  • Use clinical language or diagnoses
  • Take an adversarial role against one party for the advocacy of another
  • Offer advice
  • Offer guidance that is contrary to the organization's policies
  • Step in and manage the situation for the manager
  • Ignore possible manager contributions to employee's poor job performance
  • Advocate for the manager or employee.
  • Act intimidated or hesitant
  • Give the answer
  • Provide an unauthorized disclosure of information
  • Provide more information than the release authorizes or is necessary
  • Interpret companies' policies
  • Be condescending
  • Write their policies or procedures for them
  • Engage the manager in judging or analyzing
  • Tell the manager what to do
  • Change your role based on the manager's demands
  • Over-react with the manager
  • Probe into the manager's feelings
  • Get in over your head!



Courtesy of Federal Occupational Health EAP (used with permission)

  • Do listen carefully to a supervisor's concerns... don't patronize or judge the supervisor.
  • Do ask questions to clarify information... don't assume or "fill in the blanks".
  • Do keep the consult focused on workplace issues... not personal issues.
  • Do help the supervisor to empower themselves to counsel the employee... don't make a promise that the EAP can "fix" the employee.
  • Do be aware of organizational issues that may be interfering with the supervisor's ability to supervise. The organization may need other interventions.
  • Do pay attention to possible workplace aggression... don't minimize danger signals if reported.
  • If the supervisor is going to refer an employee, do get a copy of the referring memo that the supervisor gives to the employee.
  • If the supervisor consult is a threat of violence, Do call your supervisor and inform... don't try to handle alone!
  • Do keep the employee's information confidential with the referring supervisor, unless a release of information is signed by the employee with specifics of shared content to be disclosed.
  • Do understand the supervisor's expectations of the supervisory consult... don't assume.

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