Have you ever had a direct report who always seems to behave badly or inappropriately? Yelling at co-workers? Gossiping about others? Complaining about everything? They always seem to be stirring things up to the point where your other employees are at their wits end – forcing them to start looking for another job.
One of the most difficult things for a manager to do is hold their direct reports accountable for their bad behavior – especially those employees who are strong performers.
We see it all the time – employees who are able to deliver but who are also a huge jerk.
We are much more likely to hold employees accountable for their poor performance but we struggle with the behavior side. This is especially concerning when the behavior is so bad that it negatively affects other employees and their effectiveness which, in turn, affects the effectiveness of the entire organization.
In addition, most discipline problems in the workplace are about an employee’s poor behavior rather than their performance. So it’s critical that we effectively address those behavior problems right away but, sadly, this is rarely done until the poor behaving employee ends up doing something extreme. Something that could have been prevented had their behavior been addressed in the early stages.
The reason managers are hesitant to hold their employees accountable for their poor behavior is that its very uncomfortable and difficult to do. To put it bluntly, nobody wants to tell somebody else that they are acting like a jerk! It requires a subjective evaluation and the ability to have a very difficult conversation with the employee.
There is usually no training for doing this. I wasn’t taught how to do this in college and I wasn’t trained when I started working. I was just given forms to “write people up” when they misbehaved. You know what I mean – Verbal Warning, First Written Warning, Second Written Warning, etc.
Fortunately, I have developed a tool that helps managers accomplish this difficult task. I started using a version of this tool about ten years ago when I was a General Manager at a large retail department store chain and have refined and perfected it ever since. I will be introducing the Hard Hat HR version this tool in the following weeks. I can tell you, if applied correctly, this tool will help managers overcome their hesitance and resistance to hold employees accountable for their bad behavior.