Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

How Long Are You Going To Put Up With That Behavior?

This kind of behavior is only interesting from a lizard--not an employee. There are many workplaces where employees, supervisors and managers devote 50% of their time to work and 50% to dealing with the obnoxious, frustrating, divisive or weird behavior of one or two employees. If you are in an office like that, how long are you going to put up with that situation?

If you are a peer: Let the coworker know, in an appropriate way, when you are frustrated, angry or concerned about the behavior. Then, as with a bad-acting child, withdraw your support until the behavior improves. That doesn’t mean ostracism from work, but it does mean not pretending to support or be friends with someone who treats others badly, just to avoid being a victim yourself. Be civil, be courteous but don’t be a tolerant pal.

If the behavior is having an effect on your work and you have tried to handle it directly–and in a courteous effective way–document the behavior, witnesses if any, and the effect it had on you and the workplace, and submit it in writing. If nothing is done at least you are no worse off–and there will be documentation.  You should talk directly to your manager as well. But, if you don’t put it in writing, it often is seen as merely griping, not requesting action. 

If you are a manager or supervisor: Although I advise the coworkers of rude or difficult employees to put their complaints in writing,  they shouldn’t have to do that if you are an observant and concerned manager or supervisor. When you  know there is a problem, it’s up to you to do intervene without being pushed into it.

Stop bad behavior when it first starts–not after it’s habitual. If it’s already gone to that point, talk to HR or others who can help you ensure you are approaching it correctly. Then, talk to the employee directly about what you have observed and the reasons it should stop and change. Be able to say what behavior and performance you want to have stay the same, what the employee should do more of and what the employee should never do again. Don’t weasle about that–be direct and adamant.

There are a variety of ways to intervene, to correct and redirect and to restore the employee back to the team, but they all start with stepping up and stopping the bad behavior.

How long are you going to put up with it?

June 30th, 2009 Posted by | Challenging and Problematic People, Personal and Professional Development, Supervision and Management | 7 comments