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Addressing Detrimental Workplace Behavior

08 May


Employee behavior, good and bad, has a direct impact on your organization’s environment and can affect the behavior of their coworkers. Typically, managers try to identify candidates with destructive or negative personality types or characteristics in the interview process. However, this is not always successful. Candidates will mask these characteristics during an interview, regardless of whether they are aware of these toxic traits or not.

Many times, managers will struggle with effectively detecting these character traits, or managing an employee who is having a negative behavioral effect on the team. If a manager is unable to reign in an employee who is exhibiting patterns of detrimental or toxic behavior, the organization will eventually start feeling the effects. In other circumstances, managers are aware of the issues, but they choose to avoid rectifying the situation as they are not comfortable with confrontation, claim they are too busy to worry about one person or are unsure how to handle the situation properly.

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Negative or toxic behavior can be identified as larger matters such as resistance or rigidity to change and adaptation or taking extended or unapproved breaks, or smaller matters like using inappropriate language when conversing with employees on the floor or engaging in gossip, or persistent complaining and whining. No matter how minor the situation, each of these habits or occurrences can damage the workplace environment and the professional reputation of those involved.

Here are our suggestions for how to address the detrimental behaviors:

•     Address issues early and often. Negative behavior can be infectious and will oftentimes develop as a result of resentment for something about which the employee, or group of employees, is not happy. Speak with the individual or group in a private setting to aid in protecting the privacy and pride of those involved. This also helps to fortify a feeling of trust among the team.

When discussing, try to focus more on the reason behind the behavior, rather than how the negative behavior affected you, the team, or the organization. While you cannot undo what is already done, you can try to further eliminate the cause from repeating itself.

•     Create a calm, respectful, and open environment to discuss the situation and bad habits the employee is expressing. Allow for the conversation to include time to focus on resolution and steps to ensuring the habits will not surface again. Take notes after the meeting including a brief summary of what happened and any facts or comments the employee made that may need to be referenced in the future.

•   Leave your emotions at the door. Behavioral issues stem from a problem with something very specific and personal to the employee. Try to be understanding about the situation and understand what the person may be feeling. Managers should be open to helping the employee sort through their feelings to get to the underlying issue. But do not make assumptions about the behavior or reason for their reaction to the situation. Simply acknowledge their feelings and focus on coming to an amicable resolution.

Employers should support and assist managers in their efforts to create a safe and conflict-free workplace culture where employees can thrive and work together to improve their skills within the organization. Vensure encourages regular employee and manager training and a collaborative work environment where all employees have the tools and resources they need to be successful. Reach out to Vensure to learn more about the comprehensive business solutions we offer to free up your time, reduce costs, and focus more on employee management and culture.

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