Dealing with poor behavior on your team can be disappointing and challenging. It is essential to approach these situations quickly, carefully, and diligently while maintaining a respectful and non-confrontational tone. Here’s a guide to help you navigate the most routine of these situations successfully:
- Start from a loving place: Begin with empathy and understanding. Recognize that everyone makes mistakes and that your goal is to help your team member improve, not punish them.
- Verify: Before addressing the issue, ensure you have the facts, not hearsay. Gather information from multiple sources to avoid misunderstandings.
- Ask if they’re aware of their behavior: Open communications by inquiring if the team member is conscious of their actions, setting the stage for a constructive conversation.
- Ask why they did it: Understanding the reasons behind the behavior can provide insights into potential triggers — allowing you to address the root cause effectively.
- Remind them that behavior isn’t acceptable: Hopefully, you’ve clearly defined your expectations for conduct on the team earlier. Setting boundaries and ensuring everyone understands what’s required is essential, so remind them of your expectations.
- Ask what they will do to correct it: Encourage ownership and problem-solving by involving the team member in finding solutions. Offer your support and guidance as needed.
- Tell them the consequences if they don’t correct their behavior: Be clear on boundaries and repercussions. You must emphasize the seriousness of the issue and the need for improvement.
- Monitor progress and “catch them doing things right”: Continuously observe their behavior and celebrate their improvement. Positive reinforcement is a powerful tool people don’t use often enough.
To further enhance your effectiveness in addressing poor behavior, consider including the following elements:
- Conflict Resolution Training: Learning conflict resolution techniques will equip you with the skills to facilitate constructive discussions and resolve conflict.
- Documentation: Maintain records of discussions and actions taken. This documentation is crucial for tracking progress, providing evidence if further action is required, and legally protecting the team and the organization.
- Consistency: Consistency helps create a fair and predictable work environment. Do not give some team members a pass on their poor performance while reading the riot act to others.
- Conflict Mediation: Sometimes, it’s necessary to involve a neutral third party to mediate conflicts. Know when to seek external assistance for more complex issues.
- Ongoing Training: Managing behavior and conflicts is an ongoing process. Continually develop your skills and stay updated on best practices in management and leadership.
Effective leadership involves a blend of empathy, clear communication, and adaptability. Address poor behavior on your team while maintaining a positive and productive work environment. These steps offer a solid framework. Adapt your approach to each situation and individual.
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About Karl Bimshas
Karl Bimshas is a Boston-bred, California-chilled Leadership Consultant and Writer. As the founder of Karl Bimshas Consulting, he provides customized leadership development resources and accountability partnering for busy professionals who want to manage better and lead well.
With Karl Bimshas Consulting, you become a confident and competent leader without becoming the kind of jerky boss everyone has had and no one wants again, even if your self-confidence has taken a hit.