Recently I had a client tell me that when she opened a discussion with a direct report about a violation of the dress code the person erupted, quit on the spot and immediately left the workplace. We role played the discussion and how to frame such a discussion so as to depersonalize it.
What I found most interesting is that the company rehired this person who abandoned the workplace the same day at another location in another leadership role. What???
Now my client has to manage a team who knows the organization will tolerate unprofessional and insubordinate behavior. She has to gain respect from a team who knows they don’t have to listen or adhere to company policy to keep their job.
We are now positioning her transferable skills for a company with a more solid culture. In the meantime here is a tip for when you need to have a difficult conversation with an employee.
Here is advice I recently gave to a client who just had two staff members explode at a meeting. Managing bad behavior starts with drawing healthy boundaries.
Boundaries: The invisible line between what you will and will not allow.
Difficult Employees: People who don’t take ownership of their own behavior and spew their dissatisfaction with their perceived powerlessness, victimization and lack of self-worth on others.
Dealing with Difficult Employees: Affirm their unhappiness. Affirm how they must be feeling. Ask them what they want. Then every time they act insubordinately ask them how that is getting them closer to what they want.
When Difficult Employees are Out of Control: Get the values of the company in hand, show them how their behavior is insubordinate of the values, put them on a Performance Improvement Plan, establish the specific measurable threshold they need to meet, tell them your goal is to help them meet it and revisit in 30 days. That’s a boundary....
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