How to Deal with Unacceptable Employee Behavior?


Is it your job to supervise any of these characters?

The Excuse Artist– Misses every deadline and goal, but always seems to be ready with a good excuse or to place blame and point fingers at others.

The Short-Changer–  Late to work, early to leave, “stretched” lunches, extended brakes…this person makes an art out of shortening and short-changing the workday, while leaving coworkers “holding the bag!”

The Intimidator– Everyone’s tip-toeing around this person, lest they incur wrath and anger!  The Intimidator uses fear and bullying tactics to control coworkers and can single-handedly ruin an entire team.

The Gossip–  Behind closed doors, through the grapevine, and under the radar, they’re waging verbal warfare…personal attacks, rumors, and criticism are the tools of their trade.

The Clod–  This one is a master procrastinator who can come up with plenty excuses as to why a task or project hasn’t been started.  And when the Clod does finally get down to business, the work progresses at a snail’s pace…stressing out team members, putting other departments behind schedule, and ultimately, guaranteeing missed deadlines and unhappy clients.

The Downer– No matter what, this person is unhappy…for this pessimist, the glass is always half-empty.  The downer maintains a consistently negative, stifling presence and constantly spreads the bad news to everyone else.

The Minimalist– Apathetic and low-performing…these unmotivated workers can be counted on to give the bare minimum (or even less).  They make an art out of turning in mediocre performances that are poor enough to frustrate managers…but passable enough to keep them employed!

The Soap Star-Their continuing “soap opera” of personal problems not only hurts their own productivity, but distracts sympathetic coworkers who get drawn into their never-ending predicaments and problems.

The Itch-They need constant attention, reassurance, and feedback…and take so much energy and time to manage, you often find yourself sacrificing your job responsibilities to help them meet theirs.

The Smarty Pants-Challenges your management authority openly and forcefully, constantly questions management decisions, and creates a harmful undercurrent of “anti-management” chatter.


What is bad attitude, and how it evolves:

The hallmarks and causes of bad attitude and unacceptable behavior

  • Setting the bar: how to easily recognize a discrepancy between performance expectations and actual behavior.
  • Rare or repeating? How to know if a problem is a one-time occurrence or a chronic, disruptive behavior that demands your prompt attention.
  • Backtracking from symptoms to causes: environmental factors that can lead to serious problems.
  • Trouble brewing? How astute managers spot performance and behavior problems at the start.
  • Are you part of the problem? Insightful self-analysis that gives you an unbiased view of your own role.
  • How to pinpoint a difficult employee’s effect on coworkers and the organization…and choose the appropriate course of action.
  • Are you actually rewarding poor behavior and performance? You may be shocked at the answer.
  • Making your requirements clear: definitively communicating your expectations to an employee who’s falling short.
  • Searching for clues: how to gently question employees to uncover a problem’s cause.
  • When emotions run high: getting at the real truth when dealing with sensitive issues and people.
  • Are coworkers taking sides? How to get everyone’s perspectives while remaining neutral and fair.
  • When the real problem’s not obvious: clever communication techniques that root out simmering conflicts and resentments.


Taking Effective, Decisive Action:

How to manage conflict and counsel for improved performance.

  • Eliminating the obvious: how to ensure a skill deficiency or lack of resources isn’t the source of trouble.
  • The team-play technique: a way to involve employees in forging a solution and guarantee they buy into the plan.
  • You set the pace: modeling a behavior standard that employees respect and imitate.
  • Red flags that foreshadow serious communication gaps and misunderstandings.
  • Communicating despite conflict: smart ways to overcome anger, hostility, and other emotions that can arise during counseling.
  • Personality conflict? How to deal with this often misunderstood problem and forge a truce in the most bitter relationships.
  • Coach or counsel? The difference between these two vital techniques and when to use each.
  • Positive and negative feedback: why you need to know both approaches an d how to avoid common feedback blunders.
  • Whiners, Gossips, Excuse-Makers, Back-Stabbers, Prima Donnas, and many others! Assertive strategies for the commonly encountered problem types.
  • Choosing your approach: an easy model to determine the best way to confront and correct and attitude problem.
  • How to stop bad attitude from spreading like wildfire and affecting an entire workgroup.
  • Proven counseling techniques that get results..even with long-standing, seemingly hopeless performance problems.


Using Firm, Assertive Tactics:

How to discipline to correct performance problems

  • Positive Intervention: how savvy managers use this technique to correct even complex performance issues.
  • Step-by-step discipline: a formal, progressive process every manager should know, practice, and document…every single time.
  • Can you handle it alone? 3 situations that always require outside intervention.
  • Bad attitude…or just strongly opinionated? How to know when someone crosses the line.
  • Cover yourself! Specific documentation that legally protects you if your actions are questioned later.
  • An airtight warning: essential elements every warning (verbal or written) should contain.
  • Yes, you can discipline positively! How to do it while maintaining employee morale, loyalty, and self-confidence.
  • Corrupt criticism: types of harmful criticism that should never be used when disciplining an employee.
  • Are you viewed as fair and consistent? How to avoid the perception you’re singling out certain employees for discipline.
  • Will training help? Situations in which employee training can overcome problems…and how to measure its success.
  • A dose of realism: how to develop reasonable, reachable expectations in employee improvement plans.
  • The problem performer as ally: how to get any worker to buy in and strive for improved performance.


Taking the Last Resort:
How to safely terminate employees when all else fails
  • When to keep trying and when to give up: how to know when you’ve passed the point of no return.
  • Before blaming and finger-pointing: forcing employees to accept responsibility for the actions that trigger formal termination processes.
  • When immediate termination is warranted and how to handle these explosive cases.
  • Softening the blow: how to terminate without sapping someone’s dignity and self-respect.
  • A tough task: how to keep emotions in check and maintain your focus and professionalism when you must terminate.
  • Don’t say this! Verbal termination mistakes that can land you in a lawyer’s office.
  • A termination checklist: a valuable tool to ensure you’ve covered all of the details and followed a fair and complete process.
  • A warning about exceptions: what management experts say about deviating from established company practice and procedure.
  • A fail-safe legal shield: how to build a termination case that’s fully and legally defensible.
  • Put it in writing! Documentation that holds up to the toughest legal scrutiny.


Recovery and Rebuilding Strategies:

Forging ahead after change, upheaval, and problem-solving

  • Managing the “survivors”: how to prevent a termination from hurting the attitude and morale or coworkers.
  • How to strengthen the self-respect and increase the value of your good performers…and avoid common traps that can harm their performance.
  • The Open Communication model: how you can encourage higher morale and productivity with this tested and proven approach.

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