Updated: Aug 18
Change is nothing but a Domino effect.
When attitude changes, our thoughts change
When thought changes, our behaviors change
When behavior changes, our actions change
When action changes, results change
Facilitating a behavioral change in your employees, especially when you notice wrong and defeating behaviors is very crucial if you want to create the right kind of productive environment for your business. When these behaviors appear, either from existing employees or new joiners, either you can choose to do nothing, thinking the friction caused could lead to the employee leaving the company or take action in a manner that would not only solve the problem but would also facilitate a change in behavior in concerned employee/s.
Why is it important to confront and deal with these behaviors as soon as it appears? Dealing can be done in various ways depending on how important the employee’s expertise and value is to the organization. Also, if the employee has been misled or it is not normal behavior. Behavior change strategies for negative behaviors are means of getting the behaviors that you want from your employees. Hence, one has to be careful and use tactics that are not hurtful and will do more good than harm, maintain relationships, and do not create distrust.
Catch the Signs Early and take Action
Toxic employees can do the work of termites for a business’s reputation. They usually exhibit one or more of the following behaviors at work:
Such people, as nature, operate with a highly negative attitude
Many are lazy or cunning and manipulate others to do their work for them
Their idle time outweighs their productive time
They very successfully, play the blame game, blaming others and justifying themselves all the time
Such people carry baggage throughout their lives unless they meet someone who can change their mindset
They operate in a negative manner all the time, in their work, with co-workers and also the management
They gossip and spread toxic gossip among their co-workers
They are argumentative and do not get along well with others, always finding fault with others
Employees showing such negative and unproductive behaviors need to be counseled and brought on track, especially if the employee is a performing employee and for some reason has gone off track. At the same time, if the employee is a habitual offender, sack them. No two ways about it. Allowing such employees in the organization will slowly drain the efficacy and efficiency of the business, create a bad name for your company, as such employees do not restrict their behavior to inside the office thus harming business reputation.
How can such dilemmas be tackled in a positive manner?
If there are employees, there is bound to be few who fall into the category of toxic employees, at some time or the other. To create and maintain a positive and productive work environment, it is necessary to facilitate behavioral change. Helping your employee to amend negative behavior is always the better option, especially if the employee is otherwise a valuable part of your team. It is important to follow the right steps to enable behavioral changes with your employees thus reinforce positive behaviors and reducing the negative ones.
Training and Coaching Training and Coaching work at developing employees over a period of time. The training provided helps in building awareness, sensitivity and helps in inculcating the right work behavior expected. It involves providing consistent feedback, thru communication intended to adjust behaviors. Along with this, it is important to understand in the first place why and what triggered the bad behavior, action remedial measures ensuring they have understood where they have faulted and developed the knowledge and skills they require in their position to move their career forward. Make employees feel valued, encourage and support them. Offer them challenges. Reward them when they do a good job This makes them feel valued by the company and its management. Employees feel pride and satisfaction that often comes with taking on new challenges.
Tackle One Issue at a Time – Take baby steps Since emotions and egos are involved as in any kind of personal turmoil, the most sure-fire way to help employees to change their behavior is to tackle one issue at a time. Such a strategy not only helps you focus on one area, penetrate the change and then shift to other areas. If you try tackling all issues at one time, it could develop into a conflict on its own. It would also make sense to tackle this on a one to one basis since for every employee, the issues and behaviors would be different and due to varied causes. Also, create a mechanism that captures the required change in the employee, else the employee can go back to his or her original behavior. If this happens, the necessary actions will have to be taken.
Inspire Your Employees We all need inspiration and motivation, on and off. These are tools that can take awareness and productivity to another level. One of the best ways to achieve behavioral changes amongst employees is to inspire them. Inspiring is going to a deeper level of consciousness, whereby the employee is motivated to reach into their inner self and bring out their passions, their hidden talents to the fore which goes a long way in building self-esteem, self-worth and confidence, leading to greater employee productivity.
Set the Correct Context Contexts and life circumstances influence behavior patterns. The importance and necessity of support from family and friends cannot be diluted. They form the anchor, the support system that helps us get through any crisis. In the same manner, it is very important for every employee to have a healthy support system in their professional space too. Many companies have understood this necessity and have introduced Bud and Buddy, Mentor and Mentee and Counseling systems and programs to provide the necessary support and guidance to any employee whenever required.
Ever so often, employees will go through highs and lows, which will play the catalyst for them to pick up some bad habits. As a leader, you need to notice this change and find effective ways to deal with such behaviors before they become toxic.