Welcome back let’s jump in where we left off. How do you differentiate between an employee’s personality and their work? In making this determination be mindful that you may have a difficult time being objective. You are too close to the situation and you “have a dog in this fight”. That being said, if you are having a difficult time being objective have two other managers that are not close to the situation analyze it for you. Getting the perspective of two other people will ensure that the outcome is unbiased.
Let’s say it’s determined that employee’s personality is not a good fit for the environment you are trying to create. If their attitude is affecting the other employees in a negative manner pull them aside and let them know their behavior will not be tolerated. If their attitude is disruptive to the point that they are insubordinate then by all means take the appropriate personnel action to discipline them. Depending on the policy of your company and more times than not you cannot terminate an employee because of one infraction. However, if you have established a paper trail of infractions then by all means help them leave your company (fire them). Before you fire someone be mindful of our current economic climate. They may be a pain but all of us have to eat.
Before you go there and fire someone reiterate the changes you are making and why you are making them. Be honest and sincere with them by asking if they want to be a part of the new environment you’re creating. If they say no then be stern in letting them know that their actions will not be tolerated. Let them know there are no hard feelings and encourage them to seek employment elsewhere. If you want you may let them know you are willing to be a reference for them.
Let’s say it’s determined that their work product is the issue. What is lacking the quality, quantity or both? Are they late meeting deadlines, does someone always have to review their work because it is riddled with mistakes? Exactly what is the problem? In order to fix the problem you have narrow it down to its lowest common denominator. For example does this happen at certain times of the year, say only during the company’s busy season, are there things going on in their personal life that may be affecting their work? Really hone in on the problem so you can discuss the problem and not a symptom. Confronting an employee with a symptom will only make matters worse because it will appear as if you are being petty and picking on them.
The last thing you want an employee to think is that you don’t care about them. I’m not saying have dinner at your employee’s house. What I am saying is part of developing a good relationship with your employees is making sure they know you care about them. Demonstrating that you are human and care about other humans will immediately give you loyalty. We’ll talk about how to treat employees in a future post.
Now if the problem is their work one of the first things you need to do is ensure the employee is aware of their responsibilities. Have a meeting with them and clearly explain their duties and responsibilities as laid out in their position/job description. During this meeting you may also want to inform them of what your expectations are of them. If they don’t have a position/job description coordinate with human resources to develop one. It is unwise to take a disciplinary action against an employee, regarding their work, without ensuring they are fully aware of their duties and responsibilities. In our next post we’ll talk about ways you can turn this unproductive employee into a productive employee.
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The state or fitness level of your department, company or organization depends on how you view the environment and your employees. In order to create a healthy work environment you, as the manager, have to be clear of the type of environment you want. What type of personality do you have? Are you laid back, task oriented, people oriented etc.? Do a self-analysis and then decide what type of environment you want.
Now that you’ve decided what type of environment you want let’s start creating it. If the environment you want to create is different from the current environment you have to develop a systemic plan to change it. You cannot go off half-cocked and think you will be successful. People may not notice subtle changes but the more changes you make the more difficulty you’re going to have “selling” the changes. To some extent you have to be honest with your employees of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Many people do not adjust to change easily and the more information they have the easier it will be to adjust. Lay out your plan so your employees know what the next step is and keep them abreast of the status of the plan. Make sure you are constantly communicating during the changing process.
Part of changing the environment means you are the first person that has to change. Before you lay your plan out make sure you are fully committed to making these changes. Changing a work environment is not an easy task you have to up for the challenge and be able to see it through to the end. If you are totally in then put that plan together and roll it out. I say you are the first person that has to change because you may have to change the way you view some of your employees. Part of changing the environment is making sure you have the right people in the right places. In order to do this you need to have an unbiased view your employees.
If you want your employees to change you have to change the way you view them. I’m not saying that some employees aren’t contributing to your negative perception of them. Yes, some employees just need to change their place of employment and if that’s not something you have thought of it’s worth considering. If you go that route, be mindful there is a formal process for as I like to say “helping someone leave” (firing someone).
You have to analyze how you view your employees the good, the bad and the indifferent. If you are partial to certain employees everyone knows it. You may have to be more impartial towards them. Let’s move to the more difficult employees. In order to change your perception of these employees you have to discover what the problem is. Is the problem the person or their work? In order to accurately discover the problem you must differentiate between the two. You can have a difficult employee and it have nothing to do with the duties they perform. Personality conflicts occur in every workplace.
Speaking of organizational fitness does this person “fit” in your organization? Does their personality mesh well with the atmosphere you are trying to create? Maybe they don’t belong in your department. Maybe their personality will mesh well with another manager or maybe just with another company. On the flip side are you the manager the difficult person in the situation? All personality conflicts are not the employee’s fault, just something to consider. Once again you have to determine if it’s the person or their work. We’ll dig deeper into this issue in our next post. Stay tuned.
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