Deal with problems in the office honestly, immediately and directly

Deal with problems in the office honestly, immediately and directly

I was at a networking event when one of the people at my table shared a difficulty he was having with one of the members of his team. The team member had been with the company in various roles for the past 15 to 20 years but never risen above the level of clerical.

The problem he was having was every month or so this employee would do something small to set the entire team into a tailspin. On the surface they didn’t seem like major incidences but the net result was lowered morale amongst the team and general frustration.

One time he set his email to forward to a coworker while he was away on holiday because there were “one or two important emails he was expecting.” Another time he moved the water cooler closer to his desk because “he gets a lot of water throughout the day and he wanted it to be closer.”

The person at my table chalked it up to this fellow being clueless but that isn’t the case. These acts are deliberate and intentional and while the motivation may be unknown this behaviour needs to stop and it’s his manager’s responsibility to be honest with him about how it affects the team and to be honest about the ramifications if this behaviour continues.

The next time this individual does something akin to the two incidences mentioned above his manager needs to immediately address this behaviour by outlining exactly what he did that is unacceptable, how it affects the team and what will happen if it happens again.

The manager’s honesty will move towards an office that doesn’t have to walk on eggshells and doesn’t have to have whispered meetings about how this person will react to a potential change.

The positive change in your group won’t happen overnight but by making honest the best policy, you’ll start to see a trend upwards.

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