Choose Your Mindset Before Addressing Employee Behavior

Jeremy has consistently been late for work and his demeanor has increasingly become more irritable and unpredictable. When he first started with your company two years ago, he was positive, conscientious, and could be counted on as a contributing team member. Now he is unreliable and both his performance and conduct have significantly declined.

As a leader, it’s your responsibility to address what many leaders tend to avoid…having candid conversations with the right mindset.

If you don’t address Jeremy’s behavior and performance, it will negatively impact your work culture. You will lose credibility from other employees who pick up the slack of his work or receive the brunt of his erratic behavior. Jeremy himself is likely to continue to push boundaries because without consequences he’s learned he can.

First things first: Choose your mindset

Before you intervene with an employee with performance or conduct problems, choose your mindset. Based on Jeremy’s behavior and complaints you’ve received from other employees, it’s easy to jump to negative conclusions. The reality is you don’t know the root of what’s going on without him telling you. By taking the time to be intentional about your mindset, you are increasing the likelihood of his receptivity to a candid conversation.

Three conscious choices to prepare your mindset for a candid conversation

1. Choose to be a leader where employees feel seen and cared for

All employees, including those behaving like Jeremy, want to know they matter. While it is important to respect the boundaries of an employee’s personal life, showing a genuine interest may decrease his defensiveness and increase the likelihood of him taking responsibility for his behavior.

2. Choose your words, tone, and posture wisely  

What you say and how you say it impacts how receptive Jeremy will be to you. Be intentional to convey verbally and non-verbally both concern and boundaries.

3.  Choose your response

You cannot control how Jeremy will respond. You can and must control of how you respond. Commit to staying calm, compassionate and clear about what behavior needs to change as well as next steps. Whether next steps are probation, drug testing, and/or referral to your EAP, taking a stand about acceptable behavior with a caring presence will make an impact, even if he doesn’t acknowledge it.

As a leader, you set the tone for your team or company. Your language, presence, and mindset impact everyone around you and can significantly influence the outcome of candid conversation.

Make the Conscious Choice to establish a mindset that will optimize the outcome of your next candid conversation

Next Steps

  • Share this blog with colleagues who need a mindset shift towards challenging employees.
  • Learn more about creating a High Performing Culture in your organization