This is a reprint of an article I originally wrote for the Exclusive Series on Multibriefs.com. It first appeared on May 1, 2014. It is talking about the ten negative behaviors that you can easily use to spot employees that either need to get better or need to go.
Expectations versus Reality
As managers, we expect the best behavior from each member of our team all the time. We fully expect our workgroups to be constructive and positive. We expect each member to contribute to a professional environment every day.
But in the real world of business, how do you know when someone is damaging the success of your enterprise? How do you know when to cut someone some slack or terminate their employment?
The essential management challenge is creating an environment where your team can thrive. In order to be the kind of business that people want to work for, you have to have a group of people working for you that come together to get good work done.
Unfortunately, one rotten apple can spoil the whole barrel. One mean, nasty, negative, deceitful person can poison the entire workplace. All of your good work to build up your business can be undone by one destructive person who you allow to keep working for you.
These are the 10 major negative behaviors that simply cannot be tolerated in a productive workplace.
1. Negativity: There is a difference between occasionally disagreeing and always being negative. Some people always undermine your team with their negativity.
2. Unexcused absences: Everyone needs to miss work occasionally, but some people always miss work or miss work at a rate that causes everyone else to double-time it to cover for them. If you allow frequent unexcused absences, you will alienate your good employees and undermine morale.
3. Failure to complete work/assignments: Some people always have a reason why their work is not done. They are full of excuses and spend more time with excuses than they would have spent just doing the work. This again undermines morale by causing everyone else to pick up the slack.
4. Disrespectful or abusive behavior: Everyone will be grumpy or short-tempered on occasion. But there is a difference between having a bad day and being rude and disrespectful. Some people are arrogant and abusive and need to go work for your competitors.
5. Uncooperative or domineering behavior: The political correctness movement has spawned a new breed of bully. These people use gossip, water cooler whispers and social media to undermine your mission. They will smile and agree to your face and then blind copy everyone in the building on a negative email to your boss. If they don’t get their way, they will threaten EEOC violations to bully you into submission. Find out where the whispers start, and you will identify who has to be invited to leave.
6. Failure to give best effort all the time: It is amazing how these same new breed bullies also manage to not get any work done. They won’t give their best effort unless they are getting the glory and recognition they think they deserve. They are selfish saboteurs who clog your work flow.
7. Failure to provide constructive feedback: There is a proper way to train people and a helpful way to give feedback. Crushing a person is rarely a constructive pathway to strong teamwork.
8. Whining: Whining is defined as complaining for the sake of complaining. It is complaining without actively seeking to be involved in the solution. Whining is unethical and destructive. Identifying problems that need to be fixed and helping solve them is good whining. Bad whining is evil and is usually the first sign that someone needs to go.
9. Poorly prepared for work/meeting/group activity: Assuming that the work is valuable and important, failure to prepare yourself adequately to do your job is unethical
10. Subversive behavior: All of the first nine can manifest in a personality that actively undermines your authority by working to destroy the good will between the boss and the employees. Subversive behavior is unethical. If you work for a company that you don’t agree with, you only have two ethical choices. If you are going to accept the paycheck, then swallow your pride and do the job in the manner requested. If you disagree with the way things are being done, then resign and seek other employment. But you do not have the right to take the paycheck and then undermine the programs of your employer. Subversive behavior is the highest form of evil.