How to Deal with Unacceptable Behavior in the Workplace


Tempers flaring? Attitudes need adjusting? Workers slacking off?

It must be summer!

While most of your employees are probably even-keeled and productive all year long, the heat of the summer can sometimes heat things up in the workplace. If you’re experiencing productivity, attitude or culture problems right now, here are a few ways to fix them:

Identify contributing factors.

Consider workplace issues and dynamics that could be fueling employees’ bad behavior:

  • Have they been working long hours? Excessive overtime contributes to job stress and burnout.
  • Is the physical environment demanding? Hot, noisy and/or cramped work environments make doing a job difficult.
  • Are personalities to blame? Differences in temperament and work style can lead to clashes on the job.
  • Is there just too much to do? If employees feel crushed under the weight of their own work, it can manifest in poor attitudes and performance.
  • Does your company culture stink? Poor organizational culture can drive down productivity and fuel petty arguments.

If any of these issues could be an underlying cause of unacceptable behavior, do what you can to mitigate or eliminate them. PrideStaff’s experts can help you evaluate your situation and recommend appropriate solutions.

Make sure you’re not a culprit.

You undoubtedly work extremely hard – often under intense pressure – to deliver on your objectives. That stress can sometimes lead to a short fuse, which may prompt you to lash out at employees. If you’re noticing bad behavior from your employees, consider whether you could be unwittingly contributing to the problem. And if you find that’s the case, here are a few pointers for setting a better example:

  • Don’t react; respond. Hold your tongue, keep perspective even when you’re frustrated, and model the calm, productive behaviors you want your employees to exhibit.
  • Explain what you want; not what you don’t. Negative words just breed negative energy.
  • Provide regular coaching and feedback. Keep employees and projects on-track by frequently checking in and providing actionable feedback, but be careful not to micromanage employees to death.
  • Ask for employee input. Make sure your employees know that your expectations for your own behavior are as high as those you have for employees. Put your ego aside and solicit honest, objective input on your management style by conducting an anonymous survey. Use what you learn to become a more positive, effective leader and improve your culture.

Decide whether you need to address bad behavior – or let it go.

Everyone has their “moments,” and sometimes you may choose to ignore a single incident of poor behavior to avoid creating a bigger problem. But if you need to address a situation:

  • Be direct and diplomatic. Call the offending employee into a private meeting to discuss their behaviors, as soon after an incident as possible. Clearly and calmly explain the unwanted behavior (as well as acceptable alternatives), sticking to the facts.
  • Get to the root of the problem. Use probing questions and active listening to understand the factors contributing to the employee’s bad behavior.
  • Stay objective. If the individual is stubborn, unreasonable or argumentative, don’t get sucked in. Stay calm and focused on resolving the situation.
  • Brainstorm solutions and outline a plan of action. Get the employee’s buy-in on a course of action moving forward to prevent the problem from recurring, including consequences for non-compliance.

Want to replace an employee whose behavior is unacceptable – or avoid hiring them in the first place?

PrideStaff’s On Target fulfillment process eliminates the guesswork, chance and inconsistency in staffing – and ensures you receive better quality candidates, each and every time. Contact your local PrideStaff office to learn more.