Redefine Attitudes when dealing with difficult employees and office gossip

by on June 30, 2009 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Info Center

Dealing with difficult employees and fighting the war on office gossip can become a performance evaluation

When an employee has a “bad attitude,” there is no way to gauge it. You know they’re spreading office gossip and rumors, you know they’re spreading negativity. But, there is no documentation, and generally no concrete regulations breached. How, then, can a manager define the problem? Managers have to take “attitude” out of the subjective and make it objective. If you are going to complain about office gossip and dealing with difficult employees, difficult and gossip must be defined, measured. The old phrase, “If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it” makes sense here.

  • Get rid of the word “attitude” completely. That concept should be nowhere in our workplace vocabulary. It shouldn’t be on any evaluation, it should never be verbalized to an employee.
  • Establish a behaviors standard. When somebody says, “I do my job,” therefore, you can respond, “No, 50% of your job is your ability to get along with customers, clients, co-workers and your boss.” Communicate the behavior expectations, and how much behavior has to do with the job itself.
  • Maintain positive work atmosphere by acting, communicating in a manner so that you get along with customers, clients, and co-workers. What we owe to the employees is the communication of standard. And, what we owe to ourselves is to live up to that standard as well. Be an example.

Managers are traditionally pretty good at communicating performance standards. Communicating behavior standards, however, is not too common. If behavior standards are set to the same line as performance standards, there would be no more excuses like, “I do my job.”

It is especially difficult when a worker is productive but his or her behavior is awful. Does the bad behavior, the office gossip, and the negativity outweigh his productivity? Perhaps it will be obvious if it comes to a point where you no longer care how productive they are. They’re detrimental to the key team. Their negativity, their office gossip and their trouble is destroying the team.

Edited Remarks from “Gossip, Gab and the Grapevine: How to Neutralize Its Negative Impact” by Hunter Lott

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