Modifying Employee Behavior
Essentially, it is difficult (if not impossible) to change the behavior of some employees. Generally speaking, the only way you can hope to modify or change someone’s behavior is by:
- Making them aware of their behavior;
- Advising them of the impact of their behavior on others;
- Creating an environment which requires the person to change, and providing them with the skills/training needed to modify their behavior;
- Clearly defining the expected changes and reinforcing the changes in behavior when they are observed;
- Confronting the employee each time the employee responds inappropriately. Over time they may realize that you will no longer tolerate their inappropriate behavior;
- Clearly defining the consequences for failure to change and invoking the consequences if they fail to change;
- Documenting your interview(s).
To communicate your required behavioral changes, a six part message format can be used. It is designed to get the employees attention, to focus on their behavior, and inform them of the consequences for failure to change.
- Describe their behavior.
- Describe how their behavior affects the group.
- Describe how their behavior affects the coworker who is the recipient of their behavior (if appropriate).
- Describe how you feel about their behavior.
- Describe your future performance expectations.
- Describe the sanctions for failure to change.
And of course, DOCUMENT the conversation and have the employee agree on the behavior changes.
~ This is an excerpt from Working With Difficult Employee Problems, a Mastering Leadership Skills seminar.