Hey Team Leader! How Do You Handle This??

I run a small upholstery company and we have many staff members in a  confined space. Personal habits have become a real problem. Some people talk too loudly, or have jarring noises coming from their computers. People bark at each other, tattle to me, use the silent treatment on each other, and even complain about body odor – it’s driving me crazy! Am I supposed to manage these silly things? I have a business to run, and yet at times I feel like I am running a daycare center.

Signed,

Fed Up

My thought: Welcome to leadership. We learn all these great ideas for motivating people, staying close to customers, managing both cash and strategy, building teams, and driving results and it all comes down to childish behavior.

So, I have a couple thoughts:

  1.     Ask yourself – Why do some people behave this way? From a very young age, these behaviors all worked to get us what we wanted. We have history and experience that show us how our behaviors can get us what we want, from throwing tantrums, crying, talking behind people’s backs, fibbing, and holding back affection. Many of us out-grew these behaviors as our pre-frontal cortex developed and it is the center for our judgements and empathy. Unfortunately, some of us didn’t.
  2.     Yes, this is your job….. even though it looks like kindergarten. Ignore these skirmishes at your own peril. You have a culture problem. Culture is defined as the two worst behaviors the leader is willing to tolerate. What we tolerate, we promote.
  3.     Some teams have proper nutrition and snacks available and also provide workout facilities. Sleep and vacation aren’t just nice, many organizations are strongly supporting and guiding these activities, not simply to make employees happy, but also to stop the productivity stealing behaviors previously described.  
  4.     And have team discussions with everyone around norms of conduct, standards, and values that everyone agrees. Set expectations for the behaviors you will all tolerate. Show your team how to have the more difficult conversations. And then you can hold them accountable to behaviors your whole team have agreed to.  

 

Can’t figure out if you are in high school or preschool? Oh wait, you’re at work!

Jim

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