Changing Employee Behavior


As supervisors and team leaders of your facility, you are often dealing with staff issues. A conflict within employees, a certain individual who is not performing up to par or a task that’s been missed or just completely forgotten. It’s a sensitive area and you need to be able to handle these situations with care and concern. In the care industry, staff often become like Family and they take pride in their work. Of course, there is always an exception to this rule.

For many, they began working in your facility because they care for their patients and are genuinely concerned about what they do. Yet for the selected few, this is just a “JOB” and a means to pay their bills.

This attitude reflects in everything they do and say at work and this in turn begins to reflect in their performance at work. Then you get notices that this certain individual not pulling their weight in the team, coming in late, not completing assignments, causing distractions on the job, irritating co-workers How do you deal with this? You are now in a situation where there in a kink in your teams’ chain and it’s beginning to cause concerns within.

As the lead and let’s face it, you sometimes wish it would just go away and work itself out. They are adults they can handle this can’t they? Why do I need to get involved? You do not want to be portrayed at the “bad guy”. But will you putting off that heart-to-heart discussion with the person who’s driving you crazy, hoping they’ll have a miraculous recovery solve the problem? Well you may have to wait for a long time. For whatever reason, these behaviors work for them, so they are unlikely to change them on their own.
You see, it’s likely that they can be taking your lack of interest in the matter as an approval of the way they do things. That it’s alright to continue with their way of doing things, their manners and how they treat other employees for there is nobody there who is stating or requesting change. It’s their way and they are quite happy in doing so.

Remember, the rest of the staff is also watching this transpire. No involvement from the managers or directors means that you approve of all of it. In which case, they might also assume that such behavior is OK for them as well. Can you see how this can escalate into bigger and more complex issues?

Most likely, your non-action will cause them to begin questioning your credibility. You are in the supervisor position to enforce the high standards of performance and ethics of the company. So if you allow such actions to go without discussion, then there is a double standard. Most people want to work for someone who has high standards. They want someone to look up to and strive towards and make them happy so everyone can be happy. It’s called team effort.

So here are some actions to correct the problem behavior.

1. Approach the situation with respect and care. Remember what you bring to the table will be reflected back to you.
2. Be specific with the problem. If there are more than one issue be sure to address them one by one
3. Discuss each of your concerns and be clear and precise
4. Reflect what they contribute to the team
5. Ask them their opinion and LISTEN to their response
6. Take notes and acknowledge their concerns and statements
7. Be specific about company policy, rules and expectations
8. Come to a mutual agreement without “the I said so” concept
9. Be sure to follow up with your employee and if you feel that YOU need more support then you can always rely on me.

To support you in making this conversation less stressful, here are a few ideas to get you in the right frame of mind.

–Pick the right time to talk. You are aware what their schedule entails, so pick a time when it’s not so chaotic. For example. You wouldn’t take them away from their duties when it’s time to serve lunch or when you or they are under pressure. The tension will be increased and the emotions will be affected which could lead to a very unproductive meeting.

–Have your meeting in a private location where their peers can hear the discussion. Do not make this meeting an open topic of discussion. Letting others know of the meeting or involving everyone is not a powerful action.

–Be sure to have all of your facts in place before the meeting. Keep a record of the events and transactions that describe their unacceptable behavior and actions and ask yourself “Why am I keeping this person instead of just hiring someone to replace them?”

–Remember you are requesting this meeting from a powerful and caring role. You are there to coach them, discuss the situation and listen to their concerns, yet reflect to them about their responsibilities as part of the team. If things become heated, remind yourself and your staff member that this meeting is to facilitate and support and not chastise.

–What you discuss with the individual will reflect in their work. So speak of their possibility, their greatness and how much they mean to the team. Treat them like a winner and they will perform like a winner. Boosting their confidence changes not only their performance but their behavior as well. You have to BELIEVE this person is worth coaching and keeping on your team.

–And again, never forget to follow up. This shows that you care and are concerned not just for the facility but for the individual as well. See how they are managing the change and how the other employee’s are addressing it. This may not come easy or instantly, so be patient and recognize their efforts and progress.

Remember, you are the person that your staff looks to for guidance and leadership. If you want them to perform their tasks and love their job, then you must lead the way and reflect the same feelings.

Your staff members are not just employee’s they are family. That loving and caring feeling that you show to them reflects all the way down to the patients. And in reality, why are you doing what you do? Why do you care as much as you do? Think about how your facility would benefit with incredible leadership and coaching. Everyone benefits, ESPECIALLY the patients! Think about it…

Nicole Gruendl
Life and Success Coach



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