Difficult Employee Behaviors - When to Fix, When to Ignore

Rick Weaver
August 31, 2009 — 2,817 views  
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As a new supervisor, Joan was determined she would have a positive impact on all her employees. She began her assignment by visiting each of her employees individually and chatting about their backgrounds and career aspirations.

When she had her first meeting with Mike she noticed his office was extremely messy. Knowing some people are able to find things quickly she put him to the test. She asked for someone's phone number and watched as Mike searched through stacks of paper looking for the company directory. Then she asked him about a big project he had completed the previous week. Again he had to search through drawers and stacks of folders delicately leaning against the wall before eventually coming across the project folder.

Joan was determined to help Mike become more proficient at finding things in his office. She stopped by the bookstore on her home and purchased a book about organizing office space. The next morning she tried to deliver the book to him but he was not in his office.

Deciding to simply leave the book on his desk she laid the book on one of Mike's delicately balanced stacks. It immediately fell over onto the floor. Not feeling right about leaving the mess, she went to the back of the desk and, looking under it, she gasped at what she saw.

There on the floor was the same book, a bookmark sticking from the top indicated the last supervisor had given it to him.

The lesson

Not everyone is motivated by the gentle prodding Joan demonstrated. Sometimes stronger means are necessary.

It is important to remember businesses are judged largely by the bottom-line. Personality traits, such as peculiar behavior or messy desks, do not always have an impact on sustainability. When they do not we must consider if the trait will at some point begin to effect the bottom-line.

However remember that profitability is the relationship of two key elements - income and expenses. Business activities seldom affect only one. Something such as an unorganized employee can impact expenses through lost productivity, as evidenced by Mike's long searches for the documents he needed. But income is effected when we are unable to find the information Mike cannot readily produce or when Mike is slow to respond to a customer or supplier.

Work on your personality trait challenges before someone else tries to help. Don't be like Mike and just try to hide them under your desk.

Author Rick Weaver is President of Max Impact Corporation, a leadership and strategy development company. He offers more anecdotal leadership lessons in his book, "Life's Leadership Lessons", a collection of 53 anecdotes about his life. Rick reveals how the people, events, and things he has encountered in his life taught him valuable leadership lessons. The book is available in paperback, e-book, or a Kindle download. For more information or to download the first chapter to preview, visit: Life's Leadership Lessons.

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Rick Weaver