Luke Watkeys, Business Manager
What we say is stop moving people around and start dealing with those underlying issues. Dust off your code of conduct and disciplinary procedure, and have an assertive conversation with them. In this meeting list the concerns that you have and what you expect from them. Focus on behaviours, not personalities, and confirm the outcome in writing.
The first step is the toughest but once you deal with that, everyone gets the message. If your team see that you’re not serious about tackling difficult behaviour, they’re not going to treat you seriously.
So why shouldn’t we just move employees around? Surely it’s being spiteful to discuss the issue, when we can just as easily duck it? Firstly, it suggests that somehow the manager is in the wrong, as in order for harmony to be restored you have to separate both parties. This can easily lead to a deadly culture where managers feel unsupported in taking action by their seniors and or HR.
And if a manager has taken action before the employee is moved, any of this informal or formal management of the behaviour to date can ‘fall through the net’ and fail to be passed on or picked up by the new manager, effectively giving the employee a fresh slate.
If left to continue, the employee moved around can also fail to get managed properly by reams of successive management, so when they’re finally passed on to a manager who takes action, the employee thinks, ‘I’ve had all these previous managers who have never raised issues with me, and now this newcomer decides to take action! As it’s never come up before, my new manager must be the issue, not me.’ Before the new manager knows it, a grievance has been raised against them.
It’s always tempting to take the easy route- the one that will provide a quick fix. Moving those taxing staff and giving a new manager a shot is one of these routes. However, it rarely provides the best solution in the long run. Bear this in mind next time you’re faced with difficult behaviour.