by Jim Martin
Just as a bad manager can destroy the best team working under him, a bad employee can create tensions among his fellow workers and ultimately affect your business in a negative way. Such tensions can tarnish the quality of other employees’ work and ultimately the image and success of the company.
Besides the usual qualifications you look for in a potential employee, you should consider some personality traits. Don’t be fooled by personality tests though. Any intelligent human being can pass them. Someone passing your screening may not even be easy to get along with or honest, but instead simply intelligent enough to tell you what you want to hear.
Hiring an employee with perfect qualifications is great, but some personality traits can spoil any qualifications. Also, some behaviors tolerated in your company could easily reflect badly on you as a business owner. Here are three destructive qualities you must watch for and eliminate whenever you find them, perhaps by removing the offending employee.
Gossiping. Gossips can’t be tolerated in a business. Yet some companies not only tolerate them, but seem to encourage them. As the manager of your business, you should be aware of who spreads gossip. Rewarding a gossip with more responsibility or asking them to report on other employees is not the way to make employees like and respect you. You have more ethical and professional ways to identify people who are not doing their job. Using employees to snitch on other employees should be out of the question.
Make clear up front that gossiping is not something your management values, and that gossips will be removed if necessary. You certainly couldn’t state that you won’t tolerate gossiping if you encourage some employees to snitch on other employees. Such behavior will quickly become known to the other employees, and that will create serious problems.
Throwing Someone else Under the Bus. Something went wrong, and a customer is upset. The employee responsible for the upset customer is quick to blame someone else. This is an unfortunate, yet common, occurrence in many businesses. Often, the person absorbing the guilt will be a subordinate who will be willing to take the blame to keep their job. It’s your duty to do your best not to encourage your subordinates to indulge in this type of behavior. Always try to go to the root. Always investigate fully to find out who is really at fault. In any case, don’t simply believe what you hear when someone is too quick to say it wasn’t them. In the end, it really doesn’t matter who made the mistake, because the company is seen by the customer as a single entity. You shouldn’t keep an employee who prefers shifting the blame to solving the problem.
Peer Pressure. You may have a new employee who works exceptionally well, who unknown to you is the victim of peer pressure. His outstanding work makes lesser employees look bad, and they tell him to slow down, not to work so hard, because it makes them look bad. Usually a hard worker will reveal that some of your employees are not working as hard as they are paid to. If you need to keep less efficient employees, don’t let them pressure your good and excellent ones. Make it clear that everyone should try to excel. Reward those who excel, and ask them if they have any concern if you notice that they excellent work has declined. If you find out that it’s due to peer pressure, remove the sources of the pressure. They are hurting your business.
First, Let Yourself Be a Good Example. Let’s be honest, if you exhibit a bad personality, you can’t expect your employees to show their best behavior. As a manager, director or owner of the company, you will be watched. The culture you spread with your own behavior and personality will become the accepted culture within the company. If you’re moody and unfriendly and don’t know how to greet your employees in an appropriate fashion, how can you expect any better from your employees? If they know that you reward snitches, how can you expect respect or to have business free of gossip? Human nature tends to follow the behavior of the group that surrounds one. What a person might not do on his own, he might very likely do within a group. As a business owner, you are the leader of the group, and as a leader you definitely need to present an example of good behavior.
If you create a company culture that does not tolerate gossip, peer pressure and cowardliness, your business will reaping the rewards of outstanding conduct as the attitudes spread to customers over time.
The author, Sylviane Nuccio writes articles and press releases to help businesses grow, and coaches people about a successful mindset. She can be reached at http://sylvianenuccio.com.