Often times we are inclined to let poor performance or inappropriate behavior slide because we simply do not want to deal with the conflict. BAD IDEA. In the long term this will kill your credibility and drive out your top performers. Top performers will boil as they hear “slugs” talking on the phone to their boy or girl friend, surfing the internet, showing up late regularly or any variety of performance related issues. These behaviors will infuriate top performers who will tolerate it to a point.
When you ignore behaviors like this your people are thinking one of two things…either you don’t care…or you are clueless and don’t get it. Either thought will kill your credibility. As a manager, your credibility is one of your most valuable assets. It is that credibility that enables you to deliver tough news and still keep employees motivated. It is that credibility that will get your people to go the extra mile when you need them in an emergency. Once you lose that credibility you go from being a great manager to being a mediocre manager.
As your credibility is dropping, your top performers are getting fed up with the “slugs” and begin thinking about “greener pastures.” Once they start thinking about “greener pastures” they are only one step away from posting their resume on Career Builder or…worse yet…actively applying for other positions. At that point…you have already lost them as employees because someone will love to snap up a top performer.
In most cases you know what behaviors are unacceptable as do your people…if you don’t…then you need to outline them and let your people know. Take the person surfing the internet. In most cases it is not a single occurrence. Walking by their cube you will see a search engine up time and time again or overhear them talking to their boy or girl friend on a regular basis. Hey…you can tell when a call is personal or not.
Set your expectations for your people if you have not done so and then start to hold your people accountable. The best people will love you…the “slugs” will not like it but they will begin to follow your guidelines. If they don’t…sit them down and tell them their behavior is unacceptable. Write them up if they don’t start to comply. It is a VERY SIMPLE process. It just takes some diligence and courage to deal with the potential conflict. But guess what…that’s your job…and your best people will expect you to do your job! If you don’t…they will express their displeasure by posting their resume on Career Builder or, worse yet, start to actively look at job postings. In either case…THEY WILL LEAVE…and you will eventually be left with a department of “slugs” because you avoided making the tough decisions and let your credibility slide.