Managing employees can be a wonderful experience when you have people who understand the importance of being team players, who follow through on assignments and maintain a level of professionalism in the workplace.
I would argue that most employees understand these unspoken rules within the workplace. Most are interested in growing their careers, contributing to the company, getting along with their co-workers and doing a good job. But from time to time, you may be faced with an employee who is not aware or doesn't care when his behavior or actions crosses a line.
As a manager, here are some things that you may want to keep in mind and address with your staff should these occur:
The attitude problem
Do you have an employee in your workplace who is so negative that it affects the morale of your other employees?
Negativity from a co-worker not only can cause turmoil, affect productivity and create job dissatisfaction for your other employees, but it also can result in your losing your best staff.
Always speak with any employee who is being inappropriately combative, cynical or dismissive. Try to find out what his underlying issues are and whether his outbursts have anything to do with job dissatisfaction. Sometimes, making your employee aware of the behaviour and how it affects others will help to resolve the issue.
The office romance
You spend most of your time in the office, so it is natural that an occasional office romance may blossom. It is actually quite common. Unfortunately, a line is sometimes crossed when the relationship is between a supervisor and employee or between two co-workers within the same department or division.
Supervisor and employee romances are fraught with legal issues and should be avoided at all costs. Co-worker romances, which may seem harmless, could backfire if the relationship ends and the co-workers are still working on projects together or sit in close proximity to each other.
Productivity and staff morale can go out the window in these cases. Although you can't mandate that your employees not be involved with their co-workers, you can certainly make your standards of professionalism clear to all of your employees.
You will also want to immediately address any instances where it appears that your co-workers’ relationships are spilling over into the office. Kissing, hand-holding and romantic small talk should not be allowed as it not only makes other employees uncomfortable, but it is unprofessional in a business setting.
How often have you heard an off-colour or downright offensive joke in the workplace, or a comment that clearly crosses the line?
You want to foster a workplace culture that is inclusive and free from harassment.
Don’t allow your staff to make statements that are offensive or inappropriate in any way. Address comments that you hear immediately and be sure to follow up on concerns that your employees may bring to your attention.
Managers often assume that there is no need to discuss a specific dress code when hiring new staff because they believe that their employees should understand what is considered appropriate.
Conversely, you may have an employee who believes that she is dressing appropriately because she assumes that if she were not, that you would have told her so.
If your expectation is that for business reasons, employees cannot wear sneakers, shorts or open-toed footwear to work, tell them so and explain your rationale behind the decision. You will need to make sure that your dress policy is consistently applied with all staff (and always put it in writing).
The unreliable employee
Stealing from the workplace, creating conflict with other employees or not turning up for work are all signs of an employee who cannot be trusted.
As a manager, you must address these issues immediately and determine whether further management counselling, a suspension or termination is in order.
Addressing workplace issues when they occur and clearly communicating and managing expectations are the key to ensuring that the workplace is productive, professional and even fun.