Most managers probably expect that the employees under their supervision will behave in the appropriate professional manner in the workplace. However, that does not always happen. Management may encounter employees that behave immaturely by goofing off, exhibiting childish behavior or continually reacting instead of responding. This article will address guidelines for managers in dealing with immature employees.
How Management Can Deal with Immature Employees
When one employee behaves immaturely in the workplace, it can negatively affect the atmosphere and decrease the productivity level of the entire office. There are ways that management can educate immature employees regarding suitable boundaries in the workplace and how to develop as a professional.
Step # 1: Schedule a Meeting with the Employee
The first step is to schedule a meeting with the employee. The issue needs to be discussed one on one in an office space or meeting room where you won’t be interrupted. The biggest mistake that a manager can make is to publicly reprimand the employee. That could only further incense the misbehaving employee and derail any attempts at the manager trying to salvage the situation. However, if you witness immature behavior in the office, that shouldn’t be ignored. Deal with it like a rational adult and respond calmly, saying that such behavior is not tolerated in the workplace.
Step # 2: Clearly Identify the Unacceptable Behavior
When you meet with the employee, it is vital to be prepared for the discussion. Don’t wait to handle this in a nonchalant manner. It is important that you have listed out the negative behaviors. However, remember to think with constructive criticism and don’t be harsh in your presentation of the issue. If you are harsh, you run the risk of the employee becoming defensive or aggressive. During this meeting, you must focus on why the employee’s immature behavior creates an issue for the office. Explain how such behavior disrupts the office and has a negative impact on client relationships. While clearly defining the unacceptable behavior, you need to address the fact that if no improvement is seen, action will have to be taken by management—which can result in further discipline or dismissal.
Step # 3: Request to Hear the Employee’s Perspective
The employee needs to know that you want to understand his or her perspective on the issue. Request an explanation of the reason behind the immature behavior. Find out if the employee has any ideas on how to address the behavior and rectify the situation in the workplace. This is the perfect opportunity for the manager to provide a description of the acceptable form of behavior that is expected at the office. Create a conduct review plan which integrates the behaviors discussed and what the professional development goals are.
Step # 4: Integrate Professional Behavior Policies
It is important to integrate professional behavior policies into the general population of the office. Never single out the employee who misbehaved when you hold one of these meetings. These policies can be addressed and periodically reviewed during regular staff meetings or they can be discussed at a special gathering. When the entire staff understands the expected behaviors, it will cultivate an atmosphere of professionalism. This will lower the chances of immature behavior coming into play.
Step # 5: Follow up with the Employee
Task yourself to schedule a follow up meeting in 3 – 6 months with the employee to go over the conduct review plan. This may seem like more of “babysitting” behavior. However, if you want to cultivate a professional atmosphere in the workplace, it is vital to follow up with the employee. This individual deserves a chance to change his or her behavior and make things right. Revisit the issue again in another 6 months and if the situation has improved, you can cease the follow up. If the situation has gotten worse, disciplinary action or dismissal may need to occur.
Resources for Management in Dealing with Immature Employees
There are various resources available to assist management in dealing with immature employees and those with problematic issues. Check out the listing below.
- Martyn Carruthers from SystematicCoaching.com has written an article on Systematic Solutions for Problematic Employees.
- Susan Heathfield from HumanResources.com wrote an article on Employee Management & Leadership in the Workplace. She provides resources on the following: training, development, coaching, mentoring, employee motivation, and management of day-to-day employee performance.
It is important for management to follow a specific set of policies and procedures when it comes to dealing with immature employees. The issue needs to be addressed privately with the employee and the manager. It is vital for the unacceptable behavior to be clearly identified. Management needs to properly integrate professional behavior policies into the workplace. Intentional and consistent follow up with the employee is also important.