This article is the final in a three-part series where I’ve been sharing ideas on…
How Do You Let Others Know You’ve Been Impacted by Something They Said? Part II
This article is part two of a three-part series where I share ideas on how to let someone know that you have been impacted by their inappropriate behaviour in the workplace.
The number of times I hear stories where people are upset with how they’ve been spoken to either one-on-one or in a group, and they don’t know how to let the other person know, continues to surprise and concern me. As Small Business owners, we need to know how to have these conversations with staff, consultants, suppliers and customers (and family and friends).
The first approach I take and recommend is to check if the other person is okay. Often, when on the receiving end of inappropriate behaviours in the workplace, many don’t consider if their colleague may be experiencing stress and the behaviours being demonstrated by them are a reflection of their colleague’s mental health. For more information, refer to part one of this series.
This second article assumes you have equal or more power than the person in question.
We continue from the point where the person demonstrating the inappropriate behaviour has expressed to you that they are okay. Now, you need to talk with them about the behaviour, the impact and how things need to be different from here on.
Things are okay – the next step.
A few years ago, when I stepped into a new role as manager in a team where one team member – Jody – wasn’t doing as asked, I started the conversation the same way as I recommended in part one. But when I was talking with Jody, she said she enjoyed coming to work, liked the team she worked with and life was going well.
Once I was comfortable that Jody was well, and that ‘everything was fine’, I continued by addressing the inappropriate behaviour she had displayed. I had planned, in advance, to talk about the behaviour; I had the date, times, names of witnesses and details of the behaviour written down.
- I started; I asked Jody for her perspective of what happened.
- I listened.
- I then presented the impacts of her behaviour on myself. We talked about whether her behaviour reflected the values of the workplace, which it was agreed, they did not.
- We discussed how Jody could have expressed her concerns differently, which would have matched the values in the workplace. (The values of that workplace included respect for all and working together, which I reference during our chat.)
- During the meeting, Jody identified she would be comfortable using these alternative strategies, if needed, in the future, thus being able to speak freely while demonstrating behaviours which align with the business.
- We also talked through potential consequences if the inappropriate behaviour was demonstrated again, to me or anyone else in the business.
- Before the meeting finished, I let Jody know that I would email her a summary of what was discussed and to correct the email if any of the items were not reported as discussed.
Keeping notes is vital in this situation.
In the best-case scenario, Jody’s behaviour changes and we never need to talk again about these, but in the worst-case scenario where Jody’s behaviour doesn’t change, we have a record of conversation showing that Jody was made aware of her inappropriate behaviour.
Managing people’s performance and behaviours can be a lengthy process where a lot of evidence is required; it’s never too early to start the habit of keeping file notes.
What if it’s someone with more power than you displaying inappropriate behaviour?
The above situation works when addressing a team member or someone of perceived equal power status, but how do you address someone who has more power, e.g. a landlord?
In the final of this three-part serious, I’ll take you through a process where you have a conversation with them, with the aim of achieving a way forward that works for you.
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