One of the most difficult parts of my job is having difficult conversations with employees about correcting their bad behavior. There is always the temptation to not address the problem, hoping it will go away, avoiding the confrontation and uncomfortable interaction. This is always a mistake. I have made this mistake many times. This mistake communicates to the rest of our team that bad behavior is acceptable. So basically, it risks turning our good teammates into bad teammates.

But I also don’t want to be cold and heartless and just crush someone’s spirit at every opportunity. The right answer is a clear, fact-based, and straightforward conversation about expectations and responsibilities. Define the behavior, what needs to change, and what the timeframe is for seeing the change take place. It also needs to be explained that the behavior will not be tolerated in the future. How often have we seen a change take place for a few weeks only to revert to the bad behavior soon after?

Before all of this, however, I try to look in the mirror and see what part of the problem my responsibility is. Taking the proverbial look in the mirror usually reveals something I need to work on as well.

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