“People Issues”… A dreaded source of insomnia for both leaders and teams.

One of the biggest challenges we face at work can be negotiating the minefield of behavioural “people issues” around us. ‘People issues” is a pretty broad term – I’m referring specifically to situations where repeated poor work behaviours impact relationships with colleagues and/or performance.

Early awareness can be key in easily

resolving issues that impact work.

In airport lounges and at major city thoroughfares at lunch times, employees and leaders venting about frustrating relationships with colleagues is the most common type of work conversation I find myself overhearing.

Whilst an actual physical skill deficit can be addressed with a practical learning exercise, it can be tricky improving long-term poor attitudes and/or counter-productive behaviours. Having been there as a leader, I can attest it can be very time consuming.

Suggestions for getting it right from the get-go?

  • Lead by example. It goes without saying that leaders and managers should exhibit excellent communication skills and walk-the-talk values. On-going reassessment is vital.

  • Assess your overall employee experience and culture as a means of providing positive stimuli to drive positive attitudes at work. I read an interesting article which suggests that repeated good and bad behaviour is often a result of habit. Change the trigger for the habit and the behaviour can change also.

  • Ascribe clear work character and behaviour expectations to employees from the get-go. This should go hand in hand with a thorough and positive onboarding when employment commences.

“Seek to understand.

And then be understood…” Stephen Covey

  • Nip challenging behaviours in the bud early. Seek to understand why this is occurring. Discuss the effect on others clearly. Provide a consequence if the behaviour doesn’t change.

  • Create situations where team members work together to solve problems. Develop their skills in negotiation and collaboration.

  • Bias minimisation awareness is a great way to reduce people issues. Whilst we can’t eliminate biases that influence our behaviour towards others, if we understand how the way we see the world can influence our treatment of others, it can provide an impetus for us to stop.

  • More than anything else, encourage your leaders and teams to know themselves, through focused career development.

There is no golden ticket to solving people issues but getting some of the fundamentals right can reduce the stress for all involved. Productivity and business will be the winner.

Need a hand to design and facilitate leadership and programs and workshops to develop your team? Contact Lexie: lexie@lexiewilkinsconsulting.com

Renn, R.W., Steinbauer, R & Biggane, J. (2018) Reconceptualising self-defeating work behaviour. For management research. Human Resource Management Review 28 (2), 131 -143.

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