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How to Neutralize a Toxic Employee

Lynn E. Lawrence, CMSgt (ret), CPOT, ABOC. How to Neutralize a Toxic Employee. Faye Wattleton - “The only safe ship in a storm is leadership.”. Which is the toxic employee?. Objectives.

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How to Neutralize a Toxic Employee

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  1. Lynn E. Lawrence, CMSgt (ret), CPOT, ABOC How to Neutralize a Toxic Employee Faye Wattleton- “The only safe ship in a storm is leadership.”

  2. Which is the toxic employee?

  3. Objectives • This lecture is designed to educate Office Managers and employers and techniques used to resolve issues with a troubled employee.  • Documentation and counseling techniques will be discussed and sample forms will be provided.  • A tool to develop  “Traits of a good team player” will be highlighted.  Points from Federal Labor Laws will be discussed. 

  4. Overview • Define Toxic Employee • Impact upon team • Hiring • Office Leadership • Position description • Performance feedback • Documentation • Follow-up actions • Termination point

  5. Fairness Test • Is it the employee or the environment • Does the office have rules and borders • Is office leadership visible • Has every effort been made to reform employee

  6. Define • Do you have a formal training program? • Does the employee know and understand their responsibilities • Is it written down (PD) • How do you correct performance deficiencies with your employees • Is your feedback candid and specific (not about feelings)

  7. Ask the audience • Tell about the change in jobs • What is a toxic employee?

  8. What is a Toxic Employee • Someone who consistently brings the team down • Great effort has been made to reform this individual • The individual does not understand that they are on a team • Refuses to work synergistically with others, always involved in drama (usually at home too)

  9. Office Identity and Direction • Mission • Goals • Vision • Lines of Authority • Standards • Leadership Sync • Accountability • Equity • Employee Buy-in Ken Blanchard-“ None of us is as smart as all of us.” Synergy is what makes the team invaluable.

  10. Here is a sign…prevent HAs • If you make an attempt to establish goals and direction for the office and you have an employee that refuses to give the change a try…this is a sign that the employee has confusion with their role in the office…you need to re-direct…

  11. Teach Professionalism: • Having an awareness of how your actions, body language, and words affect others • Being accountable for one’s action • Learning to master skills of the trade • Leading by your example • Having a passion that cannot be stopped

  12. Professions • have a body of knowledge, scope of practice, agreed upon values, oath or code and accountability to our society for their profession and their professional behavior. • What conduct do you allow in your office?

  13. Where do we start? What is a profession? • An occupation requiring specialized knowledge and often long and intensive academic preparation • Conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession If you own the practice, you shouldn’t feel like the matador

  14. Office Leadership • Span of control • Set high standards for your staff • Describe acceptable behavior for your office • Post your standards • Reward openly, correct in private • Set the bar for “Becoming an expert”

  15. Team Communication • Listen to your staff! • Make sure they listen to you! • Jesus Story: - Learn good listening skills - Don’t prejudge

  16. Communicate Requirements • From the beginning set the bar high • The interview • Clear and tangible rules • Office goals that are posted, easy to see • Only post those you will enforce or it will devalue all the other rules • Develop a feedback system • Formal feedback • Regular basis…they know it is coming

  17. Tangible Feedback is critical • PERFORMANCE OF ASSIGNED DUTIES • Quality and Quantity of work: • Timeliness of Work: • KNOWLEDGE OF PRIMARY DUTIES • Technical Expertise: • Knowledge of Related Areas: • Applies Knowledge to Duties: • COMPLIANCE WITH STANDARDS • Customs and Courtesies • CONDUCT • Responsibility: • Support for Organizational Activities: • Respect for authority: • Maintenance of Facilities: • SUPERVISION/LEADERSHIP • Sets and Enforces Standards: • Initiative: • Self Confidence: • Provides Guidance/Feedback: • Fosters Teamwork: • INDIVIDUAL TRAINING REQUIREMENTS • Upgrade Training • Professional Education: • Proficiency/Qualification: • COMMUNICATION SKILLS • Verbal: • Written: • ADDITIONAL FACTORS • Values: Demonstrate Integrity: • Service to Others Before Self: • STRIVE FOR EXCELLENCE IN ALL THEY DO: • Education:

  18. Observance Cycle • Set clear standards • Observe behavior • Conduct the interview • Give honest feedback • Positive • Negative • Corrective • Monitor progress • Positive • Negative

  19. Perspective is everything! • If an employee feels they can get away with something, they will push until they get what they want or someone in leadership puts a stop to the foolishness • Office behavior is dictated by those in leadership, not by those in subordinate situation

  20. Review of Organizational Norms

  21. Leadership visibility protects all? • Why do you call yourself a leader? • Doc, office manager, are you afraid of coming out of your exam room because of staff drama? • Afraid of getting involved? • Doctor/Office Manager do you wait until things are on your last nerve? • Do you allow shouting matches • You need to turn the staff away from negative behavior

  22. Leadership Teambuilding Goals • Identify leadership • Polite • Why we are here • Eliminate chaos…bid for power…who is in control • Constructive criticism • Esprit de corps • Team concepts • Continual improvement processes • Conflict resolution • Professional treatment

  23. S.M.A.R.T. Goals to accomplish • Specific • Focused on critical items • Measurable • Concrete deliverables • Achievable • Produces highest performance and motivation • Relevant • Currency on important issues • Time based • Must have deadlines • Make a score card to track the goals • Use a thermometer or some other device to show progress for all

  24. Hiring Practices • An apprentice period • Probationary period • Don’t trust the interview • Check “Facebook” • Check with previous employers • Check letters of recommendation • Don’t trust a feeling

  25. Review Job Description • Review job description • Document strengths • Document weaknesses • Document concerns • Document tangible plan for change • Document next follow-up date When things are not following the plan, be the bull

  26. Performance Counseling • A systemic, two-way discussion between supervisor and subordinate concerning duty performance as compared to established standards and goals • Feedback supports individual growth…directional progress • Upward • downward • Always have previous evaluation available

  27. Additional Factors • Values: Demonstrate Integrity: Do they so what’s right even when no one is looking? Can they be trusted? Do they tell the truth? Do they cut corners? • Service to Others Before Self: Do they try to avoid work? Do they put in extra hours when needed without complaining? Are they willing to go to the extreme or do they try to get out of assignments? • STRIVE FOR EXCELLENCE IN ALL THEY DO: Do they do the best job possible? Are they committed to dong it right? Do they pass the buck or not accept responsibility? • Education: If they’re finished their standard training requirements, are they trying to improve themselves? (education/away from the office) Are they involved in any professional organization?

  28. Feedback Strategy • Be clear on expected outcomes • Plan what you will say • Have the strategy in your mind • Use the “I” message, it demonstrated responsibility and authority • Have the employee repeat back expectations

  29. What is the best way to reward? • Get rid of the workers that won’t work as a team • Cut the cancer off of the team • Assist those who find it difficult conforming to the plan to transition into another environment more conducive for their personal growth

  30. Guidelines for Effective Feedback • Deal in specifics (tangibles) • Avoid general statements • Behavior, effect, thoughts • Quality, quantity, timeliness, cost • Focus on actions • Must be non-threatening • Determine time/place • Give FB ASAP/avoid waiting • Refrain from including other issues • Avoid topics not FB related

  31. Re-train – Re-teach • Make every effort to reform employee • Document, document, document • Document some more • Let them know they are being monitored • Be specific • Be clear

  32. Customer Irritant Examples • They never use my name • They ask me to repeat info already given • They never admit mistakes • They are not well groomed • They talk to their friends instead of the patients • They talk on the phone while the patients wait • They act condescending • They lie about what they have done • They give rules with no explanation • They blame the computer • They won’t look me in the eye • They make stuff up in their answers • They smile and don’t mean it • They give a smart flippant answer • They don’t listen to what I have to say • They question my honesty

  33. 10 Ways to Driving the Boss Crazy • Punctuality • Poor communications • Feedback/follow-up actions • Poor accountability • The “Blame Game” • The “I told you so” attitude • Turn down opportunities • Spreading rumors • Drama Queen/King • Never satisfied

  34. Fun Tools • Sign for staff door: • We are NOT paying you to have a bad day! • Keep an application for Burger King by the time clock 800mg Suck it up 1000mg Kaboom 500mg Happy Pills 1000mg Fruit of the Spirit

  35. Very important leadership principles re-emphasized • Be in charge • Be focused on goals • Be clear • Praise in public • Correct in private

  36. Guidelines for Conflict Resolution Outline acceptable steps: • Be firm and respectful • Describe specifically the behavior or situation • Express clearly what the concerns are • Suggest alternatives for agreement • Consequences for negative impact on team performance, strive for consensus • What do you practice at home?

  37. Conflict Resolution • Staff members must know the negative impact of un-necessary drama • Communicate expectations of professional maturity • Provide opportunity to improve • Take action ASAP when there is a disruption that negatively impacts the office • Get all of the facts As long as there are people the will be conflicts

  38. Staff Conflict Resolution U.S. Department of Labor • Interview question • Question: What notices must be given before an employee is terminated or laid off? • Answer: The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) has no requirements for notice to an employee prior to termination or lay-off. In certain cases, employers must give the workers advanced notice of mass layoffs or plant closure. The Warn Act provides specific information on advance notice, employer responsibility and workers rights during mass layoffs or plant closure. • http://www.dol.gov/whd/state/state.htm

  39. Accountability • There is no reason to have rules that you will not enforce • Failing to enforce any rule, devalues every rule • Accountability enforces leadership

  40. Standards • An office with high standards will have high motivation • An office with loose standards will have plenty of drama • Leadership will have to set the example of the standards

  41. Terminator • When every effort has been made and the risk is not worth the investment…terminate the relationship • A new work environment may be just what the person needs to appreciate their job!

  42. Story Time • An economics professor at a local college made a statement that he had never failed a single student before but had once failed an entire class. That class had insisted that Obama's socialism worked and that no one would be poor and no one would be rich, a great equalizer. The professor then said, "OK, we will have an experiment in this class on Obama's plan".  All grades would be averaged and everyone would receive the same grade so no one would fail and no one would receive an A... After the first test, the grades were averaged and everyone got a B. The students who studied hard were upset and the students who studied little were happy. As the second test rolled around, the students who studied little had studied even less and the ones who studied hard decided they wanted a free ride too so they studied little. The second test average was a D! No one was happy. When the 3rd test rolled around, the average was an F. The scores never increased as bickering, blame and name-calling all resulted in hard feelings and no one would study for the benefit of anyone else.  All failed, to their great surprise, and the professor told them that socialism would also ultimately fail because when the reward is great, the  effort to succeed is great but when government takes all the reward away, no one will try or want to succeed.

  43. Thank you martralyn@msn.com

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