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[DISC Wizard Q&A] When a good performer behaves badly

[DISC Wizard Q&A]  When a good performer behaves badly

Dear DISC Wizard,

I have a dilemma that I am hoping you can help me with. I have a longtime employee who has always been negative but lately, his behavior is becoming more and more so. He complains and criticizes about the managers of the company – usually within earshot of others. The problem is, he is one of my best performers. I can always count on him when I need something. What do I do? ~ Aberdeen H.


Dear Aberdeen,

If I had a dollar for every time I have heard of this scenario, I’d be writing to you from Fiji. Seriously though, this has got to be one of the most difficult challenges a manager faces – when someone is, seemingly, performing their job but their behavior is negative at best, toxic at worst.

Since I can’t properly diagnose exactly what is going on without being there, let me ask you a few questions to get you headed in the right direction.

1) Has this employee violated any company values? If you have values around integrity, positivity, and fairness and you have an employee violating those values, that’s a no-brainer.

2) Have you had a direct conversation with this employee to tell him his behavior is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated any longer? You’d be surprised how many managers are reluctant to set that boundary but then after they do, the behavior improves.

3) Have you told him that his attitude is considered a part of his performance (as it contributes to or hinders productivity and morale) and he will be rated on that, as well, during any performance reviews?

You mention that this behavior seems to have gotten worse. That suggests to me someone pushing the boundaries to see where the edge is. I’d suggest you show that edge to him soon!

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~The DISC Wizard