Front line supervisors and managers can place employees in a prison of performance by affixing a label. Once the label is attached to the person it can prevent the leader from seeing the potential for the individual.
If the label is troublemaker, then the supervisor or manager might be reinforcing the very behaviour they would like to change.
What about if the label is justified? Even with a very good reason, the leader needs to turn the other cheek and maintain the relationship. This doesn’t mean that the supervisor can’t confront unacceptable behaviour and performance and apply consequences. The key is not to transform the performance problem into a personal grudge.
It is natural to spend more time with employees we like than employees we do not like. However, by ignoring poor performers it only tends to cause the poor performer to act out in order to get the leader’s attention. Even negative attention is seen as better than being ignored. So in effect, the leader is fostering the continuation of the very behavior he or she is trying to eliminate.
Today’s Leadership Action Tip
Consider removing an existing label you have attached to an employee even when it might be justified.
Spend time communicating with the person on a regular basis instead of ignoring them.
Watch for and positively reinforce positive, desirable behavior.
Reprogramming how you view employees can help you remain open minded as a leader and gives the employee an opportunity to change and meet your expectations.