What Makes Employees Misbehave?

September 15, 202012:53 pm2442 views
What Makes Employees Misbehave?
Image source: Pexels

Misbehaviour in the workplace does not only deplete an organisation’s energy, but also a warning sign that employees’ needs are probably not met. According to experts, the leading drivers of employee misbehaviours are as follows: 

  • Bad fits – When employees are not doing things they are good at, it creates inner friction and a feeling of incompetence and lack of focus, poor performance and mistakes follow.
  • Unclear about their role – When employees are not clear on what is expected of them, and they are unsure about how they serve the company, it can create feelings of confusion, insecurity and mistrust. They begin to question whether they are succeeding or failing in their role. As a result, they become critical of management initiatives and demonstrate poor commitment.
  • Lack of support – This includes physical tools and emotional support. When people do not have the time, tools, resources they need to succeed, it can leave them feeling overwhelmed, taken-for-grant and resentful. They respond by bad-mouthing the organisation, complaining, and showing an overall poor attitude.
  • Not being valued – Employees look for a “thank you” to feel appreciated for their work, but they do not always get it. The resulting workplace misbehaviour includes lack of trust and loyalty, low engagement, miscommunication and a toxic culture.
  • Lack of inspiration – Individuals can not sustain their energy when they feel their leaders are a hypocrite and their job has no real purpose beyond making money for someone else. When people do not feel like they are living up to their potential and being held accountable to results, apathy and cynicism set in. 

The causes of misbehaviour in workplace above could result in what many experts called “problem-employees”. The difficult demeanours of some persons (problem-employees) are easily recognisable in companies due to the emotional reactions they develop. According to Jennifer Abcug’s article, from the antisocial demeanour’s point of view, really difficult people are rare and anyone can have a difficult demeanour at one time. Generally speaking, problem-employees can exist due to objective causes such as assignment of tasks which exceed their abilities or, on the contrary, lack of variety of work, setting vague objectives for the employee, unexpected working hours, uncertainty of the job or constant and continuous pressure. 

See also: What Should HR Prepare before Terminating Difficult Employees?

The difficult demeanour is often a direct consequence of stress and exhaustion. There are also times when difficult demeanour is based on personality features such as hypersensitivity, negative thinking, low self – respect or aggression. Regardless of what the causes of difficult demeanour are, the approach of problem-employees is a challenge for many managers. While many might be tempted to dismiss these employees, researches have indicated that the best alternative is to learn how to behave with that person. 

Dismissal is not always a solution as recruiting and training new persons is expensive. On the other hand, the presence of an aggressive, arrogant, insubordinate, finical, hypersensitive and unproductive employee in a workgroup is difficult to bear. The right approach to each of these problem-type-employees could minimise the damage they can cause to a company and themselves. Here are some of the approach HR and managers can use: 

  • The hypersensitive – The hypersensitive employee might have low self-respect and therefore needs encouragement. Approaching him takes plenty of diplomacy and pleasantness. Every time his activity is being analysed one should start by praising the good aspects of the accomplished activities and then make suggestions of how he can improve the unsatisfactory zones. 
  • The tempering tantrums – There are employees who lose their temper occasionally and scream and yell at their colleagues and even at their bosses. HR and managers can approach this type of employee by having a human-to-human discussion after the temper has calmed down. 
  • The got you game – The persons who play this game try to display their superiority because they usually do not have original ideas or constructive suggestions. They try to make others feel embarrassed and uncomfortable. The most adequate approach is by ignoring their observations or by making a joke and smiling: “thank you for drawing the attention before something bad would happen”. 
  • The denying negativity – Negativist persons have a negative impact on the team’s morale. As a rotten apple can affect the whole barrel, so can a negativist person spoil the entire team’s morale. In this case, professional help is required.
  • The informer – The informers are usually those who can manipulate the relations among the employees of a company for his own benefit. He is the same man who will leave to another company for a greater income and will expose all the secrets of the previous company. Although it doesn’t hurt a manager to know everything inside a company and always be informed about it, such an employee could be dangerous for the company.  

Click here to learn more about how to improve work culture and handle problem-employees. 

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