What To Do With Your “Characterless” Employees

August 22, 20191:19 pm
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Character, as most dictionary defines it, is a personality or behaviour one person has. A character, however, cannot be clearly seen without the label of good or bad. And yet, too often, the real character of a person will only appear when a particular event occurs. In a workplace, for example, a manager or employee can be labelled as having a good character but when a project faces an obstacle, his true character reveals out of nowhere, thus shocks everyone in the team.

“Weakness of attitude becomes weakness of character.” – Albert Einstein

The truth is, it could be hard to identify characterless individuals in the first meeting.  Too late to realise, the real character of candidates you hire might be the one that could threaten the business if not addressed properly. Candidates might be seen as behaving well during interview and training program, but after a few months, you might have just realised how characterless they are.

See also: Revealed, 8 Unique Characteristics of Gen-Z in Malaysia

Characterless individual refers to a person who is not interesting or has no style or unusual qualities. They possess very ordinary traits or behaviours with no interesting qualities. Additionally, characterless individuals are often associated with bad and unusual behaviour that might affect business bottom line, including a decrease in performance, productivity, employee commitment, and company reputation. You might also suffer from turnover costs, excessive use of sick leave, disability claims, and legal expenses.

HR role

As menacing as it sounds, your professionalism in human resource industry plays an integral role in providing guidance and training to managers with characterless (difficult) employees. You should help, first and foremost, managers present and uncover underlying issues. What kind of characterless employees your manager deal with? Can this characterless individual be changed with training or should there be another alternative?

Problem of spotting characterless staff can vary. Therefore, you should be able to help managers identify the problem and provide robust solutions. Additionally, professionals should ensure that conflicts will not occur or has a little chance to occur when addressing the issues.

In terms of characterless “characterless manner/behaviour”

Characterless manner or behaviour might affect the whole teamwork and communication.

Open and honest communication is needed here. When you spot one of your employees possesses the characterless behaviour that decreases overall teamwork, you should notice it and ask for a one-on-one meeting with him. Then, be honest yet stay connected to that person on an emotional level to understand his true character. If the characterless comes with a reason, then you could provide source or solutions to help them. If it is a fixed trait and if the characterless behaviour is unable to address, probably termination is a good choice.

First – make sure you understand; then – find out the reasons why; last – decide for the best both for team and organisation.

In terms of characterless qualities

Characterless traits can vary from personal to professional development. It can also be the result of unsupportive environment. As an example, Giovani, when you first saw him, was a good and diligent man. He behaved well and had a helpful hand as well, he was also one of the top performers in your team. Yet, after a few months, he drastically changed from top performer to average and a quite ignorant employee. 

When you investigated this matter, it was found that his change of character was caused by a personal problem he had with his co-workers. In this case, location transfer or job transition can be one of the ways to bring back Giovani’s best character. He might become more productive and develop better in his new environment.

Read also: 5 Characteristics of Mentor-able Individuals