Almost all of us have been in a situation where we have had to work with someone who is toxic to the team or organization. So what are some of the different characteristics or situations that can make someone a problem employee in your optical practice? There are the obvious things like stealing, dishonesty, and harassment, but there are other behaviors that are more underlying that could be causing similar issues.
We have come up with three types of people that can cause big issues in any working environment. Have you ever had an employee who was toxic to your practice? How did you handle it?
Who They Are: Any type of bully is going to be a difficult person to work with. This person could be someone who has been at the organization for a long time and feels like they have paid their dues and can now initiate newer employees. Or, they could be new to the practice and feel that their skills and experiences make them more superior than others.
The bully might be someone who makes snide comments, is dismissive of others, or berates people for small mistakes. Even if this person is great at their job, they can make your entire practice more inefficient because others have to put in extra effort in order to work with them, and often work in fear of being treated badly.
How to Fix it: This can be a challenging fix, as often times bullies have these behaviors engrained in their personalities. You can start by helping the rest of the office learn how to approach this person, and to not be intimidated by their behaviors. Show the bully that you're going to support the rest of the team, and reprimand them when they are being difficult. If the behavior doesn't change and your team is still struggling to work with this person, it might be time to say good-bye.
Who They Are: This could be a person who is consistently showing up late, or someone who has a tendency to be too busy to help others and offloads their work to other members of the team. They often feel like the rules don't apply to them, and when not handled properly the rest of the team is going to feel like this person is allowed to get away with whatever they want.
How to Fix it: This is a situation where you need to stop this person in their tracks. Being on time and respectful of other people's time is expected, and the behavior cannot continue. Remind the entire team what is expected of them and what isn't. And, make sure that your most helpful employees aren't being taken advantage of by having extra work offloaded on them. Let the team know what jobs and tasks are their responsibility to take care of.
Who They Are: This person could be someone who attends office meetings and agrees with what you say, but quickly after the meeting goes to work pushing their own agenda to get what they want accomplished. They might be motivated by building their own team of naysayers, and they thrive on gossiping and persuading others to be negative about certain efforts or processes.
How to Fix it: Put them on the spot. If you're having an office meeting and they aren't making contributions and you've already been dealing with this behavior for a while, call on them and ask for their opinion. This way, they are forced to be public with their opinion and you have a chance to address it in front of the team. They should feel comfortable enough to express their own opinion, and that way you can get the entire team on the same page and on board. Afterwards, let them know that you appreciate their support and that you're counting on them to follow through.
If you're going through a big change in your practice, it might be a time when you start to recognize some of these problem employees. Download our eBook about dealing with change management when undergoing software implementation in your eyecare practice.