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  • Writer's pictureMike Bensi

How to Stop Tolerating Bad Behavior

I have a friend. Let's call him Mike.

He has a tendency to get frustrated often when he finds himself in a difficult situation. Perhaps it involves an underperforming employee. Or with a project that is dragging out.

In those situations, I hear Mike ask "How did I get here?" Or "Why is this happening to me?"

Mike is quick to pass blame and point out what others are doing wrong. An employee failing to execute. A team member continuing to engage in an unacceptable behavior. Mike often hopes that the problem goes away on it's own and that it will resolve itself.

And it never does.

Mike has spent his career making a choice. To either avoid a difficult issue or confront a poor behavior. And through that choice, he ultimately makes another choice. He is choosing to tolerate even larger and more challenging issues.

Don't be like Mike. Don't tolerate but rather confront and address by:

  • Deciding what not to do. Confronting a problem is big and scary no matter the size of the problem. Visualize what it looks like if you continue to ignore the behavior. Typically problems don't get easier - they only lead to problems and outcomes that are bigger and scarier (other team members will leave, the team won't trust the leader).

  • Clarifying what you want. Focus on the behaviors and expectations - versus your perceptions - you want to see.

  • Moving quickly. Not confronting a challenging issue when it is easy is something many of us do. The conversation will be easier the earlier you address it - versus a conversation when there is a crisis on your hands.

  • Recognizing when you see positive behavior. Positively reinforcing what you want to see can lead to improvement behavior - even if it is when it is something that you think should be done already.

Improving how and when we confront negative issues can have a positive impact in the workplace as employees value leaders who confront issues - versus tolerating bad behaviors. So by confronting - rather than tolerating - you are more likely to see your frustrations reduced, as well as other team members.

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