Turning Unacceptable Behavior Into Teamwork

Teresa, President of a Vancouver, WA excavating company told Session 3B of the Leadership Development Lab (LDL):


“In Spring of 2002 at the construction company I was working for back then, we were just getting prepared for the new season. With the volume of request for bids we were responding to, we expected a major spurt of growth. Fortunately, I had a solid office staff of four individuals I knew I could count on: Front Desk, AP/Subcontract Management, AR/Contract Management and Payroll. All four individuals were punctual, could effectively communicate with the field, the owners and general contractors we subbed for, professional support, accounting, taxes and legal. They were, to a person, dedicated, experienced professionals, the
best in their individual roles. We expected revenues to double and the number of employees to increase by at least half again. I knew my Contract Manager and Payroll person were going to be key individuals to the company’s successful, profitable growth. Unfortunately, these two individuals, while professional with everyone else, were hideous to each other. It had come to the point that my boss and the other managers in the field were saying someone had to go.


“I sat them both down individually for their spring reviews. We went over all of their strengths and I made sure to point out how and why the company depended so heavily on them. I found the words I needed to express how their personal relationship with their coworker was negatively impacting not only the office team, but the overall company. I told them it was not a requirement of the company that they like each other, but that the company expected professional, respectful conduct toward each other. I told them, you don’t have to like each other to be a team. I asked them to find and focus on the value the other person brought to the team. I was worried that this direct communication might lead to one of them resigning, but neither one quit and their behavior changed for the better immediately.

“The lesson I learned from this experience is that when I approach negative employee behavior in a positive way, in the context of their contributions and strengths, I can get the behavior change I need.

“The action I call you to take when you see unacceptable behavior between your people – sarcastic, caustic, belittling put downs – step in, don’t hold back. Have a professional sit-down, tell them how important they are and that the behavior you just witnessed was not consistent with your standards, or the best you know they can be.

“The benefit you will gain is personality differences will not cause you to lose valuable players, instead you will have a team that plays full out to beat the bid.”

The Leadership Development Lab is starting soon in Keizer – don’t miss out!

The Leadership Development Lab (LDL) dramatically enhances your leadership team’s ability to give supportive feedback, build trust, gain respect, sell ideas and empower others for improved results.

Turbo Leadership Systems approach maximizes participation and minimizes interruption to work. Your managers make the biggest investment, the investment of their time. We make every moment matter, ensuring the time invested pays back dividends quickly and are sustained.

Class size is limited, so call 503-691-2867 or email admin@turbols.com today!