As a leader, it’s crucial to nip problems in the bud and address team issues early in your business. This is one of the most critical things that entrepreneurs must do. The cost of inaction is high, and team issues can erode your business from the inside out if not handled promptly and effectively.
When poor behavior occurs.
Team issues happen when there’s a misalignment of values, primarily when people exhibit behaviors incongruous with the values of your brand and culture.
For example, I recall a circumstance where a capable and essential individual demonstrated incredibly poor behavior. They didn’t follow the rules and caused a massive disruption in the business. As a result, other team members had to clean up their mess, make amends, and use their valuable time explaining and fixing. It was incredibly draining and costly.
Sometimes, as in this example, high performers are the ones with poor behavior or a values system that doesn’t match the company’s. Leaders might delay addressing their team issues early in business because the team member’s performance makes it easier to overlook problem behavior.
When you tolerate poor behavior, and issues don’t get addressed early, it’s easy for the team to slip into destructive patterns. Then, they don’t get a chance to course-correct, learn, and grow.
Why you must address team issues early in business.
It can be uncomfortable to address team issues. But that discomfort is much less when you address team issues early in business.
If there’s someone whose behavior is a problem, whether it’s a team member or client, the cost of not addressing the issue in your business is high. It’ll eventually show up with clients. When other team members see the behavior and your inaction, they’ll think it’s acceptable. As a response, they’ll downgrade their own behavior and expectations. Before you know it, your business will be operating at a mediocre level, all because you tolerated one person’s bad behavior.
This may sound dramatic, but unfortunately, it’s common. I’ve seen it happen multiple times, which has allowed me to figure out prevention strategies so others don’t fall into the same trap.
How to address team issues early in business.
First, have a “Reality Check Conversation” to address the behavior graciously without presuming or justifying their thinking or intent. I recommend reading Connect: Building Exceptional Relationships with Family, Friends, and Colleagues by David Bradford and Carole Robin to learn more about this.
A Reality Check Conversation is essential to resolve issues, uphold standards, foster self-awareness, and transform the way your team member relates to you, the team, and the business.
You may need to build some communication skills of your own to have these conversations.
For example, if you’re very direct and blunt, you may need to learn how to be more gracious and tactful, and less confrontational when bringing up issues. In addition, you’ll need to know how to invite open communication. On the other hand, if you’re someone who avoids confrontation, you may need to practice being more direct.
We all have our blind spots. Be open to feedback.
If you determine that you have to let someone go after addressing a team issue, first make sure you take the appropriate legal steps to ensure your protection. If the person’s been around for a while, take care of them and part ways gracefully.
With Reality Check Conversations, you’ll either know the issue is not solvable or empower the person to change their behavior moving forward.
So, nip issues in the bud. Do not tolerate them.
To align your team, uphold expectations, and improve team member performance, download your free copy of The Team Success Handbook.