Stop Rewarding Bad Habits and Behaviors
I recently attended an IREM Regional Conference and was fortunate enough to sit in a session with speaker Sarah Sheila Birnbach. Sarah spoke on a great deal of topics, but the one that really hit me (and certainly everyone at my table) was the topic of performance vs consequences.
Often times when we think of performance in the work place, we think of big-picture things such as tenant retention, owner satisfaction, or a balanced budget. While these are all extremely important, it’s equally important to evaluate day-to-day performance factors. When bad habits or behaviors are allowed to prevail, or worse are even rewarded, the big-picture starts to get hazy.
Sarah discussed several key factors in her session and for more on this topic, I encourage you to visit her site. For the purposes of this blog though, I want to touch on three things I was able to take away that may prove helpful to you as well.
1) Stop Issues Before They Start
Definition of Habit: an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary. The keywords there are “acquired” and “involuntary”. Habits, bad and good, are developed over time and often become second nature. To avoid finding yourself in the unpleasant situation of trying to break an employee of a bad habit, address issues early on. If an employee is 5 minutes late for every meeting and that’s an issue, don’t wait until the 10th meeting to speak about it. Making someone aware of what is and isn’t an important aspect of their performance will allow them the opportunity to quickly correct it. This also gives you the chance to set an expectation and lay out potential consequences.
2) Everyone Is Watching
Every office is a kind of community in which we all must not only co-exist, but thrive together. When one person doesn’t perform, everyone is affected. Similarly, when one person is not given consequences that match his/her performance, everyone takes notice. Let’s assume you want all employees to turn in budgets on time. If one employee continually doesn’t meet deadlines, yet they’re always given extensions, this difference in performance expectation is noticed by other team members. At best they become frustrated by this and at worst they also take up the habit.
3) Acknowledge Good Behavior and Bad Behavior Equally
Most of what I’ve said focuses of noticing and addressing bad behavior, but another way to minimize poor performance is to reward good performance. Just as you can’t let bad behaviors go unchecked, you can’t allow a great performance to go unrewarded. When you give good consequences for good performance, you’re not only boosting the good performer, but also giving a lesser performer something to reach for.
These are just a few of the many take-aways I had from this conference, but they were possibly the most applicable to my daily work experience. While this is just a starting point, hopefully it gives you some ways to improve the performance of your team.
About the Author: Lindsay Konlande currently serves as the Association Assistant for IREM Houston. Lindsay earned her Bachelor Degree in Communication from Texas A&M and has several years of experience in marketing, public relations and copywriting.