Do you ignore problem employees rather than confronting them and holding them accountable for their bad behavior? As a leader, it’s your responsibility to remove obstacles and barriers that make it hard for you and your team to do your jobs. Troublemakers are definitely obstacles that need to go.
These employees negatively impact your bottom line, because they ruin your reputation with bad service. They create a toxic work environment that becomes intolerable to the talented and committed employees you want to keep. The beauty of working in a private practice and being an entrepreneur is that you can choose the kind of people you want to be around you. Expect loyalty to the practice and agreement with your vision!
To remedy the situation:
- Determine if the employee is really a troublemaker, or if he or she is simply fearful of change.
- Let employees know you will never tolerate libelous or slanderous communication.
- Get rid of people who won’t get on board with the direction your practice is moving.
1. Decide if S/He is Really a Troublemaker
Sometimes capable and loyal employees are fearful of change and act out based on their discomfort. Sometimes the person is a bad apple who will continue to disrupt and disrespect your process. How do you know the difference?
When someone is having trouble coping with change, she has thoughts and feelings along the lines of:
- “I am going to lose something of great value to me.”
- “I don’t’ understand what’s changing and how this change will affect me.”
- “I don’t think this change makes any sense for our practice.”
- “I don’t like change, and it makes me nervous.”
Problem employees, on the other hand, are not people who occasionally make mistakes rooted in fear. These are people who repeatedly act out. They are hostile and selfish and act in deceitful or underhanded ways. Troublemakers are way past the three-strike rule.
2. Do Not Tolerate Defamation
Libel and slander are communication of a false statement that causes harm to the reputation of an individual or organization. Libel is defamation of character when it’s in writing, such as on social media. Slander is defamation when it’s spoken aloud and heard by someone else. False statements include ones like:
- “This practice only cares about money.”
- “They don’t care about me.”
- “They only care about themselves.”
Confront the offending employee and say: “I expect you to manage yourself in a better way. I won’t tolerate this kind of discussion or behavior. If you are slandering me, or the clinic, what you’re really saying is that you don’t trust the direction the practice is going. If that’s the case, I invite you to leave our hospital.”
3. Fire The Ones Who Need to Go
A good rule of thumb for managing resistance is to give people no more than 60 days to respond to change. If it takes longer, the person is a troublemaker and you need to fire him or her ASAP.
It is always uncomfortable to fire people. The 36 hours leading up to the termination and immediately after are painful! But practice leaders are often willing to experience years of pain to avoid these few hours. Don’t make that mistake! There are plenty of other fish in the sea, people who will be loyal and committed to the success of your hospital.