1. Cohen, Shelley RN, CEN, BS


Learn to address behavioral concerns in an efficient, proactive manner.


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As a new manager, you'd probably rather go through a regulatory survey process than be forced to confront a staff member on a behavioral issue. The overwhelming desire to avoid or delay the confrontation is perfectly normal.


Involve others

As a mind-set, think of your approach to confrontation as one of resolution. That is, you and the employee involved are going to meet to resolve the problem/situation that the unacceptable behavior created. For success addressing unacceptable behaviors, it's necessary to follow certain steps to create an environment that's conducive to the resolution process.


Step 1: Identify those behaviors designated as unacceptable and define them in writing.


[white diamond suit] Involve staff members in this process by asking them to list two staff behaviors they find unacceptable.


[white diamond suit] Compile one list of all the responses and post for staff to review.


[white diamond suit] Identify behaviors on the list that everyone agrees are unacceptable.


[white diamond suit] Have each staff person sign the final list and then post it.



Step 2: Use the compiled list in the resolution process.


[white diamond suit] Consider saying, "As you know, Tom, using foul language at work is an item on the list of unacceptable behaviors that everyone, including you, signed. My expectation is that this won't occur again. If it does you'll be given a level 1 warning. Do you have any questions about what I expect from you?"



Step 3: Resolve unacceptable behaviors that violate policy or job description with direct reference to the source.


[white diamond suit] You might want to say, "Your employee handbook, Samantha, has a section on page 42 regarding tardiness. I know you received a book at orientation because you signed for it. According to the handbook (here's your copy of those pages to reference), the next time you're tardy you'll be suspended without pay for 2 days."


[white diamond suit] Consider saying, "My expectation is that you won't be tardy again, and we'll review this behavior in another meeting set for [date]. Do you have any questions about what I expect?"



Be proactive

As you approach the resolution process, keep these tips in mind:


1. Accept the fact that you can't change how these behaviors were handled in the past. Try to avoid the employee's attempts to bring you back in time.


2. Be consistent in your response to these behaviors; staff will be the first to remind you of your different approach with another staff member.


3. Direct your attention and the staff member's to previously delineated organizational expectations, such as the employee handbook, the mission statement, or departmental policy.


4. Always document each meeting with the staff member as you work through the resolution process. Include hallway conversations or discussions that may not constitute a formal meeting.


5. Be cautious of your emotions. Don't allow your anger or disappointment to interfere with your ability to work with employees who may be willing to change their behavior. 6. Replace the concept of a "bad attitude" with the reality of unacceptable behaviors. Remember, you can't document a bad attitude.