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My team often takes walks to a nearby coffee shop without me. I've received reports from some team members that during these walks, one of my reports in particular often chronically complains about management objectives and how 'everything we are doing is wrong' during these walks. In this, he is undermining me and not providing me the ability to defend or explain myself. I also suspect that he creates group-texts with my team and complains behind my back there too. 

I have weekly one on one's with said employee. When I brought this up, he refused to change his behavior beacuse it is outside of work. I explained to him that his behavior outside of work is bringing down team morale and is impacting team's performance. He stayed firm that he has the right to express his dissatisfcation outside of work. 

I'm really not sure where to go from here. We all vent and complain about work outsdie of work but doing so chronically with my team is damaging. I've asked him to come to me first so I can either 1) get buy in from him 2) change what we are doing or 3) explain that he needs to be professional and accept this decision. He still hasn't changed his ways. 

Based on other MT feedback, this would be the type of person you remove from your organization, but how can I do so if the action is happening outsdie of work?

help?

NLewis's picture

Have any outputs or behaviors within the team demonstrably deteriorated as a result of this person's negative attitude outside of work?  

To my mind those are the only things you can address.  If the answer is none it may not need to be addressed.

At least once a month I try to aske questions like "What can I do more of?"  and "What can I do less of?"  My belief is once I've set the direction my job is to serve.  But  if the behavior is in-line and the outputs are good I only tangentally care if they're happy.  That's a tertiary concern.  Our success as a team and as a company should eventually equate to their success and ultimately to their happiness.  

This is a tough one.  I've always found it hard to address things that I've heard through the grapevine.  Asking themdirectly about it might put your source on the spot - and then you lose potential intel.  On the other hand all word of mouth has to be taken with a grain of salt.

 

pucciot's picture

This caught my attention:

“When I brought this up, he refused to change his behavior because it is outside of work. I explained to him that his behavior outside of work is bringing down team morale and is impacting team's performance. He stayed firm that he has the right to express his dissatisfaction outside of work. "

This means that you have brought this behavior to his attention and he acknowledges and admits that he does this.

--- It is no longer about the grapevine.

There are a few things to parse out here.

1 - Is he salaried or hourly?  If salaried -- there is no such thing as outside work.

2 - Either way, walking to the local coffee shop with colleagues during the workday -- he is still at work.

3 - He has the legal right to say anything he likes -- AND the Organization has the legal right to visit consequences upon him relative to the workplace.  Freedom of speech is not absolute in the workplace.

4 - In or out of the workplace -- tearing down the team is not to be tolerated.

--  Work Performance is _Results_ and _Relationships_

-- He is expected to engage in behaviors that create and maintain good positive working relationships within the organization.

-- Complaining about policy without making "constructive or positive" criticisms could be tearing down the team.

-- Saying things to co-workers that undermine you - as the supervisor, is disrespectful, unprofessional and tears down the relationship between you.   --- And you can tell him that.  The most important relationship he has in this company is the one with you.  He is expected to build and maintain a positive working relationship with you.

-- Please express to him that, in the future, that complaints and criticisms that are not constructive do not help organizational relationships.

-- An employee is expected to perform and obtain results for the policies in place - whether he likes them or not.  Continuous complaints indicate a lack of commitment to produce top results to the organization goals.

-  Feedback Examples :   

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Can I give you some feedback ?

When you complain and criticize about policies to co-workers in a way that is not positive and constructive ...

It undermines the administration and erodes the quality of your relationship with me.

Could you please do better?

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Can I give you some feedback?

When you complain and criticize about policies to co-workers in a way that is not positive and constructive...

I begin to question your performance efforts and dedication to the work you do related to those policies  

Could you please improve that?

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Just my thoughts.

 

Good Luck

TJPuccio

Kevin1's picture

Hi K-Mars47

Everything TJPuccio said above is right on the money.   I would add a few additional suggestions.

1) Start documenting the negative feedback you are giving him if you aren't already

2) Check out the casts on

·         Murdering the Unchosen Alternative

·         Shot across the Bow

·         Shot Across the Bow Review

·         Systemic Feedback

I think these kinds of casts will give you the background that will help you find the right path forward.

Hope this helps, 

Kev