Do you recognize this? People who come across very negatively and about whom everyone says: “He cannot change, he is just like that” while the change is desperately needed and is now destructive for the environment and the result? It is up to you to choose whether to accept this or to approach things differently. People often think that causing a change is difficult or impossible. In many cases, however, there is much more possible than you ever imagined in an easy way. Here is a good example including the cause of the breakdown.
Preparing an annual appraisal for a negative employee
During my first role as Manager already 12 years ago, I was preparing an annual interview for an extremely negative acting employee. I had been his manager for a year now. This employee had worked for the company for many years and knew all the ins and outs. In terms of content he was also very good. Only his negative behavior was a problem. His negative behavior manifested itself especially when you asked him something. He regularly lashed out at colleagues. Moreover, he thought that all the changes within the organization were totally absurd.
It is clear that his behavior lowered the atmosphere in the department and stagnated the mutual trust. The results of the team therefore also lagged behind. He also did not want to work with anyone anymore.
I am going to do things differently
Before he came to me, he had already been through several behavioral improvement programs. However, these programs did not help him. Everyone around me said, “He’s just like that, he can’t change.” I thought differently so I decided to take a completely different approach. After I had prepared the interview, the day of the scheduled annual meeting arrived. He came into the office, sat down and said:
“I already know what this review looks like, same as always so for me we don’t need to have this conversation, waste of my time. Everything is fine but my behavior is mediocre and I can’t do anything about that because that’s how I am, no matter how much you want it.” “No,” I said. The annual review is going to be very different this year and there are entirely new things in the review. “Oh yeah?” he replied.
Bringing out positive traits
Somewhere I knew he had a sense of humor. Very occasionally this was also visible. I therefore made this positive characteristic clearly visible in the annual report. In the report I also made clear what he could do with his humor. He was completely surprised and asked me several times, “Oh yes, is that so? ”
In addition, I started making him much more important in the workplace. I made him project coordinator of a small change project about something he wanted to change himself. After the annual interview, he immediately started working enthusiastically. He seemed to have a lot more fun and self-confidence. He came up with several A4’s full of his vision and action points on various situations and how to improve them according to him. I helped him to work this out and to realize change.
The most special thing I found was that after the annual meeting he started to make a lot of jokes on the shop floor to everyone. He was even cheerful on a regular basis and started to take others along in a positive way to take action and work more effectively.
Creating change, anything is possible
This was so beautiful to see. I was stunned when he said, “I have something for you,” and opened a plastic container with slices of cake in it. “Do you want a slice? My wife made it and I don’t give it away just like that”. So causing a change is really possible, despite the fact that many people think it’s impossible.
With this example I want to make clear that change is possible. In this situation, the problem lay mainly in the fact that the employee felt that he was not taken seriously. The latter is often much more present on the shop floor than the manager thinks and unconsciously causes you to get far from maximum inspiring results from your team. So don’t pigeonhole people and situations too quickly. This ensures that the situation or person is literally locked in, which makes change or movement really difficult. Every situation and every team is different, so is the approach you use. But it is possible! The most important first step is to believe in it 100% yourself.
Monica is a guest blogger for 365 Days Successful and blogs in a personal capacity.