If you thought that at some point you would not have to deal with petty drama, whining, cliques, untimeliness, or rumours, beyond your time in school, we have some bad news for you.
Persistent acts of childish behaviour continue to show up well past the age of young adults.
While these actions are most common in interns or those just kicking off their professional careers, unprofessionalism is not uncommon among experienced employees and peers as well.
We have curated a list of five ways that will help you handle unprofessional behaviour at your workplace.
Although easier said than done, it would be wise to stay calm and collected during situations where you are having to deal with unprofessionalism.
Suppose an employee has been continuously failing to meet deadlines, causing a few delays in the system. Do you lash out at the employee or approach her/him and briefly discuss the issue?
If you lead with the second option, the employee is more likely to feel at ease and reveal what had caused him/her to fall behind schedule. This information, no matter how big or small, can help you understand the matter and take necessary actions to prevent such drawbacks in the future.
However, the first option would have been counterproductive and instilled fear in the employee, which might have stopped him/her from disclosing easily rectifiable problems going forward.
The workplace environment is where everyone, regardless of their rank and role, are expected to act rationally and sensibly. Therefore, signs of aggressiveness and frustration will only lead to bigger disruptions.
Discuss in private
When you feel matters have gone out of control and an authoritative figure must step in, the conversations that need to be held are best done in private.
Rather than making a scene, having the whole workplace present as the audience, it is best to discuss matters privately. This will also help avoid gossip and other types of blame-games publicly.
Set your boundaries
Each workplace has its own set of rules and expectations. Additionally, not all new employees or interns are trained with proper workplace etiquette.
Whether that is during the orientation, with the help of a guideline book, or even just a briefing on the first day of work, it is advised to set boundaries from the very beginning with clear instructions.
This helps employees understand what is expected of them besides the tasks and roles handed to them.
Choose the battles you want to fight
Much like how our teachers handled it back in school, not all childish nuisances at the workplace are meant to be acknowledged or need to be dealt with.
Instances involving petty drama or rumours are not worth the time and attention of those who have much bigger responsibilities on their plate.
In an instance where you find out that two employees have broken up after dating for a couple of months and now it has created tension in the workplace, should you jump in and take matters into your own hand or let them sort things out on their own?
Fortunately, these issues tend to whither out on their own. Relationship problems are someone's private matters and are not to be dealt with in a professional setting. Unless the problem becomes a cause of disruption and slows down the normal flow of work, interventions are not always required.
Leave room for error and progress
Lastly, it is important to understand that from time to time you will be faced with unprofessionalism at work. It is inescapable and something that must be handled with caution.
Most employees, once they have been given the proper training, will quickly catch on and fix their actions. It is up to those in charge to guide them and give them the opportunity to unlearn old habits and replace them with new and refined ones.