By Hannah McNamara, Business Coach, SME Academy

Are certain people making life difficult for others at work? Problem behaviour at work affects everyone. It affects the people on the receiving end and it also affects those who are bullying and argumentative in the first place.
But how do you deal with it?

The first step is to take a pro-active stance, take command and control it in a positive way. It used to be that punishment was the only way forward and indeed some form of disciplinary action may be required. But prevention and support should also be provided, along with a strong and positive management style that will go a long way towards preventing such occurrences happening in the future.

Both coaching and mentoring have led to positive changes in such individuals, as they are offered practical and supportive solutions to change the behaviour that has so affected them and their colleagues. While it will take time to get back to a workplace which is more positive in nature, if you can provide leadership that everyone looks to for advice and support you will be setting the stage for that to gradually evolve.

It can be a tricky balance to present a face of management that is both firm yet supportive in the right ways, but it is vital to do so. You should also keep a close eye on how things are progressing and be prepared to meet with members of staff who have concerns or issues about any kind of detrimental behaviour they are experiencing at work.

Many businesses are now turning to neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) to produce better results over both the short and the long term. NLP is designed to help you understand the behaviours of others from both audio and visual signs, and can therefore help in two ways. Firstly the offending member of staff will learn how their behaviour affects others in a detrimental way, and secondly they will also learn how to make positive changes that will help to eradicate the problem behaviour altogether.

As far as your role as a manager is concerned it is vital to ensure that you learn to identify problem behaviour as soon as it arises, rather than finding out about it from staff members. By providing a hands-on management style you can learn more about how your team works and thus get to know your team a lot better than perhaps you do now.

By looking at long term solutions to problem behaviour rather than quick fixes, you will find that your team works in a more harmonious way as a result.

Hannah McNamara is a business coach at SME Academy in London, UK www.smeacademy.co.uk - She and her team are available for confidential coaching sessions on leadership, management and communication skills.

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