The Disruptor @Work A Tip From The Manager’s Answer Book

“Engaging in virtuous practice is as hard as pulling a tired donkey up the hill, but engaging in negative, destructive activities is as easy as rolling a boulder down a steep slope.” A Tibetan saying. 

My yoga instructor starts and ends each practice with an inspirational reading or intention for the practice. When she read this one, it struck a sensitivity about workplace behavior. 

Manager’s Tip:  Managers are often confronted with destructive behavior at work and we ask in The Manager’s Answer Book:  “What can I (any manager) do to keep such behavior to a minimum?”  Don't act in kind by rolling those boulders down a steep slope and engaging in joking and teasing that could be disruptive or worse discriminatory. Even if the behavior is not discriminatory or harassment just yet, you could be heading in that direction. 

What to do? Pull that tired donkey up the hill.  In other words, be proactive in order to prevent inappropriate behavior from growing worse. Talk about disruptive behavior of all types in meetings with your staff. Let them know that such behavior – joking and teasing about personal characteristics or groups of people, for example – won’t be tolerated.  Explain the organization’s values and how those values are exhibited through everyone’s positive behavior. Yes, this may be harder than ignoring it – which is just as destructive – but the results are well worth it. 

To read our full answer about managing disruptive behavior, see page 121 in The Manager’s Answer Book.

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