Invest in Development and Coaching and Save on Investigations
Winston Churchill once said, “There never was a war in history easier to prevent by timely action than the one which has just desolated such great areas of the globe. It could have been prevented, in my belief, without the firing of a single shot.”
This quote is not only applicable to military conflicts, but also to the workplace.
As workplace consultants, we regularly see the consequences of leaders failing to take timely action, to address poor behaviour or performance, to initiate an investigation at the right time, or to identify and address the effects of psychosocial hazards early. It can lead to a toxic work culture, low morale, subpar business results, and even costly legal disputes. That is why it’s crucial for organisations to equip their leaders with the right tools and knowledge to lead well.
One of the most critical aspects of good leadership is taking immediate action on an issue in the workplace. In some cases, leaders may feel reluctant to confront their team members due to fear of conflict, uncertainty about what to say, or a desire to avoid offending someone. However, this hesitation often leads to the behaviour becoming worse and spreading to others.
Leaders must understand that poor behaviour should be addressed as soon as it is observed. This includes things such as tardiness, excessive absences, low productivity, poor quality work, rude or disrespectful behaviour, bullying or harassment and exclusion of people in the workplace. Failing to address these issues can create an atmosphere of acceptance, leading to a gradual decline in standards and the overall culture.
Furthermore, it is vital to recognise that taking immediate action benefits not only the organisation but also the employee exhibiting poor behaviour. By addressing the issue directly and professionally, leaders can provide valuable feedback, guidance, and support to help their team members improve their behaviour and performance.
The right tools
To equip leaders with the right tools and knowledge to address these situations, organisations should provide relevant training and resources. This can include training in such topics as communication skills, understanding how to deal with difficult conversations, conflict resolution, providing effective feedback, but can also be something as simple as coaching. These tools help leaders feel more confident and equipped to handle conflicts, promote collaboration, and maintain high standards of excellence in the workplace.
When conducting workplace investigations, there is almost always a point in history, in the lead up to the investigation, where it is clear that if a leader had dealt with the situation in an effective way, there would not be a need for a costly investigation. Mapien recognises this and offers a range of leadership development options to our clients. Whether you have frontline leaders struggling with the concept of ‘mate to manager’, graduates embarking on their career, or senior professional leaders who need coaching, the investment of time and money is always better spent before, as Mr Churchill puts it, “a single shot is fired”, as opposed to having to clean up the situation with a workplace investigation which has damaged your culture.