Inappropriate workplace behavior comes in all forms and can sometimes be challenging to know how to deal with it properly. Once you understand what’s considered appropriate and what’s not, you can address issues within your workplace or even with yourself. In this article, we’re going to take a look at how to handle various types of this negative behavior because everybody is entitled to a safe work environment.
The first thing to recognize is that inappropriate behavior can happen at any level within an organization and that everyone deserves fair and equal treatment. Serious transgressions aren’t acceptable for an entry-level worker or a high-up manager. It’s also important to remember that not all offenses are the same, and you must deal with them in a case-by-case manner.
If you feel you’re the subject of inappropriate behavior, consider what actions you need to take. If a co-worker makes a one-off throwaway comment containing no actual malice or intent, you may prefer to ignore it. Or you may decide to call the person out on it. As long as this it’s done calmly and professionally, this is a quick and straightforward way to stifle unwanted attention.
When To Escalate
Regardless of whether abuse comes from a peer or senior figure, it’s unacceptable. Where there’s malice intended, or the comments continue, keep a diary of all incidents and approach management regarding the situation. They ought to then undertake disciplinary action against the aggressor. If leadership is not supportive, or the situation escalates further, consider speaking to an employment lawyer for advice.
It can become harder to deal with when a member or members of the management team are not showcasing good conduct. As before, keeping a log of all incidents, including a paper trail where possible, is good practice. You want to have proof to back up any allegations, especially if it’s regarding someone with seniority. Approaching someone above that person, such as their manager or HR, is the preferred route if your company has one.
While everyone has the same right to fair and equal treatment, as a manager, you’re in a delicate position to get the best work from your team and deal with any issues they present. Setting out expected boundaries with realistic parameters gives everyone a level playing field. Being supportive and properly recognizing good work builds staff morale and makes it easier to deal with issues respectfully.
Be The Change
Where company policies don’t work in the staff’s best interests using your position to champion change sets a positive example. Lead by example in how you manage your team – positive management usually results in positive results. Use this as a basis for approaching your higher-ups to ask for positive changes to company policy.
Staff at all levels benefit when inappropriate behavior is dealt with effectively, and the company cultivates a positive culture. Staff morale improves, teamwork strengthens, and the business gets better results.