maura24 / Pixabay

There’s an old saying: Hire behaviors, train skills. Even for those employers who live by this adage, and who hire team members based on their cultural fit, there may be the occasional behavioral issue on your team. It doesn’t even have to be that people are behaving badly, either; sometimes they’re just not quite aligned with the values or productivity model you’d like to uphold.

This is nothing to panic about; it’s natural for employees to fall into ruts or to develop little habits that you’d rather break. And as a leader, there are some simple steps you can take to bring about positive change.

Start with Numbers

The first thing you should do is to measure the behaviors you’re trying to change—quantifying them, if at all possible. For instance, say you have a problem with tardiness. Keep a record of how many employees are tardy over a given span of time; you can convert that into a ratio—for instance, you might find that 15 percent of your employees are tardy to work at least three days out of each week.

Having some real data to work with, to show that you’re not imagining things, is a helpful first step.

Track Progress

So let’s say you take that data to your employees; let them know their tardiness has become an issue, and that you hope to see some improvements. The next step is to monitor their progress. Pay attention to the employees who make an effort to improve their behavior—and perhaps even post the results to show that their good efforts have not gone unnoticed.

Make it clear that you’re paying attention—and that you appreciate good efforts being made.

Create Consequences

Finally, hold people accountable. I don’t necessarily recommend big, sweeping statements—the next person who does this is fired! What I do recommend is taking note of repeat offenders, and counseling them privately about their behavior. Work with them individually, and brainstorm some ways you can help them bring about that positive change in their own daily behavior.

That’s what this is all about—positive change. And as a leader, that starts with you.