Conduct or Behavioral Issues

Unlike performance issues, which result from a failure to meet goals and/or properly perform tasks, such as when an individual lacks the knowledge, skills or ability to perform the job, or where the work is consistently below standards in terms of quality or productivity, behavioral or conduct-related issues generally result in disruption to the work environment.  Employees in the skilled or professional service may be disciplined for a variety of acts, including, but not limited to:

Being negligent in the performance of duties;

Engaging in intentional misconduct, without justification, which injures another person, causes damage to property, or threatens the safety of the work place;

Being guilty of conduct that has brought or, if publicized, would bring the State into disrepute;

Engaging in conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, misrepresentation, or illegality, including willfully making a false official statement or report;

Being insubordinate (i.e., violating or failing to obey a lawful order given by a superior, or engaging in conduct, violating a lawful order, or failing to obey a lawful order);

Engaging in prohibited forms of discrimination; or

Using leave contrary to law or policy.

Dealing with behavior or conduct-related issues effectively requires the supervisor to:                            

Understand that problem behavior usually has a history and act early.
Problematic behavior or conduct usually develops over time.  As a supervisor, the more proactive you are in dealing with these problems the more likely it is that you will increase your chances for a positive outcome.

Be clear on the problem before you approach the employee about it.
There is a good chance that you only have part of the story, so a thoughtful and measured approach is always the best way to handle these types of situations.  Perform careful fact-finding and be sure to have the full picture.

Examine not just the situation at hand, but also the underlying causes.
When you deal with the root cause of the problem, you are more likely to avoid a repeat of the situation. 

Focus the discussion.
Tell the person that there is a problem and state it clearly.  Explain why it is important that it be resolved.  Gain agreement that you've defined the problem correctly, and that the employee understands that it must be solved.  Ask for solutions.  Get a commitment that the employee will take the required actions.  Set deadlines, where appropriate.  In the case of a repeated problem, you may want to advise the employee of the consequences of failing to take corrective action.  Follow up on any deadlines you've set and remember to check in with the employee.

Treat the employee as an adult and expect adult behavior.
To some extent, expectation defines the result. If you indicate by your actions or the tone of your voice that you expect less than full adult behavior, that's what you're likely to get.



This information is only a summary. Please refer to source documents or contact your personnel office with specific questions.

A word on "at will" employees...

Employees in positions that are in the management or executive service, or special appointments serve at the pleasure of the appointing authority and may be disciplined or terminated for any reason that is not illegal or unconstitutional.