If you ever want to know how to deal with people at work, you can’t go wrong with seeing what Jesus has to say about it.
Matthew 18:15-17 (ASV)
15 And if thy brother sin against thee, go, show him his fault between thee and him alone: if he hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16 But if he hear thee not, take with thee one or two more, that at the mouth of two witnesses or three every word may be established.
17 And if he refuse to hear them, tell it unto the church: and if he refuse to hear the church also, let him be unto thee as the Gentile and the publican.
Let’s translate this for the workplace. If your employee is doing something wrong, talk to him privately. Tell him in person what the issue is so that he can fix it.
Don’t send him an email. Don’t chastise him in front of coworkers or customers. Don’t start off by calling a meeting with him, you, and upper management. Do it privately.
Don’t threaten to fire him or write him up or any other form of punishment at this time. This is a time to let him know that his actions are not in line with what is expected by company policy.
Then wait. See how he responds.
If he fails to comply and put his actions in line with company policy, then it is time to call for a meeting with him, you, and upper management.
If that still doesn’t work, get your Human Resources department in, or even hire a professional non-violent conflict resolution expert.
If that still doesn’t achieve the desired result, then take appropriate disciplinary action, up to and including firing him.
The worst thing you can do is have issue with an employee’s behavior or actions and start talking to upper management first, skipping the employee in the discussion, and documenting his actions. The employee does not know that he is doing anything wrong, so he does not have any awareness that he needs to correct it. Meanwhile, he is silently being punished and tracked for his every action. This is unfair, unkind, and unwise. It is, simply, a sign of bad management, but worse, it is the sign of a bad human being on the part of management.
This also works for interoffice conflicts. If you have issue with a coworker, tell them privately. Don’t get your boss involved. Talk to your coworker privately about how their actions affect the workflow. Tell them how you feel when they shirk their responsibility. If they don’t change their ways, then talk to the boss.