Unacceptable: Identifying Undermining Behavior in the Workplace

You know that person. We all know that person. The uncooperative co-worker that knows more than everyone, is never accountable for their mistakes or actions and acts like God’s gift to the company. You don’t like this behavior and neither do your employees or clients. So why do you put up with it? Aren’t you the boss?

When one or more of your teammates causes so much tension in and outside the office but brings valuable skills to the table, it can be extremely difficult to cut ties. In many cases, it can be hard to even identify what behaviors are contributing to the tension and causing problems within the company! Once you take a step back and enact the necessary steps to make positive change, you’ll wonder why it took you so long!

Identify Your Values

What is important to you? How do those philosophies guide your company? Many companies already have instituted mission and vision statements that declare what their guiding principles are. Review your own and ask yourself if you and your team are staying true to your core values.

It’s ok if you’ve never evaluated your principles! Set up a meeting with your team to discuss what specific behaviors and attitudes will help you and your team achieve your company’s goals. For more tips on how to organize this meeting, check out this link.

Evaluate Your Company Culture

What’s the point of having values if you don’t follow through? Compare your team’s day-to-day behavior with your company’s values. Are you staying true to your principles? Is there anyone in particular that consistently or deliberately defies these rules and refuses to take accountability for their actions?

What Does Unacceptable Behavior Look Like?

You want to think the best of all of your employees. So, you might find yourself making excuses for behaviors that are truly unacceptable. But what does that really look like? Below are some traits that many bullies in the workplace exhibit:

  • Undermines authority
  • Withholds information
  • Hoards resources
  • Tells you what you “should” do
  • Is frequently involved in workplace drama
  • Rejects change
  • Takes all the credit for team successes
  • Makes excuses for failures

Discrepancies between your culture and your values completely undermine your company’s ability to succeed as well as your authority as a leader.

Evaluate Yourself

If some of your employees are breaching the company policy and you don’t correct them, then you are enabling them. By tolerating behavior counter to your beliefs, you accept them into your company culture and demonstrate instability and failure in leadership. Your team will lose trust in you as a leader if they believe you can be easily manipulated or actively choose to allow these people to run the show. People don’t leave companies, they leave managers!

To learn more about ways to professionally mitigate these situations, salvage the relationship, and effective ways to remove problem behavior, join Merrill Crawford for a half-day workshop at The Great Game Conference; Dallas Experience on September 8th.



The Great Game of Business is a professional coaching organization that gives employers the tools to empower employees to run the business like they own it. By educating employees about the business and by practicing open-book management, our staff can effectively make decisions as a team with intentionality and insights.

Click here for more information about this program!