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Celebrity Behavior Not Tolerated in Corporate America

Hollywood may tolerate unprofessional behavior, but managers in corporate America should not allow unprofessionalism to remain in the workplace.

Managers around the world have been cringing as they watch the overexposed Charlie Sheen publicly rant and berate his bosses of Two and a Half Men.  This kind of behavior is a nightmare for anyone in management.  Charlie’s rants have been documented on YouTube, Entertainment Tonight, and his image has been plastered all over the Internet.  He is an excellent example of an employee exhibiting unprofessional behavior.  In a normal situation this behavior would not be tolerated in the business world.  Almost any employee would have been fired long before Mr. Sheen was finally given the boot by CBS.  Although, Hollywood has always tolerated unruly behavior by celebrities, even they seem to have wearied of this one time pretty boy’s vitriol antics.

The televised interviews are infuriating to watch as a manager, but also hard to ignore.  Sort of like watching a train wreck, you know it’s going to be a disaster, but you just can’t look away.  The situation prompts the question how much unprofessionalism is too much?  At what time should an employee be fired for their unprofessional behavior?  It’s no secret that Hollywood studios operate differently in many ways from corporate America.  Outrageous behavior is praised instead of disciplined.  However, there are times when business managers also experience outlandish behavior from their staff.  For example, managers have watched their employees fight, scream, throw objects, watch porn on corporate computers, and curse customers.  Much of this behavior has also been reported in the news.

How to deal with an unprofessional employee

If the employee exhibits good work, first offer counseling to the employee.  Explain that certain behavior will not be tolerated.  Be calm and keep your tone of voice neutral as you speak in-person with the employee.  This is not the type of conversation that should take place over the phone.  Professionalism on your part, means having these sensitive conversations in-person and in-private only.  Discuss the exact behaviors the employee has demonstrated in your workplace which are out of compliance with company policy.  Have them sign your code of conduct.  This would be accompanied with your explanation of the number of warnings, and counseling, they will receive before termination.  If you are placing the employee on probation, have it in writing showing the date the probation will end if the employee’s behavior improves. 

Never rehire an unprofessional employee

Once you have a fired an unprofessional employee, don’t rehire the offending employee later.  Regardless, of whether or not the employee seems to be rehabilitated.  Unfortunately, there aren’t many happy endings to rehiring a previously poor employee.  More importantly, it sends a bad message to your other employees that have witnessed the unprofessionalism of the employee and their firing.  Rehiring will only send the message to your good employees that this behavior is acceptable and tolerated.  Instead, you want to hold your staff to a high standard within your office and with your customers.  Let your employees know that you expect professional conduct at all times.

Managers must be a professional example

High standards start at the top.  Your employees are watching the top level executives and managers as their compass for what is acceptable behavior.  If your top level managers are gossiping, talking about sports all day, harassing employees, and exhibiting anger issues, your employees will follow the trend.  If this is the situation in your office, you need to deal with your upper managers first before tackling the attitudes of your lower level staff. 

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Angela Huffmon is a keynote speaker and corporate trainer.  She speaks with business owners, corporate executives and managers to help solve their 3 biggest problems: employee retention, productivity, and manager/employee communication.



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