How Does Behavior Affect Work Performance?

by Sophia Cross; Updated September 26, 2017
Behavior in the workplace affects employee performance.

Behavior in the workplace can strongly affect employee performance. Whether the behavior is positive or negative, productivity is often directly related to emotions and attitude about the work environment. Positive behavior on the job can directly affect an employee's ability to move up the corporate ladder, just as negative behavior can stall a career.

Negativity and Poor Performance

An employee who consistently displays toxic behavior in the workplaces affects everyone around him. Tony Belak, of the International Center for Collaborative Solutions at Sullivan University, believes that negative behavior has a ripple effect in the workplace. He writes, "Difficult behavior can inhibit performance in others and will only deteriorate if left alone, contaminating more people and incurring hidden costs for the organization." A worker who displays poor behavior is often less productive and shows little concern for the quality of his work. By the same token, unhappy employees may unwittingly sabotage their work, or the work of others, by not maintaing high standards. Belak also asserts that managers spend up to 40 percent of their time dealing with interpersonal problems stemming from poor behavior and misunderstandings. This costs the company time and money, when managers should be performing work, not mediating employee battles.

Positive Behavior Effects

The employee who values his job and visibly takes pride in it generally displays behavior that reflects this. The worker who maintains a positive attitude is likely to feel less stress and helps fellow workers stay happy, as well. Contented employees do not simply do what is necessary; they go beyond what you expect of them. Confident and positive behavior manifests itself in the form of new ideas to help the organization excel, and ensures a higher chance of job security. According to Arthur Brief and Howard Weiss, positive behavior on the job fosters more creative problem-solving skills, more cooperative behavior and reduces workplace aggression.

Fostering Loyalty

Managers who habitually instill a sense of trust and cooperativeness are more successful than those who do not. Employee retention is higher in happy workplaces than in companies that experience high turnover. Likewise, in a customer service-based situation, positive behavior is contagious, and can be the difference between success and failure. The business that perpetually treats its employees well is likely to treat its customers in the same manner. This translates into increased customer loyalty and higher profits, which, in turn, ensures employee job security.

Identify and Resolve Problems

Minimize poor behavior and work performance by taking the lead. When you identify the core issues at the heart of negative behavior, you increase your organization's chances of success. Meet with problem individuals face-to-face to determine what the underlying problem is. Perhaps your employee is experiencing family issues, or maybe he feels a lack of control in his job. Marginalized employees not only act out on their feelings, but their poor behavior seeps into the rest of the workforce. Give any disgruntled employees clear goals and guidelines. Give them ownership of their work and a sense of autonomy. Employees who feel as if management does not trust them with everyday duties feel less empowered than those whose supervisors instill a sense of pride and ownership.

About the Author

Based in Dallas, Sophia Cross has been a writer for more than 16 years. She began her career with a local newspaper and has also worked as a realtor and social worker. Cross holds a Bachelor of Arts in history.

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