What is the Best Way to Tackle Objectionable Behavior in Teams?

So you’ve formed your startup team, great!

And together, you’ve formed a neat code of conduct because you want everyone to feel psychologically safe in the team, right?

You’ve read all the books on managing a team well and do all the workshops;

Amy Edmondson, Tim Clark, Kim Scott, Adam Grant, Simon Senek, and the list goes on.

So you’ve ticked all the boxes. You’ve even asked all your team if they feel safe now, and they all ticked the right boxes also.

You’re vulnerable, curious; you have radical candor, you care personally, you’d even give your own blood if that would do the trick. Finally, you think to yourself, if psychological safety is not at your workplace, then it’s not going to be anywhere, right?

In my view, you have left out the one activity that IS going to bring you a safer workspace to share controversial ideas, and that is an agreed WAY to keep the team safe when sharing conflicting views. The problem is you are just going through the motions, but where are the actions?

It’s not the code of conduct that will keep your team safe or the leadership workshops; it’s what you DO next after someone breaks your code of conduct.

When misconduct occurs, a misstep or someone misleads, misbehaves, or mistreats a fellow teammate or leader, they all come under the one category of objectionable behavior in my book. And here’s a secret that not many people seem to know. There is one straightforward way to tackle objectionable conduct, and that is to OBJECT. Yes, that’s why it’s called objectionable! Who would have thought? We don’t need to get angry or suppress our feelings; we simply need to object.

Heck, we don’t even need a list of coded behaviors for how we treat each other or workshops to make us the perfect leader. We all simply need to use an agile, on-the-fly objection procedure whenever we feel uncomfortable with someone’s behavior, a behavior we consider to be objectionable.

Of course, there will be times the violator will challenge our objections, and that’s where a cleverly designed objection procedure will function. I recommend a three-step process called Object123 and a dispute review network as a backup for any challenges. Ours is called the Disputz Network.

Object123 and the Disputz Review Network for Objectionable Behavior

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