In this Blast we take a look at the issue of when childhood attitudes and behaviours become workplace problems – and most critically – what you can do about them!

At Jaluch, our helpline and HR consultants get to support companies with a whole array of immature and childish behaviours/issues. Typically caused by one of three things:

  1. A refusal to grow up.
  2. A lack of understanding of what growing up or development is required.
  3. An inability to grow up without significant intervention by others.


The issues & the impact

Managing the Kindergarten! When adults behave like kids in the workplace

Lack of maturity: leading to issues such as acting without thinking, H&S breaches/accidents, intolerance, impatience, not seeing the bigger picture, inappropriate use of social media, not valuing experience, too many mistakes, impact on quality, increase in HR issues to be addressed, lack of personal responsibility.

Insufficient self awareness: leading to issues such as unintentionally excluding others, bullying claims, grievances and complaints, lack of buy in to L&D opportunities, customer complaints, personal frustrations with lack of progress etc.

Low self esteem: as well as the impact of low self esteem on how we are viewed and how much people then value us, low self esteem can also lead to issues such as depression and low engagement, bullying (a way of kicking back when we feel hard done by), aggressive behaviours as a result of attempts to be more assertive, a blame culture, negativity, poison type behaviour (I’ll stick the knife in your back just in case you are one day tempted to treat me badly), under assertiveness, gender pay gaps, wrong people getting promoted, low inclusion, lack of energy, passion and drive.

Anti-authoritarian: leading to inexperienced managers struggling to motivate and engage their teams, HR and disciplinary issues, lack of respect and tolerance for leaders and management, disconnect between leadership and staff, unruly workforce plus the resultant impact on customer service.

Telephone aversion and social media addiction: time wasting, low productivity, low personal interaction leading to poorer working relationships, poor quality and attention to detail, lack of focus, poor customer service, missed sales opportunities, poor example set to others

Prejudices and biases: tribunal claims, grievances, poor morale. HR issues, increased legal costs, impact on management time, low retention/high turnover, reduced productivity, low inclusion.

Lack of accountability: poor customer service, targets not hit, blame culture, avoidance culture, reduced sales, low staff morale

Bullying: HR issues, inclusion issues, PR issues, diversity claims, low engagement, low retention, low morale, legal costs

Over inflated view of own abilities: wrong people promoted to more senior roles, refusal to understand/accept performance management issues, inability to  listen (to staff or customers), lack of humility to learn and develop, lack of understanding of value of colleagues.

The Relevance

And why should you even bother worrying about these issues or seeking to develop staff exhibiting these things?:


In the form of:

  • maximising sales through happy customers, spotting opportunities etc.
  • Increasing productivity through staff who are focussed and engaged and understanding of what is required of them
  • Increasing profits through great sales and low costs and low wastage, coupled with satisfied customers
  • reducing legal and other unnecessary costs incurred in sorting out problems

and Values!

  • You care how you treat people therefore diversity and inclusion is important to you
  • You want high retention because people are proud to work for you and value working for you
  • You want staff sufficiently self confident so that you can fully tap into everyone’s potential – not just the loudest ones
  • Your legal Duty of care is important to you
  • You know that a business with low grievances and complaints creates a better environment to work in

Some solutions


  • Do you look for maturity when you recruit? Here are some sample questions to get you thinking…
  • Can you describe a situation when you have demonstrated how you value your colleagues?
  • Describe a situation where your manager has made a decision you did not like, how did you raise that and who did you raise it with?
  • What age did you start saving towards your retirement or to buy a home?
  • When you last saw someone dropping litter in the street what did you do, if anything?
  • Who is most responsible for your productivity, you or your manager?

Do you ask about people’s values when you recruit? Some sample questions…

  • Do you have a mantra or motto that demonstrates how you try to live your life?
  • What are the family values you were brought up with that you still hold and which values did you parents try to instil in you that you no longer hold?
  • What do you believe are the 3 most important leadership qualities in any manager? And why are those 3 qualities relevant in the modern workplace?

Do you ask about people’s habits when you recruit? Some sample questions…

  • How often an hour do you check your mobile phone?
  • What is the longest you have been without a mobile device, how did that make you feel?
  • How do you feel if you work alongside someone who is always checking their phone?
  • What do you understand about the concept of addiction to mobile technology?
  • If a customer emailed a complaint, would your inclination be to email back, text back, DMD back, pick up the phone to call them or go to visit them?

Do you ask recruits to demonstrate their accountability? Some sample questions…

  • What are your views on the culture in society where people sue the police, councils, teachers etc when they have an accident?
  • Can you describe an occasion when you have gone over and above what has been asked of you in order to complete a task?
  • Can you describe working with someone who has demonstrated insufficient accountability?

Gut Feel – if your employee ticks your skills and qualification boxes but something just feels off or they have made a few comments that just don’t feel right, don’t risk it. Don’t offer the job unless you fancy spending weeks and months nannying them!


During employment

Of course you have the sanction of disciplinary action and even dismissal if someone’s behaviour falls short of the expected mark. However the reality is that there is no such thing as the perfect employee therefore it usually falls to managers and HR staff to manage childish behaviours and develop staff into mature, accountable adults.

  • One to one coaching – an underused solution when dealing with individual development issues. And it doesn’t have to punitive, far from it, it can be used to support the development of already high performing individuals who just need a little more support or opportunity to reach the next level
  • Mentoring – a great way to encourage staff to raise their game and learn from role models. Training for role models is pretty important though if everyone is to gain from this process.
  • Clear company values – that mean something ie that are lived and breathed rather than just values that are rolled out at shareholders’ meetings.
  • Clear company culture – often linked to values, bur not always, clarity around the culture ensures that managers are more consistent around the organisation in the way they treat and manage staff and in respect of what they expect from those who work for them.
  • Clear company policies and procedures – use of mobile devices during working day, dignity at work, grievances, professional conduct, discipline, time keeping, driving on company business, appraisals, probationary review. Clear rules and standards make life so much simpler.
  • A training budget that doesn’t just include money for the compliance stuff and product or technical knowledge. Soft skills training is not just a nicety, but a necessity if you really want to help develop the competence and attitudes of your staff. Take a look at colours (profiling) and how that can add value to self awareness and team working, take a look at emotional intelligence and see how that can impact customer service and management competence . take a look at confident communication skills and see how that can improve the skills of all staff but especially those who do not speak up often enough and perhaps those who speak over others.
  • Leadership – last but not least you have to lead from the front. If you want mature staff and employees who demonstrate accountability and respect, check first that your directors do exactly that. If you have children amongst your board members you are going to struggle to get off the starting blocks with this.

If any of the issues in this Blast sound familiar and you would like some support, we'd love to help! Call us on 01425 479888 or email us.

to top button