One of the enduring memories over the past two years of over a hundred training courses on how to start and run a compliant training and competence (T&C) scheme has been the plaintiff cry of “how do I get everyone to buy into this?”The reference is often to the power mad control freak and dictator type member of staff who, frankly, believes themself to be above all this compliance and training and competence malarkey.There is a great series little guide books and one I particularly like is Problem Behaviour by Angelena Boden.There are some good words here on recognising these behaviours and we have added one or two of our own: Need to control at all levels - from how the company accounts are prepared to how the tea is made Great reluctance to share Secretiveness Not providing access (information, keys, passwords, operational instructions) even when demanded Use of verbal force (orders/abuse) to ward of questioning Use of threats to maintain position, often fictitious complaints about people Very little co-operation or rational discussion Undermining of others to build territory (“He's not competent to do that…”) Very little socialisation unless to talk to the ‘right' people Totally focused on self.
And equally the sort of people to look out for: Work extremely long hours and are in regular contact with powerful people Surround themselves with loyal ‘yes' people Seem to be working to a different agenda compared to everyone else Use ruthless tactics then dump Don't listen, talk against the flow and use bully-like tactics Hang up the telephone or storm out of a meeting when something is not going their way.
And the effects this person has on the work place: An atmosphere of distrust and fear can build up People spend their time trying to outwit the ‘powerful one' and not getting on with their work Conspiracies are organised Morale drops Anxieties about job security increase Divisions between managers and work force intensify.
So how are we doing so far? Anyone you recognise?The effect of dealing with such a person when trying to establish and run a robust training and competence scheme can be frustrating:They often know all there is to know about T&C ( even thought they are probably quite incompetent on the subject) They will go along and agree to everyone's plans until it is they themselves that have to undergo competence assessment They will simply not do what they are asked to If they agree to undergo an assessment any mistake will be the fault of someone or something else They will encourage their ‘yes men' in the same behaviour They will start sending round-robin messages to staff on T&C matters They will offer guidance to those running the T&C scheme on how to do things properly (often in a patronising manner) They will read something on T&C and adopt it as gospel. This is annoying as it often sounds good to staff but is absolute nonsense to someone with knowledge of the subject.
So far so good, and I am sure that readers will have recognised all or some of the traits in someone they work with or know. However, bear in mind that this picture as a whole is an extreme and there are intervening scales of behaviour that might be dealt with in a variety of ways.One of the key aspects when considering a T&C scheme for FSA regulation is that it must reasonably ensure that the person is competent to undertake their job and that they remain competent on a continuing basis.How a firm assesses competence is up to the firm itself. If the system put in place achieves this objective, the firm is compliant but if there is a reasonable risk that it will not achieve it then it is likely to be non-compliant.It is important to manage control freaks before they achieve their aim of controlling you. Angelena Boden gives us some examples: Draw very precise boundaries - make it clear where their responsibility ends Empower with caution - keep a tight rein on activities Be precise with instructions - put them in writing so that they cannot be misinterpreted, if necessary have a witness Use performance reviews to clarify progress Listen to other colleagues - pick up the signs early.
Finally, if the behaviour becomes such a problem that it puts the firm's compliance with regulation at risk, you will need to remind the employee via your disciplinary procedures that the behaviour will not be tolerated. Ensure that you have kept records of the opportunities that the employee has been offered to learn or to correct the behaviour - this protects you as an employer and also emphasises to the employee that they have not co-operated with you when they could have done.Always remember that you should take specialist advice when dealing with matters relating to or involving employment law.How did you get on with last week's MOT test? Due to the competition, the answers will be published next week.Finally, a date for your diaries if you are involved with your firm's T&C scheme. There is a CII learning and development forum at Aldermanbury on 9 September.Contact firstname.lastname@example.org (quickly) to book a place at £60 for CII members and £75 for non-members to include lunch.The day is full of top industry speakers talking about the key tasks for approved person's job specs (chief execuitve, finance, compliance, risk management and supervisor) and is a must for anyone getting ready for FSA regulation.Also a great chance to network with other T&C and compliance specialists and chat more about solving behavioural problems. Petrina Oxshott is a training and competence specialist with the RWA GroupProblem Behaviour (£6.99) is from the series of pocket books published by Management Pocketbooks Ltd, Alresford. Buy at: www.pocketbook.co.uk