When Employees Get Too Friendly with Clients
One of our best support members is very unfriendly. She helps when asked, but would never go out of her way to ask if she can help others. When we do ask her to do something outside of her area of responsibility, she will do it but she walks away in a huff and frowns the rest of the day. It’s getting to where other advisors don’t even want to ask her for help. She is alienating them and making it very difficult to get things done. There is a bottleneck occurring. One of my advisors talked to her but she started to cry and ran out of his office. What do I do?
This is a behavioral issue. Is this person also very quality-control oriented, and not that sociable and outgoing in general? She is probably more focused on compliance and being conscientious, rather than on being upbeat, motivated and optimistic. People on your team are very likely “reading” her wrong. There are individuals who are naturally less people-oriented. They are more skeptical; they like to be alone and they like to focus on the job at hand and do that job to perfection. They like working through whatever they have been assigned, and don’t particularly do well with “fire drills” or “curve balls” thrown their way. Does this sound like your staff member?
Unfortunately we often want others to behave as we do and we misread the cues they give us. If she is doing the work, is responsive, and ultimately takes care of what you need her to do, she isn’t the problem. The problem might be your advisors who are staying away from her!
Look at the quality and output of her work. Talk to her about specific behaviors if you like, but make sure you are very precise. If you want her to smile more in certain circumstances, tell her that specifically. If you want her to enthusiastically respond when asked to do something, tell her specifically what that enthusiasm would look like. She may need to fake it a bit, because this doesn’t sound like who she is.
Figure out what you really want. What is the real problem? What’s the obstacle? Make sure you are solving a real problem and not responding to differences in style and personality.
Beverly Flaxington co-founded The Collaborative, a consulting firm devoted to business building for the financial services industry in 1995; in 2008 she co-founded Advisors Trusted Advisor to offer dedicated practice management resources to advisors, planners and wealth managers. She is currently an adjunct professor at Suffolk University teaching undergraduate students Leadership & Social Responsibility. Beverly is a Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst (CPBA) and Certified Professional Values Analyst (CPVA).
She has spent over 25 years in the investment industry and has been featured in Selling Power Magazine and quoted in hundreds of media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, MSNBC.com, Investment News and Solutions Magazine for the FPA. She speaks frequently at investment industry conferences and is a speaker for the CFA Institute.