The Key to Preventing Disruptive Behavior at Work? Making Team Members Feel Valued.

It is proven that when employees feel acknowledged and valued at work, they are more engaged, collaborative, and invested in the organization’s success. However, when employees feel underappreciated, resentment can fester, morale can drop, and disruptive or destructive behaviors will start to emerge. These behaviors are common and almost always a result of employees feeling undervalued. Some examples include:

  • Spreading rumors or gossip about coworkers
  • Undermining team efforts by refusing to collaborate
  • Interrupting or dismissing others’ ideas
  • Withholding important information from others
  • Refusing to comply with manager requests or company policies
  • Slowing productivity or dragging out work

Leaders who focus on building a positive, supportive work culture can help to prevent these behaviors while simultaneously bringing out the best in their people. Here are some keys to making team members feel valued and minimizing disruptive behaviors:

Recognize Contributions

A simple “thank you” goes a long way. When your team knows their efforts are being noticed, they feel more motivated to keep up the good work. Take time each week to acknowledge individual contributions and accomplishments, both publicly and privately. Send personal emails or handwritten notes, make congratulatory announcements at meetings, and find other creative ways to show appreciation.

Listen Actively

When speaking with team members, be fully present. Maintain eye contact, ask thoughtful questions, and avoid distractions. Make it clear you are interested in what they have to say. Follow up on concerns raised and provide updates on any action taken. Active listening demonstrates respect and builds trust.

Provide Opportunities for Growth

Invest in your team’s development. Offer access to training and educational resources that match individual interests and goals. Support mentoring programs that let employees learn from more experienced colleagues. Accommodate stretch assignments and job rotations that build new skills. Professional growth is motivating and helps retain talent.

Encourage Collaboration

Create opportunities for employees to work together toward common goals. Collaborative projects allow people to see their coworkers’ strengths and contributions firsthand, promoting mutual understanding and empathy. Brainstorming sessions generate fresh ideas while cross-functional teams foster organizational cohesion.

Give Regular Feedback

Don’t wait for formal reviews to provide feedback. Give regular, timely praise for wins and constructive suggestions for improvements. Feedback is most meaningful when specific, actionable, and focused on behaviors rather than personalities. Frame even critical feedback in a positive way. Guidance helps people grow.

Offer Flexibility

Provide flexibility in when and where work gets done. Trust employees to manage their own time. Within reason, support modified schedules, telecommuting options, and job shares. Flexibility empowers people to integrate work with personal needs and public health considerations. This promotes loyalty and well-being.

Model Respect

As a leader, set the tone for respectful interactions. Be courteous in all communications and avoid favoritism. Resolve any issues compassionately and privately. Demonstrate healthy conflict resolution through open dialogue. If conflicts persist, bring in neutral mediators. Your example carries weight, so handle challenges with grace.

When employees feel truly valued, they naturally want to rise to expectations. By focusing on acknowledgment, growth, and respect, leaders can curb the likelihood of disruptive behaviors taking hold. Learn more about how to channel your team’s energy into collaborative efforts that drive performance to new heights in our event, Cultivating Connections: Strengthening Workplace Relationships.”