How to Document Negative Behavior in the Workplace

Documented negative behavior can become extremely important if conflict resolution cannot be achieved within normal internal channels. Documenting the steps that have been taken to resolve a conflict demonstrates to others that you've done everything possible to resolve the situation and you've followed all stated processes. Always include the following in your documentation.

  1. Times and dates of every interaction in which negative behavior is demonstrated. Interactions may be:
    • Phone calls.
    • Formal meetings.
    • Casual meetings in the hallway.
    • Emails and other written communications.
  2. A summary of the inappropriate behavior that took place during those interactions.
  3. Witnesses who have seen the person's inappropriate behavior.
  4. An itemization of things done to resolve the situation, including:
    • Boundaries and consequences that have been communicated and enforced.
    • Compromises.
    • Every attempt to resolve the situation.
    • The process followed to find resolution.

Documentation is very time consuming, but it can be the best defense when outside assistance is solicited.

Author: Sheri Schmeckpeper

Sheri Schmeckpeper holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Financial Management and Computer Information Systems as well as a Master's degree in Adult Education and Distance Learning. She is a Microsoft Certified Professional and Trainer. Sheri has implemented distance learning programs at three top institutions of higher education, has been a guest speaker on radio, and has presented at local and national training workshops. Her diverse background includes technology, education, interpersonal relations, finance, and management. Sheri has developed and facilitated courses in the areas of instructional technology and online learning, faculty development, communications, finance, and professional development and achievement. She is currently co-founder of the Institute for Instructional Excellence and directs the Center for Excellent Living where she is also a life coach.

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