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Bizarre Behaviors

I manage a small department, and one of my employees is very superstitious. She seems to have a superstition for just about everything, and this is getting in the way of her work and the work of the other employees. What's the best way to approach her?

When you have an employee who is consumed with superstition, there is an irony because it is rather unlucky for her to be so superstitious. If her rituals were actually bringing her good luck, you would not be trying to figure out what to do with her.

There are very successful business-people who have lucky ties, avoid black cats, maneuver around ladders, and no one says much about them. In fact, when they go into their high-rise office buildings, there is usually no thirteenth floor.

However, when an employee is engaging in any behavior that is preventing him or her from getting the work done, or if such behaviors are interfering with the work of others, then it is time to address the matter. Since it is unlikely that you will get at whatever is causing your employee to act this way, your best approach is to focus on her specific behaviors.

You should meet with her and indicate that certain aspects of her behavior are interfering with her performance and everyone else's. Be sure to cite some examples, describe better ways to act in such situations, and let her know that you are willing to help. If her work is truly more important than her superstitions, she should hear what you are saying...knock on wood.

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