Difficult Employees

How to manage difficult employees

Learning how to manage difficult employees is a necessary skill for any business owner.

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Staff Leasing is a professional employer organization, not an employment agency.

We help you navigate tough situations, and help improve them before disciplinary action or termination is required.

Managing difficult employees begins with 5 essential steps:

1. Learn their strengths

Focus on finding the right fit between an employee’s strengths and the job they’re expected to perform. By finding the right fit, they’re much more likely to be successful. Sometimes, a “difficult” employee is simply in the wrong role. Help them establish career goals and develop a plan to achieve them.

2. Identify the problems, don't assume

Don’t jump to conclusions or assume you know what the real issues are. Open a dialogue with the person, and find out if they’re aware of their behavior and its impact on the team. If not, tactfully offer specific examples.

4. Provide actionable improvements

There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Tailoring your approach to the needs of an employee allows them the best chance for being part of a successful team.

3. Stay calm, show respect

Managing your own emotions when dealing with difficult employees or situations plays an important role in how effective you are in your efforts. Set a positive tone from the beginning, and maintain that attitude. Good leadership requires a balance of authenticity and compassion with professionalism.

5. Follow through

Once the tough conversation is through, underlying issues discovered, and a tailored plan implemented, it’s time to step back and monitor the progress. Measurable goals and a clear time frame to complete them are essential to proper follow up. All parties should have a clearly set and agreed upon timeline as their guide.

The 4 types of difficult employees

The Time Waster

This is the person that tends to drag their feet and run out the clock most days. It seems that whenever there’s work to be done, they are nowhere to be found.

The Narcissist

The Narcissist is someone whose world revolves around themselves. This can create myriad problems in the workplace as they normally don’t function well as a team player or in a leadership role. Sometimes they can even manifest as bullies. This can be very toxic for the workplace and must not be ignored.

The Victim

The Victim has a way of making their situation anyone’s fault but their own. They seem to always have someone or something to blame for not getting their job done right or on time.

The Downer

The Downer is an employee that seems to always cast a shadow of negativity or approach their work with pessimism. This attitude must be addressed immediately as it can spread like wildfire.

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