Management 101: How To Deal With Difficult Employees

As a part of management, it can be difficult to complete your duties, while also playing babysitter to a number of employees. This is made even more difficult when problem employees are involved. Whether it’s an employee who doesn’t follow the rules or someone who fights with other employees, it can definitely affect productivity. Thankfully, you can put an end to the problem. Here are a few tips on how to deal with difficult employees.

Gather the Facts
It does you no good to approach an employee based on hearsay. You need to observe the employee, pull security tapes, get written reports from affected employees, etc. This allows you to pull from the information to provide examples of the problem. Remember to never mention the names of other employees that have reported the problem. Your employees should always feel safe coming to your about a problem employee.
Address the Problem ASAP
You need to nip problems in the bud as soon as they are brought to your attention. You cannot simply ignore them and hope they go away. Most problems will continue to escalate until you address them. As soon as you know what’s going on, and have facts to pull from, you need to speak with the employee.
Keep Coachings Personal
Coaching an employee should never occur in front of other employees. You need to bring the employee into your office, away from prying eyes. Not only does this allow the employee to speak confidentially, but it also prevents them from feeling embarrassed. This will allow you and the employee to have a one-on-one conversation that is less likely to be interrupted, which can help you get to the root of the problem.
Help the Employee Get Back on Track
Some employees aren’t even aware that there is a problem. It might be jokes that they’re making or just an annoying behavior. If you have a good employee that is worth keeping, you need to work with her to help her get back on track. This means you might need to give them a gentle remember now and again, but in most cases you can reform the employee.
Consider Termination
Of course, sometimes you can’t reform an employee and this means you’ll continuously have problems with them. This means your company needs to have set rules on how the termination process occurs. For example, if an employee is coached on the same problem three times, the fourth occurrence will lead to termination. Remember, in some cases, an employee may seem like the perfect candidate for a job, but turn out to be a poor choice. It’s best to admit that and let him go.
Difficult employees can greatly reduce the productivity of a company. This means you needs to address the problem ASAP, but be prepared to point out the issue with examples in private. If the employee is a great employee, and the problem is minor, you can work with him to fix it. If not, it may be time to consider termination.
About the Author: Pura Ohlmann works as a manager for a VOIP phone service. She enjoys the challenge of working with different personalities and does her best to ensure everyone gets along.