How to Deal with a Difficult Employee

Managers not only delegate assignments and measure the productivity and efficiency of their subordinates, but they also carry the responsibility of deciding who to hire and when to fire. Unfortunately, not all employees are respectful of this relationship and can throw an entire office off track if not kept in check. Here is how to deal with an employee who is disruptive, unproductive, or causing conflict in the workplace.

Listen to Them

People are often reluctant to share their personal struggles, so we never know what someone is going through unless we ask. Schedule a meeting with any difficult employees to understand why they may be dissatisfied with their job. Perhaps they have frustrations outside of work that are spilling over into their professional life. Work with them to see if there are any simple arrangements that can be made to help alleviate their personal problems, so they don’t affect the rest of your staff. For instance, if they are consistently late, maybe allow them a flexible start time if they agree to make up that time by staying later each day.

Give Warnings

Negativity is toxic and must be dealt with swiftly. One employee’s bad attitude can affect the overall mood and productivity of the office. Giving difficult employees a verbal warning will put them on notice and allow them to understand their behavior needs to change immediately or their job is at risk.

Set Goals

Managers should encourage the best from their employees and motivate them by setting goals. Establish clear behavioral goals that your difficult employee must maintain in order to remain employed. Typically, employees on notice have 30 days to hit assigned benchmarks without incident. After which, their performance is reviewed, and employment is either continued or terminated depending on their results.

Be Firm

Don’t let an employee take advantage of your professional courtesy. Second chances can easily turn into third and fourth chances if you don’t stand firm. As a manager, you can be understanding, but you can’t be their friend. If they fail to change their disruptive ways and continue being difficult, you must terminate their employment.

Effectively managing employees requires advanced intrapersonal skills. The LifeWorks training program at The Jobs Partnership can help you gain the specific strengths and abilities needed to successfully manage work and life. To get started, apply online or call The Jobs Partnership at 407-641-0755.

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