How To: Managing Difficult Employees

Posted 3 years ago •

In any business, the vast majority of your employees will do their best to be hard-working team players. However, employees can sometimes be difficult to manage and handling their issues professionally is a key part of being a strong manager.

The angry employee

It’s easy to become defensive if an employee has a confrontational attitude, however the worst thing you can do as a manager is act in a similar manner. Part of the reason an employee might be angry is because they feel their voice is not being heard. Ask open-ended questions and listen carefully to understand the bigger picture.



The employee with poor work ethic

An employee with poor work ethic may be inattentive and unenthusiastic, often showing up late and failing to deliver results on time. When it comes to dealing with your employee’s poor performance, it’s important to establish consistent expectations and help them understand the impact of their actions. It can be easy to focus on the negative but if your employee is improving, don’t forget to reward good work - even if it’s just a compliment!



The gossiper

If one of your employees is spreading rumours or gossiping, it can potentially create a toxic work environment. Schedule a private meeting with them to explain how this affects the wider team and create a plan together to improve on their gossiping tendencies. Employees may not be aware that they are embroiled in gossip and will strive to do better.

The easily distracted employee

While these types of employees may not intentionally try and disrupt others, this can be a serious issue. Communication is key – ask for progress reports regularly to help keep them on track and implement small but frequent deadlines which will allow them to work from one goal to the next in a structured way.

The bully

There is a zero-tolerance approach to bullying in any workplace. Depending on the circumstance, an employee should be warned about their behaviour in the first incidence. If there is no change your HR department should be contacted, who will advise on how to proceed. We would recommend keeping a comprehensive written record of all incidences as you work to resolve the issue.



The pessimist

In the eyes of a pessimistic employee, every project is boring and every bright idea is bound to fail. Encourage them to keep an optimistic outlook, a good way of doing this is to ask your employee to list their key achievements so far and what they are looking to achieve in the year ahead.  

Are you looking for more advice on how to manage your employees? Check out our management blogs.

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