How to get along with Difficult Employees

Are some of your employees difficult to deal with? Are they giving you a hard time? If YES, then this article is for you.

Difficult employees will not only affect you as their supervisor, but also the workplace environment, as well as the morale of the entire team. Reasons for being tough to work with may vary from genuine to non-genuine ones, but the quicker the problem is addressed, the higher the chances of finding a lasting solution.

We may not be a source of the rightful solution to dealing with difficult staff but we believe our advice will help you figure out a way forward. Read through the following:

Work with facts not hearsay and hyperbole

It’s very dangerous to be caught up in some office gossip, or taking action based on impulses. Before you get down to addressing any cases of difficult employees, be diligent enough in gathering your facts. The situation might be bad as at now, but you’ll be making it worse if you jump into conclusions based on entirely wrong details.

Some of the key questions you need to find answers to may include – In what ways are they being difficult to work with? Is it being a recurrent and disruptive behavior or it’s just an isolated occurrence? What’s the effect on the team’s morale and energy? And, finally, are there other members of the team involved?

Let them Express themselves

Never ever allow your own assumptions to overrule everything. As a manager, it is part of your responsibility to actually listen to your employees. However much you would like to put your point across to the employee in question, allow them to bring forth their own side of the story.

This may help you uncover some potential reasons behind their poor performance or behavior. For instance, they may be struggling with personal problems that could possibly negate their effort at work, or perhaps there’s a specific area of their role that is proving difficult to cope with.

Such feedback is crucial as you’ll have a glimpse of what could be happening behind the scenes.

Avoid making it Personal

Direct personal attack on your staff can lead to unwanted scenes of confrontations or other uncomfortable situations. However much you try to offer genuine advice, with the most innocent intentions, some people may feel like you’re launching personal attack on them.

So, to avoid sounding personal with your advice, always try your level best to be constructive with your feedback. Don’t generalize your feedback on their behavior. Instead, point out the specific areas where they’ve fallen short of your expectations. Avoid directing advice to individuals; instead, let it cut across to everyone in the team. Finally, be consistent with your criticism – or rather be professional at all cost.

Make a joint Action Plan

In a business setup, action plans are a great route to get you and your employees back on track.

Call for a meeting with them, and jointly come up with a comprehensive list of achievable goals. Then come up with bullet points on how to achieve the targets, and agree on a timeframe for implementation – not forgetting regular intervals for reporting the progress.

Give them some focus, track their progress, check in with them regularly, be supportive, and see how they’re fairing on as far as achieving their objectives is concerned.

Just be Honest

It’s unfortunate that, sometimes, people are just not good fit for your team, no matter how hard you try to salvage the situation.

If that’s the case, then chances are high that both you and the employee are aware of it. You might have tried nearly everything within your ability, and yet no significant improvement. Hold an honest conversation with the employee to find out whether they’re really happy in their current role. Some employees are honest enough to admit that they’re actually struggling or their heart isn’t in it at all.

This might call for a difficult decision to bring up a change, but might end up being the best for both parties, and the rest of the team. Don’t be afraid to follow it through.

Think about achieving a Positive Change

For sure, dealing with difficult staff is undoubtedly among the hardest things you have to bring to bed as a manager.

Unfortunately, the managerial role comes with such inevitable tasks. The way you address such a situation is enough to bring out your leadership skills, and also reveal to your team what kind of leader you are.

Regardless of the potential impact on the business, deal with difficult employees with courage and confidence. Face the problems head on – don’t ignore or put off any crucial conversation, and of course never delegate such a sensitive issue to anyone. With that kind of approach, any kind of negative can be turned into a positive.

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