HUMAN RESOURCES / AUG. 09, 2013
version 3, draft 3

How to Handle Difficult Employees

Every workplace has a difficult employee; in fact, some workplaces are unfortunate enough to have several! As a manager or team leader, it is important that you have the people skills, communication skills, and ability to solve a problem with minimal fuss and disruption.

From the office gossiper to the mean spirited employee, as a manager you must know how to manage them in line with employment standards, office procedures and the overall productivity of your department.

Tackling a situation involving a difficult employee

Your main aim is to resolve a problem before it gets worse and affects other employees' and your company’s productivity. Approach the situation with a diplomatic yet authoritative attitude and ensure that the boundaries you set are respected, and a fair yet appropriate solution is found.

Employees handling a difficult colleague can often get out of control and end up causing a bigger problem that what needs to be. Instead, you have to address the problem – manager to employee. The way you handle a difficult employee will determine how they react, and so it is vital that you do not take an aggressive, unprofessional, or offensive one when speaking to them.

Types of difficult employees:

  1. Mean spirited employee - has a negative attitude and tends to ‘hate’ their job, their employer or even work colleagues.
  2. Self-obsessed employee - believes their opinions and work are more important than any other persons, and they tend to behave in a selfish manner.  
  3. Talk-a lot employee - talks a lot but never listens to what they are being told, which results in poor organization, tasks being carried out incorrectly, and mishaps.
  4. Promise breaker – is unreliable and never keeps their work commitments. When it comes to meeting deadlines and needing an employee to rely on, this employee will not be that person!
  5. Bully employee - usually affects the confidence and self-worth of their colleagues and has a severely detrimental effect to the overall morale of their team.

The key to a productive workforce is high morale

By remedying problems as they arise you can heighten your chances of creating a happy working environment. There may be underlying staff problems that you are not aware of so be sure to set up an open environment whereby your employees feel comfortable to come to you with any issues they know of or are affected by.  

 

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