Managers in leadership positions often face the daunting task of handling difficult employees. When an employee exhibits problematic behavior and a poor attitude, it can quickly spread and negatively impact the entire team’s productivity.
To mitigate these negative effects, managers must address difficult employees immediately. Read on for guidance on dealing with difficult employees to promote a healthier, more productive work environment.
#1: Address a Worker’s Behavior, Not Their Personality
To effectively handle a difficult employee, concentrate on their behavior rather than their personality traits. Avoid being critical and instead provide support as you guide them in correcting problematic behaviors. Highlight the undesirable behavior in a nonconfrontational manner to prevent hostility. Giving specific examples of negative attitudes and behaviors helps employees comprehend the problem, as they may not be aware that their conduct is causing difficulties.
#2: Ask for Feedback
An employee’s difficult behavior may stem from dissatisfaction with their work environment. As a manager, you should encourage feedback from all team members and create a safe space where colleagues can express their concerns openly and honestly. Listen actively to their perspective without being judgmental or biased. Simply providing a listening ear and understanding their point of view may be enough to initiate positive changes in their behavior and attitude.
#3: Provide Clear Instructions for Improvement and Outline Expectations
In order to bring about change, your difficult colleague must comprehend your expectations. Collaborate with the individual to document the behavioral changes you would like to see and set your expectations. Develop a plan that outlines the objectives, a clear timeline and periodic progress evaluations. Be sure to include the consequences if they fail to make these necessary behavioral changes.
#4: Track Progress
Once you have developed a plan for the problematic employee, monitoring their progress is crucial to ensure they are on track to achieve their goals within the agreed timeline. Here are some ways to do that effectively:
- Evaluate the quality of their work regularly to ensure they are meeting the required standards.
- Schedule one-on-one meetings with the employee to discuss their progress, provide support and offer feedback on areas that need improvement.
- Document your observations and report on their progress periodically to track their success and identify areas for improvement.
By consistently monitoring a difficult employee’s progress, you can ensure they make the necessary changes to improve their behavior and contribute to a more productive work environment.
When dealing with difficult employees, focusing on their behavior rather than their personality traits is vital. Provide specific examples of negative behavior and try to understand the root of the problem. Encourage feedback, give clear instructions and outline expectations and consequences. A comprehensive hiring process can help minimize the chances of hiring difficult employees in the first place.
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This blog is intended for informational and educational use only. It is not exhaustive and should not be construed as legal advice. Please contact your insurance professional for further information.