Dealing with difficult people in our personal lives is different then dealing with them in our professional lives, especially when we are the supervisor or manager. Difficult employees or co-workers usually have an excuse for everything; they are late, they leave early, they never get their work completed on time, and if it is completed on time, it is usually sub-par, they ask questions about very trivial things, they harass us and never leave us alone, they do not pay attention to details and get projects mixed up, they are forgetful and they constantly challenge us on ridiculous things.
In addition, the thing that really upset us was they were rude to a customer or client or they embarrassed us at a meeting.
Have you ever worked with a co-worker that had those qualities? I have many times.
There are a few ways to handle problematic employees and co-workers.
Never ignore employees’ comments, concerns or requests – Never ignore them and think the problem is going to go away because it can lead to progressive problems and create more problems in the long run. As managers and supervisors, we need to guide and inspire our employees to perform the best they can. Thus, if there is a problem, confront it before it festers into a large dispute.
Be proactive and find out what the problems are – Being proactive when we spot problems will certain resolve it before we give it a chance to escalate into something that causes irreparable damage. Many managers will let problems go because they don’t want to be viewed as the bad person as many employees will. However, as managers and supervisors, it is our responsibility to take the appropriate action and resolve whatever problems our employees are having.
Investigate all sides of the story – If an employee complains about another employee, investigate the problem. Talk to one another personally and hear both sides of the story. After hearing both sides of the story, develop a few different strategies to resolve the problems. Everyone will become much more productive after any bad feelings are reconciled.
Help employees get back to work and be more productive – Once a difficult employee understands his/her disruptive and difficult behavior, helping them get back to work will make the final work product better. It is very important to coach the employee on good behavior. If the employee has been coached for a certain amount of time and the behavior is still not up to par, then it might be time to consider terminating employment.
Probation and termination – Placing the employee on probation should help him or her identify and resolve bad behavior. If the problem can’t be resolved and the employee continually causes problems, termination may be the only option.
Most employees would be willing to listen to our feedback, especially in times of high unemployment.
If you need assistance with resolving employee problems, contact Kristin at [email protected].