How to Deal With Difficult Employees

How to Deal With Difficult Employees
January 11, 2023 Off By zswes45sd

As an experienced manager or even a first-time manager, the chances of encountering a difficult employee are, unfortunately, very high. Managing a challenging employee is a challenge that many leaders dread, but it will inevitably come up at some point.  

You need to prepare yourself in advance to handle this situation without causing additional problems. Even if you are one of the lucky managers who does not have a chronically cranky member on the team, there will always be that one person who, while not generally difficult to work with, has moments of inflexibility and stubbornness. 

So how do you manage different team situations without looking like a bad person? Keep reading this article to find out how to manage difficult employees. 

Who is a Difficult Employee? 

To solve a problem, we must first study it and make sure we fully comprehend it. Only then can we come up with a solution. 

A problem employee is one who creates issues at work. Some issues are more obvious than others, such as disrespecting seniors, engaging in gossip, or promoting office politics for one’s own gain.

Less obvious issues include consistently coming across as overwhelmed, upset, or irritable. Most of these are uncontrollable moods, not actions that might harm other people. 

Problem employees often exhibit small behaviors that compound over time, such as arriving late for meetings, purposefully ignoring task status updates in the project management platform, or simply failing to reply to emails in a timely manner. 

These employees’ actions not only have an impact on their careers and the organization as a whole, but one employee’s negative attitude or emotional ups and downs may have a cascading effect on your entire workplace culture. Whether it is missed deadlines or self-sabotage, these employees’ actions will no doubt impact everyone else on the team.   

How to Deal with Difficult Employees as a Manager 

When a company struggles to manage a difficult employee, productivity can suffer and the workplace can become hostile. 

Let us consider the first case scenario, imagine you are a manager and the organization heads say to you that they are having a hard time managing a difficult employee and they want you to handle it. What would you do? You as a manager should directly offboard such employees. This can improve the performance and morale of the other employees. 

However, as a new or experienced manager, dismissing problematic employees shouldn’t be your first course of action. You might discover that there are additional strategies for handling the problematic employee’s behavior as you gain more information about the circumstance. 

If you’re a manager and you don’t like a certain behavior, don’t just ignore it. Instead, set expectations that are consistent with your organization’s policies and the standards you have for yourself. This will help employees copy what you do as you lead by example. 

If the environmental change is unsuccessful, try talking to difficult employees. Good managers will set specific consequences if the situation is still not improving. 

Try talking to the difficult workers and letting them know that they still have time to change by understanding the repercussions of their actions on the other team members. From there, you can monitor their progress and help them realize their new behavioral objectives.  

Problem-solving is all about collaboration. Employees are always against an “us against them” work culture but will appreciate you partnering with them to solve the issue.

Before firing an employee as a last resort, good managers will ensure that all efforts have been made to keep them on board. This includes trying everything within their power to keep even the most difficult employees on board. 

Closing Thoughts 

The best course of action when dealing with a difficult employee is to collaborate to come up with a solution that you both approve of. To do this, you must be open-minded, less egotistical, and always consider the big picture. Additionally, there is some advice for managers on how to deal with difficult employees. Keep checking back to learn more about this in the future.