Dealing With a Difficult Employee
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Dealing with a difficult employee can be troublesome, especially when it affects the entire office. There are plenty solutions for this problem, but often people will ignore the problem for too long instead of facing it head on. Your business cannot afford to have an employee who is distracting others with their bad attitude. Fixing the issues will only help your office operate smoothly on a day to day basis.
There are many types of difficult employees ranging from disgruntled to insubordinate, but the common thread between all of them is negative behavior that has been effective for them in the past. If they got away with certain negative behaviors at a previous job chances are they will engage in those behaviors again. The behavior can be corrected if handled properly. Working with a difficult person can become a major irritant. Whether you work for a large company or a small business it can become a wearing struggle to go to work every day. Difficult people have a way of infiltrating the entire morale of the office and decrease productivity. It is very different to deal with people when they are not your direct co-worker or employee. Yes, everyone has dealt with a rude or nasty person over the phone, but that is fleeting, you can generally put it in perspective and move on from it. You can't move on as easily when you are dealing with the person for 8, 10 or 12 hours a day.
The first step in dealing with a difficult employee: don't ignore it. Ignoring the problem will only make it worse and in time you may lose valuable employees in the process. If the employee possesses valuable and redeeming qualities then there are ways to correct the behavior. Set aside a time to speak with the employee. Make sure you are open to hearing their point of view and try not to place blame. You will get a much more genuine response if you are not coming at the employee in an aggressive manner. Sometimes there may be factors outside of work that are causing the employee to act out. Although letting personal problems affect you at work is not ideal, it can be fixed. Let the employee know that although they may be having a tough time outside work it is not an excuse to take it out on others. Essentially you are giving the person a warning and a chance to correct the behavior. If the employee has issues with a co-worker you can attempt to mediate or switch the employees' department, but if that does not work you must start seriously considering other options.
Terminating an employee is never easy but there are some situations where it is the best for you and the rest of the office. No matter how much you try some people are just too difficult to be helped. However, there ways to avoid terminating employees as a last resort; do not only have performance evaluations annually. Make the effort to have brief evaluations year round. Checking in with employees makes them feel important and like they are a priority; they should feel valued at work. Each person has different motivations, needs, and styles. Finding ways to capitalize on positive behaviors will decrease the likelihood of becoming inundated with negative behaviors.
Most of the time a difficult employee will try to turn the negative behavior around especially during tough economic times. Remember, making the negative behavior as ineffective as possible will help. Once a difficult employee recognizes that they cannot manipulate you or their co-workers with their behavior, they might attempt to change. In situations where they do not attempt to make changes you may decide to let the person go. Sometimes it is necessary to make tough decisions in order to succeed in the long-run.