How to manage difficult employees

Good employees are your greatest asset because they produce plenty of work while also providing ideas and insights that can help your business improve. However, difficult employees can both be less productive and negatively affect the productivity of their colleagues. There are plenty of different types of difficult employees, from big-headed narcissists and bullies to lazy employees just waiting for 5 p.m. It is essential that you deal with difficult employees in the way that best suits your business as a whole.

Give clear feedback

The first step to dealing with any type of difficult employee is to make sure they are aware of the problem. Managers must be prepared to ask difficult employees into their office for a chat about their behaviour to explain what is wrong with it. It’s important that you have the people skills to do this in a way that doesn’t annoy or hurt the feelings of the employee. Difficult employees can be turned into good employees if given some clear, encouraging feedback on how they can improve. Be sure to talk to the employee as soon as you see or hear about an issue. Don’t put it off; tackle it head-on as soon as possible.

Assign accountability

In order to avoid a blame-shifting culture and difficult employees who never take responsibility for their actions, you must make it clear from the beginning who is responsible for what. Whenever new clients are taken on or new projects started, ensure that the plan spells out who exactly is responsible for which parts of the project. Encourage employees to open up about their concerns early on to ensure that no one is given a task that is beyond their capabilities.

Take a zero-tolerance approach to drugs

Both drinking and drugs use by workers can lead to difficult situations. Employees who are under the influence of either can have wild mood swings and behave in unpredictable ways. An employee who is addicted to a substance will also find it hard to spend eight hours at work without feeding the addiction at some point in the day. You must take a zero-tolerance approach to drink and drugs in the workplace. It is advisable to discourage drink and drug abuse by using drugs testing services in your workplace. 24 hour drug test results will ensure that any suspicions you have are quickly confirmed or refuted. Drugs and drink will not only negatively affect your employees’ productivity, they can also seriously harm their health. For both your business’ sake and for the safety of your employees, be sure to tackle drink and drugs and eradicate them from the workplace.

Keep your head

When an employee is being particularly difficult, it can be hard to not become irritated with him or her. After all, you are paying them, and they are not doing the work you are asking them to do, or not doing it to the standard required, perhaps even after plenty of feedback. As a manager, it is essential that you are able to keep a cool head when dealing with difficult employees so that you can work out the issues with as little emotional upset as possible. You must try to establish what the problem is and help whenever you can.