One of the hardest parts of being a supervisor is dealing with “difficult employees.” There is often no perfect solution. Many managers avoid dealing with difficult employees because it is time consuming and one of the most challenging parts of a supervisor’s job. With the day-to-day pressures of meeting and achieving the company’s goals and expectations in order to stay competitive, working with these types of employees often takes a low priority. It is much easier to ignore the situation and hope it goes away.
The rewards of taking the time to coach and work with a difficult employee can be well worth the time and energy. The end result could be a change in team dynamics for the better, improved morale, increased productivity and the difference of whether or not your organization’s goals are met. Most importantly, it can be one of the most rewarding experiences you may have as a supervisor. The first step is to evaluate the situation.
There are many reasons why an employee is “difficult” and some examples of this include: poor work habits (i.e. lack of organizational skill or interpersonal communication), lack of motivation or interest in the work, lack of training, conflicts with other team members, bullying or personal problems. These are just a few possibilities.
Once you’ve evaluated the situation, take a moment to consider whether or not the employee has worked for anyone else. This is important because if the employee has worked for other supervisors this behavior was probably allowed. If this type of behavior has worked for the employee in the past, why shouldn’t it work now? If this is the case, the sooner you meet with the employee to address the problem, the better it will be for everyone.
1. Let the employee know the purpose of the one-on-one discussion (i.e. to review job performance).
2. Things to consider when meeting with the difficult employee:
3. Set a date and time for a follow up meeting to review progress as appropriate.
Remember, these are just a few suggestions for working with a difficult employee. There is no guarantee that you will be able to resolve the situation but it’s the best chance you have for turning a difficult employee around. It’s worth the time and effort to Enhance Human Performance to Drive Business Results™. The end result may just be the best thing for the employee, the team and your organization as a whole.