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Managing Difficult Employees: Things You Need To Know

5 min read
Last Updated on 29 June, 2021
Managing Difficult Employees: Things You Need To Know

A workforce consists of various people with different ideologies, beliefs, and backgrounds. Among those, there will be people who have personalities that do not blend in well with the work environment. They tend to disrupt the work culture with their behavior and make the workplace toxic. Managing such difficult employees can be a draining job that can eventually decrease the productivity of other employees.

With the changing dynamics of the workplace, it has become crucial that employees maintain their unity. Without mutual understanding and trust, it is difficult to thrive in the ever-changing corporate environment. This is why it is essential to filter out the problematic employees to work with and sort out the issues troubling them.

This article aims to table the different ways you can handle difficult employees and facilitate a good working environment.

8 Ways to Manage Difficult Employees in the Workplace

1. Reward and Recognize

The lack of timely recognition can give rise to employees that are hard to deal with. It is because of the fact that they are not acknowledged for their hard work and efforts. They believe they are undervalued, which causes them to lose motivation to accomplish the tasks.

What can a manager or a leader do about it?

The best way to manage difficult employees is by facilitating a robust rewards and recognition system that can help a manager appreciate their employees. Not only will it boost their morale but it will elevate their job satisfaction levels. And to help managers out with providing such a platform, Vantage Rewards can play a pivotal role in increasing the recognition efforts and providing appropriate rewards that the employees will love in the long term.

Recommended: Vantage Rewards- Your One Stop Rewarding and Recognition Solution

2. Be Professional

The interaction you will have as a leader with your problematic employees will determine your conversation’s success. It is vital to maintain a professional relationship while focusing on dealing with such employees. The main thing to keep in mind is to create an environment where your employees will feel comfortable sharing their experiences.

Never try to make negative comments or assumptions about their condition before understanding their problem. Furthermore, do not target personally as it will make it even more challenging to resolve the issue. Instead, maintain professionalism and devise solutions that best suit the situation to manage any shortcomings swiftly.

3. Heed to Feedback

A feedback culture is crucially essential to heed the problems that an employee faces in an organization. Your day-to-day conversations with troubled employees will help you understand their overall condition. Acknowledging their feedback will give you a clearer picture of the difficulties they face, which has led to a bad behavioral change.

However, as a manager, if you are not facilitating a feedback system to pinpoint their struggles, it can make life difficult for both you and your employees. A leader should be the one that can help them overcome their obstacles, provide employee assistance whenever possible, and ensure an employee-centric work environment for greater sustainability and success in the long term.

Read more: 360 Degree Feedback and Everything That You Need to Know

4. Focus on Active Listening Practices

As mentioned above, feedback is crucial to understand the changes that an employee has to deal with. On the other hand, actively listening to what they have to say is as important as focusing on their feedback. An employee cannot share all their shortcomings in feedback. Sometimes, the team leader has to sit with them and have a one-on-one conversation to understand their perspective.

One should have a friendly approach and make the employees comfortable so that they do not have any trouble opening up about their difficulties. Listen to their questions and come up with appropriate answers so that they have a sense of belonging in the organization. This will nurture positive thoughts in them and help them connect with the rest of the team members.

Read more: Active Listening- It's Skills and Importance

5. Delegate and Give Clear Direction

The lack of clear job descriptions and expectations is one of the prime reasons employees lose interest in their jobs and resort to disruptive behavior. When employees feel that they are not given precise directives about their tasks, they feel less valued and lose the will to work. This breaks the team cohesion and unity resulting in a loss in efficiency and productivity.

On the other hand, when leaders provide clear direction about the employees’ job, it becomes easier for them to manage their employees. This will enable them to become productive and proficient in their job. Delegate their tasks as much as possible and guide them to attain more tremendous success for the organization.

6. Get to the Root of the Problem

Difficult employees are hard to collaborate with and minimize the team’s efficiency with their behavior and work ethics. But what might be the root cause of the problem that has led to such a situation? As a leader, it becomes essential that you do not ignore it and expect the situation to resolve itself. Understanding the difficulties faced by the employees both personally and professionally will give you a clear picture of what needs to be done.

The best thing you can do is assign an employee experience manager that can oversee the overall employee experience. Ask these managers to report and document any instances that can harm team cohesion and unity. Follow up with them and measure the outcome so that you can dig deeper and fix the problem at the earliest possible. Doing so will help you devise the appropriate solution and make a positive impact that will significantly improve difficult employees’ attitudes.

Learn more: The Roles of an Employee Experience Manager

7. Communicate Well

Managing difficult employees is not an easy task. And it becomes even more difficult if there is no communication between the manager and the employees with a bad attitude in a team. Always keep in mind that communication is a two-way process. It will require mutual respect and understanding so that both parties open up to each other and table the issues they face.

The approach is critical because while dealing with difficult employees, you would not want to fend them off without even getting to know the drawback. Keep it simple, professional, and to the point so that you do not go off-topic. Acknowledge what they have to say and emphasize their queries. Be emphatic, supportive, and honest with the employees that you find challenging to manage—act on addressing the issues quickly, which will help both the workplace culture and its overall efficiency.

8. Monitor Problematic Behavior

To manage difficult people or employees, managers must keep an eye on their specific behavior. Monitor how an employees’ bad attitude is impacting a team and the overall performance. If their actions are detrimental to team unity, it might be the right thing to talk directly with them. Speak about how their activities have harmed the morale of other employees. Also, make it clear about the consequences if they do not improve their attitude and actions.

The main aim should be to keep the bare minimum damage while managing difficult employees and improving their overall attitude. If all your efforts to make the situation better go in vain, then it might be high time to let go of the toxic employees regardless of their skill level. This will help you in maintaining a good company culture and improve the overall performance of the workforce.

Summing it Up!

Managing difficult employees is an ongoing process that will need proper planning and execution. Without a robust plan, it will become challenging to handle such employees that can negatively impact the company culture and make it hard for the workforce to perform at their best. If you have any more suggestions, do let us know in the comments below.

Mrinmoy Rabha is a content writer and digital marketer at Vantage Circle. He is an avid follower of football and passionate about singing. For any related queries, contact editor@vantagecircle.com

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