Operating a business comes with many challenges and none of them harder than handling difficult employees. The difficult ones are often also those who bring a lot to the table. They're hard to manage because they're also skillful. Sometimes, though, they happen to be a wrong match for the business culture.
It's a hard trade-off:
- Trade the morale of the workforce in place of performance?
- Trade the performance in place of the job satisfaction
Sometimes these individuals are worth more than their experience and expertise.
They are the type which cost capital in the long run because they alienate good talent or customers/clients. On paper, are a good asset to the business but in reality, they can be a pain.
The following are a variety of tactics on how you may want to approach the difficult employees if you're not quite ready to let them go.
Identify the Types of Employees
There will be a wide range of individuals you employ or have to deal with at your place of business. The difficult employees tend to break into certain types:
- Victims - Those who often feel they're always at the forefront of the issues; they somewhat own the issues though are quick to call foul when it starts to pressure themselves.
- Negatives - These are the ones that are always pointing the lower side of the projects and performance. They're tough to deal with because they're not ready to accept problems.
- Workaholics - People who brag about how overworked they are can be troublesome. The workaholic type often pushes themselves so hard that they place a burden on others that could be doing their tasks with no problem. Working longer hours don't always mean higher productivity. For these people, it doesn't quite click.
- Narcissist - Never fun to deal with because they are "holier than though". These types don't understand teamwork because they aren't the at the front and center of it all.
- Brainiac - Good ideas are great but when someone thinks theirs is always better than others it becomes problematic. These are the know-it-alls that disrupt the workflow because they're dismissive of any idea that isn't their own.
You're bound to find a few of these within any business group -- it'll be different based on the industry but you'll see the characteristics pop up.
So in terms of all this...
Dealing with the Difficult Ones
That's good and all to identify the difficult employees but what do you actually do when they start acting up and disrupting the workflow?
- Courses - A course on the matter of interactions with other employees can be an indirect but powerful way to deal with difficult employees. ACCI Lifeskills Courses are leading contenders to help align difficult employees with common business goals without alienating them through micromanagement.
- Group Activities - Some individuals are aggressive because they feel they feel they're in a constant state of competition versus working together for a common goal. Barriers can be broken by using group activities to build bonds and understanding.
- Culture - Align the workers with the company culture. Having these cultural aspects in place will deter those not fitting from joining in the first place. Those already on board will understand how to adapt to see the company to success which will reflect in their work.
- Champion Unique Qualities - Some employees seek attention for their efforts. It's important to reward them for hard work outside of pay raises. Champion them to others and let them know their efforts lead to success so they'll continue to do a great job.
What are some of the ways you handle the difficult employees?