4 Ways to Manage Difficult Employees

As a business leader, there will be many times when you find yourself struggling with difficult employees. While many employees look great on paper, fulfilling all requirements the job requires, they can still have certain tendencies that can make them difficult to work with.

However, sometimes the quirks employees bring to the office are not necessarily worth firing them over. If they are still performing well, perhaps it is time to try a different management style in order to handle these situations. Difficult employees can hinder office morale and create a hostile work environment, thus it is important to deal with the situation.

Here are 4 ways to manage difficult employees:

  1. Expectations

When dealing with difficult, unmanageable employees, set firm expectations. Let them know what is and is not appropriate in the office, and what areas are non-negotiable in terms of expectations. By setting the standards and upholding them, there will be no confusion when you enforce those expectations.

Moreover, if you find you are having continuing difficulties with employees, consider looking into an employee assistance program, such as ComPsych, which is a company that helps employees manage problems that could be affecting their work performance. ComPsych can help employees get back on track, thereby helping your company stay on track.

  1. Prioritize

After working with a difficult employee, you will begin to notice what areas he or she resists. Prioritize those areas, addressing the most important ones first. For instance, if your employee is a sales rep, but has terrible customer service and a tendency to arrive late to work each day, begin with the customer service issue, as it directly affects your business’s customer loyalty and sales. While it is important to address their tardiness, focus on customer service first, moving onto the next issue once the first is resolved.

  1. Alternatives

Sometimes there are alternative methods that can be used to help difficult employees. If there is a scheduled deadline that must be met, which includes working extra hours for a week or so, and a difficult employee is having trouble complying with these rules, consider an alternative method. If they are unable or unwilling to come in early or work late, work with them to find a way to meet the deadline while also keeping them happy and engaged. Is that working from home at night instead of in the office? Or dispersing the hours so that they can work a few hours on a weekend instead? Whatever alternative you decide on, make sure they are aware that the deadline must be met, and if they cannot achieve it through their special circumstances, they will not be granted the same circumstances another time.

  1. Positive Reinforcement

Lastly, a method that often yields good results is positive reinforcement. If other employees are performing well without the same obstinance as a difficult employee, publicly reward them for their performance, as it will reveal to the difficult employee that there are rewards for upholding to company policy.

These 4 tips can help you manage even the most difficult of employees.