Handling Difficult Employees


Difficult employees are those that express numerous symptoms, none of which are positive. For instance they might:

– Constantly complain
– Not help others
– Constantly bringing up problems without solutions
– Feeling a sense of entitlement
– Always late

Communication is crucial in resolving such issues, hoping that they will disappear will not help.
You have to figure out why the given employee is having such a problem, it could be:

– Excessive workload
– Pessimistic attitude in general
– Culture mis-match with the company
– Unhappy with current responsibilities
– Lack of skills in doing their job

The above may result in feelings of:

– Anxiety
– Inadequacy
– Inflexibility
– Insecurity

Always ask inquisitive questions, don’t play the blame game with the employee.
Some inquisitive questions are:

– That’s interesting, tell me more.
– Why would you say that?
– Why would you do that?
– Why would you ask that?

State facts and be honest about how the employee’s behavior impacts the team.
For instance if the employee tries to dominate meetings such that it discourages others from sharing ideas, then you might
want to approach the employee and ask them if they have given others enough chance to voice their opinions.
Maybe ask the employee that at the next meeting they should make it a point of asking others for ideas.
Follow up after the next meeting, and see if the employee picks up on cues from others.

Some other things that you can do is:

– Setting proper expectations is key in any case.
– Divert negative energy into positive productive energy.
– Set limits on activities so that no one person can dominate them.
– Speak positively about the good things the employee has done.

Try to convert the employee’s complaint to a commitment for self improvement.