How To Manage Difficult Employees

Most supervisors and managers will be promoted based on the skills that they have. Unfortunately, according to German Trujillo Manrique, only few of them actually know how to manage people. This is especially important when employees are difficult. A huge challenge for many supervisors and managers is to handle difficult employees. They cannot be controlled but remember that you can control the current environment. Here are some tips to help you get better results with the difficult employees.

Document Everything

You want to be covered in the event something goes wrong. If a conflict is handled by courts or upper management, proof is needed. Even if the employee is hired on the basis of a contract in which it is stated that you can terminate without cause and without reason, never terminate a contract without a proper documentation. This protects the business from wrongful termination lawsuits, which have been more common now than ever.

Document All Coaching And Training

All the training that is provided for the difficult employee is seen as coaching. As you manage difficult people, it is easy to assume that documentation is needed to terminate. This is not actually the case. It just proves that you tried to salvage the situation. Even if you do one-on-one training, it needs to be documented.

Do Not Use The Word “Attitude”

Whenever the word “Attitude” is used, it comes up as being highly subjective. When you say you do not like someone’s attitude, it is perceived that you do not have a problem with the work done and you just do not like the person. You want to be as specific as possible whenever giving feedback. For instance, if the person is not respectful with potential customers, this is what you have to say, not that his attitude is not a good one.

Focus On Work Quality And Specific Behaviors

Is the difficult employee rolling his eyes when given feedback? This is what you want to highlight and then ask what causes that. By focusing on specific behaviors and the quality of the work done it is a lot easier to take actions that actually help improve the working environment and put the difficult person on track.

Avoid Subjectivity At All Costs

Whenever dealing with the difficult employees you have to be objective. The idea is to make all objectives and goals specific, quantifiable and measurable. They also need to be put down in writing so that accountability can actually appear.

Make All Objectives And Goals Clear

This is imperative. As a supervisor and manager you have to make all objectives and goals as clear as possible. As an example, if working in customer service, a good goal would be something like: “respond to every customer complaint in 24 hours from when it was received”. If you have everything in writing and the difficult employee is made aware of it, accountability becomes much easier to handle. If you just talk about objectives and goals and they are not put down in writing, the employee can always claim he was not aware of them.


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