13 Ways to Manage Difficult Employees

 
 
By Dennis McCafferty  |  Posted 09-07-2014 Email
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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    Distinguish Between Bad Work and Clashing Styles
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    Distinguish Between Bad Work and Clashing Styles

    Your judgment may be influenced by a dislike for a particular employee's personal approach. Take a step back and drive toward an impartial, business-minded evaluation of performance.
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    Gain Consensus
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    Gain Consensus

    To further develop a fair assessment, ask team members to lend input without leading their responses.
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    Make Everything Clear
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    Make Everything Clear

    Set specific objectives in writing so the difficult employee can't say "but I thought you meant …" in the future.
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    Empower Peer Influencers
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    Empower Peer Influencers

    Sometimes, a struggling staffer improves more through peer pressure. So encourage your top team members to give an authoritative "push" when appropriate.
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    Build in Extra Feedback Time
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    Build in Extra Feedback Time

    Schedule feedback sessions more frequently for these workers, perhaps even once a week.
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    Always Begin Feedback Sessions on a Positive Note
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    Always Begin Feedback Sessions on a Positive Note

    No professional benefits from a non-stop brow-beating. To begin a session, finding something nice to say before discussing any issues.
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    Let These Employees Assess Themselves
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    Let These Employees Assess Themselves

    It also helps to begin a one-on-one by asking, "How do you think you've been doing?" That way, you get a sense of whether you're on the same page or if your expectations need to be further clarified.
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    Take the Team Approach
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    Take the Team Approach

    It's not "I need you to do better …" It's "We need to work on these improvement points together for the good of our team."
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    Maintain Your Standards
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    Maintain Your Standards

    Helping a problematic employee doesn't mean you lower the bar. Make it clear that long-term success will depend upon reaching needed but doable performance measures.
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    Don't Get Emotional
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    Don't Get Emotional

    By getting angry or upset, you'll only position yourself as someone to be avoided. Stay calm.
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    Call Out Positive Progress
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    Call Out Positive Progress

    Don't let a job well done on the part of struggling staffers go unnoticed. You'll spread good karma, while sending a message about the quality of performance you expect.
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    Come Up With a New Role
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    Come Up With a New Role

    Maybe you placed a hire in the wrong position for his or her skillset and interests. Before terminating anyone, consider whether there's another role that may be a better fit.
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    If an Eventual Termination Seems Inevitable
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    If an Eventual Termination Seems Inevitable

    Make sure you've already covered the traditional "three strike" steps: A verbal warning, followed by a written one, and then a "final" written one.
 

A troublesome employee can inflict significant damage upon your IT department. In fact, six of 10 managers say bad hires have lowered productivity, brought down office morale and even resulted in legal issues, according to research from CareerBuilder. And more than two of five organizations estimate that the cost of a bad hire is more than $25,000, while one-quarter say that figure exceeds $50,000. Obviously, CIOs and other managers can take action, and they do: Nearly 81,000 employees get fired in the U.S. every day. There is, however, another way—one that speaks to your capabilities as a leader who can rise to a difficult occasion, instead of simply ordering a pink slip: Inspiring a turnaround. Such an undertaking is far from easy, as it will require more planning and involvement on your part. However, a boss can take much pride and satisfaction in a successful employee makeover. The following 13 best practices provide guidance as to how. They were adapted from a number of online resources, including those presented by YourOfficeCoach.com and Monster.com. For more about the advice from YourOfficeCoach, click here.  For more about Monster's, click here

 
 
 
 
 
Dennis McCafferty is a freelance writer for Baseline Magazine.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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