Can you keep difficult employees in check?
No matter how perfectly you design your own work environment, one problem factor is difficult to control: Difficult employees. Suddenly a absolute top employee shows questionable performance and a reliable employee appears irregularly for work. Important reports are a long time coming at crucial meetings. As a manager, you therefore need to know how to keep difficult employees in check and how to positively influence their behavior.
How to deal successfully with difficult employee behavior
The most important characteristics of managers
The productivity of your teams is at stake. So how can you make it clear to your employees where the boundaries lie between acceptable and unacceptable behavior? You should know the answer to this, because more and more headhunters are demanding such skills from managers these days. It is also extremely important to be a good listener to be able to absorb the information you receive from your team.
The top priority is communication. Only executives who have an open, precise and direct communication style can act successfully in the networked modern working world over the long term. This is the only way to identify important developments and problems at an early stage, develop synergies and find new approaches and solutions for questions that are becoming more complex. Lone fighters have no chance here.
In an ideal world, teams work together effectively and respectfully so that the processes within the company run smoothly. Moral guidelines, productivity, and great customer service: none of these should be a problem. It would be nice. The truth is often different …
As a manager, it is your responsibility to create a positive work environment . Because you are not only paid for your services, but also for those of your employees. Good managers are aware of this responsibility and know how to help their employees to be successful. This also includes the challenge of steering difficult employees in a positive direction.
4 behaviors that expose difficult employees
The 4 typical problem cases include absenteeism, delaying tactics, insubordination and negativity.
# 1 Absenteeism
Excessive absenteeism of employees leads to difficulties within the team dynamics and reduces the productivity of the colleagues concerned. Since important projects can be held up by this behavior, you should identify this misconduct as quickly as possible and take action.
What To Do : Find the reasons that are causing the employee not to show up for work. Talk to the employee directly and ask about the causes. Explain to him the difficulties that this creates. Make your perspective clear. Get verbal assurance that the employee will change something in the situation and explain the possible consequences. The next step would be a written warning. The employees must also be made aware of the consequences of their actions.
# 2 Delay Tactics
Do you have a member of staff in your ranks who accepts any project but is unable to meet deadlines? Such employees always wait until the last second until the urgency has reached a maximum. Most of the time, there is dissatisfaction with your own work or the reluctance to make a decision.
What to do: Here, too, it is important to understand why the employee chose the delay tactic. Talk about it openly with the employee. However, make it clear that this behavior is undesirable and needs to be changed. Offer ways management can support the employee and adjust deadlines accordingly. The employee must also be made clear what will happen if the situation worsens. Leave enough options open to intervene in the process and keep an eye on the progress.
# 3 Insubordination
This refers to employees who defy guidelines and instructions. This can take the form of inappropriate tonality and choice of words in communication, reluctance to complete tasks or disrespect for employees and superiors. Not only the authority of the manager is at stake here, but also the productivity of the rest of the employees.
What to do: Here it is important to document every discussion with an affected employee. You need to determine if this is really rebellious behavior or just miscommunication. It is also important to recognize whether it is a one-time thing or whether the employee is known for this misconduct. You need to make it clear to the employee why this behavior is harmful. Be specific and give the employee the opportunity to explain themselves. Ask if the employee might have suggestions on how to communicate more effectively, but do not leave any doubt that this behavior is inappropriate and will not be tolerated.
# 4 negativity
Employees who do not attract attention due to the above-mentioned misconduct, but are “only” permanently negative, are the greatest challenge for most managers. This means employees who cross moral boundaries and want to play employees off against each other by spreading gossip. You can also recognize these employees by the fact that they are constantly complaining and are permanently dissatisfied. Innovations and initiatives are a thorn in their side. Working with them is extremely exhausting and creativity and productivity are difficult to achieve here.
What to do: Observe the situation closely and pay attention to whether other team members are stressed by the behavior of these employees and are impaired in their productivity. Again, speak to the employee concerned and ask about the reasons that prompt him / her to behave in this way. Before you act hastily, listen to him / her. Show the employee what effects his / her behavior has on his / her colleagues. Concentrate on the behavior of the employee and not on the person behind it. Perhaps training in social skills or team building measures can help. However, if all does not work, you should consider the consequences.