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How To Deal With Difficult Employees.

April 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Business, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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(ThySistas.comAs useful and essential as staff are for your business, you can’t deny that, sometimes, they cause more problems than they help to solve. Every business owner wants to manage a team of professional and happy employees, but that isn’t always possible, so when there is a particular employee causing problems within your business, you need to take action. If you don’t, your other employees will get distracted, and start to think that this behavior is acceptable, which will dramatically decrease the productivity of your entire business. If you’ve got a difficult employee that you have to deal with, here are some tips to help you out.

  1. Get The Facts

Before you think about speaking to a difficult employee, you need to figure out exactly what it is that they’ve done wrong. If you’ve been listening to the staff room gossip about someone, the last thing that you should do is jump to conclusions and immediately approach this person. Chances are, this will make the situation ten times worse. Instead, get some details from the people who were talking, and observe the employee to see if you can spot them doing anything wrong.

  1. Don’t Ignore The Problem

If you’ve noticed something going on, you shouldn’t just ignore it and go about your day. You may not like confrontation, but the problem isn’t just going to go away on its own, so you need to deal with it. If you don’t, it could start to affect the rest of your team, lowering the moral and productivity of other staff members. If they speak to clients, you could even lose business.  

  1. Remain Calm And Respectful

When someone starts to affect your business, something you’ve worked hard on and are passionate about, it’s understandable that you might get a little annoyed or even angry with this person. However, flying off the handle and accusing a member of your staff of all sorts isn’t going to fix the issues. You have to remain professional, calm, and respectful, even if they’re not with you.

  1. Listen To Them

When a member of staff is difficult, it’s easy to shut yourself off and stop listening or paying attention to what they have to say, but you shouldn’t. Hope isn’t lost yet, so stop making assumptions about this person and listen to what they have to say. There could be reasons for their behavior that you haven’t considered yet, and you’ll never know these reasons unless you listen. When you know what’s really going on, you can figure out how to help.

  1. Give Clear Feedback

When you speak to your employee, make sure that you’re incredibly clear about exactly what it is that they’re doing wrong. Yes, they may have reasons for their behavior, but that doesn’t make it okay, and they need to know that. If you fail to clarify this, they’ll continue to cause problems, because they won’t understand that they were problems in the first place. This is an uncomfortable task to complete, especially the first time, but you’ll get better at it.

  1. Don’t Get Personal

When you’re explaining the things that the member of staff is doing wrong, try to depersonalize the conversation as much as you can. Rather than say, “You have done this thing wrong”, say “I noticed you doing this thing, and that isn’t okay because -”. Try to be as constructive as you can be, and apply your advice to the entire team, rather than at them directly. Hopefully, this will stop the situation getting heated, as your employee won’t need to feel so defensive.

  1. Figure Out A Plan

Rather than explain your problems and then carry on with your work, take the time to sit down and write out an action plan to help your employee get back on track. You can start by writing down a list of realistic goals that they can achieve within a certain time frame. You can also arrange a catch up for in a few weeks time to discuss their progress and any problems they may have.

  1. Be Consistent

Once you’ve identified the things that your employee is doing wrong and came up with a way to resolve these problems, you can’t start to ignore the problems again and forget about the targets that you set together. Unless you’re consistent, the member of staff will start to think that they can get away with it, which will make other employees think the same. If you aren’t careful, you’ll have a whole team of staff who don’t complete their work in no time.

  1. Consider Disciplinary Action

If things don’t start to improve with your employee, it’s time to start considering disciplinary action. You can start by filling out a disciplinary action form to explain to your employee again what they’ve done wrong. If this doesn’t show them that you’re serious, then you should consider other punishments, like putting them on a warning or even letting them go. Usually, this is enough to show staff you mean business, and that they have to change.

  1. Learn To Let Go

Unfortunately, sometimes, it doesn’t matter what you do or how you try to help, people don’t fit, and things don’t work out. Firing someone is never easy, but if it’s got to this point, and nothing has started to improve, then it’s time to speak to your employee. This is going to be a difficult task, especially if your employee has been with you awhile, but you need to think about your business and the rest of the team, and put them first.

Dealing with difficult employees is always a challenge, but it’s one of those things that all managers and business owners face. Ignoring the problems isn’t going to do anyone any favors, including the employee in question, so stop putting off important conversations, and deal with things yourself as soon as you can. It will never get easy, but it will get easier, and soon enough you’ll be able to deal with difficult employees with confidence and professionalism.

Staff Writer; Laura King

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