Difficult employees can slow down business and suck colleagues into a negative vortex. They often seem to have a dark cloud above their heads in the office and even the best professionals, managers, execs, or CEOs spend valuable time worrying about what to do and how to manage them. While being on top of hiring can prevent this issue, it’s somewhat unavoidable. Problems arise in employee’s lives, business processes change, personalities clash, the possibilities are endless.
Here we have some tips to follow when you are faced with this challenge in your own office.
The first step is to hear this employee out. You need to take the time to understand what could be causing the issue. Are they frustrated with coworkers? Struggling in their own personal life? Unhappy with their career? Meet with them and ask how everything is going. Take a look at what resources you can offer that could help solve the problem.
Give Direct & Honest Feedback
Don’t assume this employee knows how their behavior affects others. Giving feedback that is specific, direct, and honest can go a long way. Objectively explain what the effect of the employee’s behavior is on the company and other employees. Discuss and create a development plan on what they can improve upon. Give them the chance to step up.
If worse comes to worst, you may have to fire this employee. Your tracks need to be covered as to why this is happening. You need to establish a pattern of behavior, what you did to address it, and failure to change. Document the ‘offenses’ and your responses. Support your claims through performance reviews, peer reviews, any resources provided to the employee, and anything else that is relevant. This will help protect the company and benefit the employee to understand why this decision had to be made.
If you're not okay with a behavior don't sometimes be okay with it and other times not. This will lead to more confusion and will not help the employee to improve. Speak up, and if the employee is continuing bad behavior after strictly being told about it, take action.
What’s at stake? Outline clearly what will happen if their behavior doesn’t change. Maybe it’s their upcoming bonus? This shows you are serious. Involve HR when you see fit, this will strengthen your case and provide another outlet for the employee to be heard.
Be Aware of the Procedure
This comes with the point about documentation. Make sure you've read up on the company policies and have the necessary conversation with HR on how you are handling situations. It can be a slow process sometimes, and it needs to be handled with high importance and care.
Take a Look at Yourself
Be mindful of how you handle this in front of others. Everything starts at the top. If you are approached about the employee from another colleague, listen to what they have to say. Take it into consideration, document it. Do not spread rumors or bad mouth the employee, it will only create more toxicity in the workplace.
Firing someone is one of the most upsetting parts of being a leader in business. The best managers recognize this and own up to it. Don’t make someone else do it, don’t put it off, don’t ignore the problems and hope they go away. Use these tips. Dot your I's and cross your T’s. Hopefully, the employee turns for the better, but if not you need to be fully equipped to make the right decision for the business.
Best of luck out there, it's not always easy!