3 Tips for Managing a Difficult Employee

Just about every manager will encounter a difficult employee at some point in their career.  This might be an employee who is not performing well, is difficult to deal with, doesn’t get along well with others in the office, or just doesn’t do what is expected of them.  Unfortunately, most managers do not know how to properly handle the situation and exhaust themselves trying to figure out a solution.  Here are three things that a great manager can do when confronted with a difficult employee.

Listen to Them

Never underestimate the power of listening.  The common reaction to a difficult employee is to try and ignore them in hopes that the situation will resolve itself.  Managers may find themselves frustrated and irritated and thus turn their attention away, but the best managers know that this is the time when they should be most attentive.  If someone is not performing well that is the best time try and figure out what is going on.  By listening to their point of view, managers might develop a better understanding of the problem and therefore come up with a better solution.  They might also be surprised to see how quickly the employee’s behavior changes when they actually feel like they are being heard.

Give Clear and Constructive Feedback

Oftentimes managers will spend months complaining about a difficult employee but they never actually give them any feedback about what they could be doing differently.  It is certainly not easy to have to give an employee negative feedback but a good manager understands that this is part of the job.  When you offer feedback and constructive criticism you are providing the employee with specific details about how they can improve and you are working to find a solution.

Document the Behavior

Whenever a manger is experiencing significant problems with an employee it is important to write down and document exactly what is happening.  Managers find themselves in a bind when they want to terminate an employee but don’t have any proof of their bad behavior.  Good managers understand the importance of documentation and they know that it is part of being responsible and proactive.

Dealing with difficult employees is never easy, but it is part of any manager’s job.  If you follow these helpful tips when dealing with a difficult employee then regardless of the outcome you will know that have done your best as a manager.