Career Advice Tips to be more productive

Managing Difficult Employees

No one ever said being a manager was easy. And getting along with every single individual on your team? Forget it; no one is that lucky. While truly awful employees are, thankfully, uncommon, differing and sometimes even conflicting personalities in the workplace can be expected, at least from time to time. As a manager, it’s your responsibility to maintain and direct a certain level of professionalism, respect, and collaboration with your team members. If you find yourself facing the task of managing difficult employees, here are some ways to help you make the work relationship as successful as possible. 
Observe. Is this negative behaviour a recent development? Is something going on in the employee’s personal life that may be causing him or her to be nasty in the office? Does the employee seem bored or otherwise unsatisfied with the job? Watch how the individual interacts with others and determine if there’s an external cause for the bad attitude.  
Tackle the problem early. No one likes confrontations, but if you allow the behaviour to continue unchecked, the harder it will be to correct it in the future. As much as we would like to believe that the problem will go away on its own, it won’t. As the manager, you must address the issue before it has a chance to become a bad habit. 
Have a plan. If you have received complaints about a particularly adversarial colleague, assess the situation and determine if the offender needs coaching, training, or discipline. Does the employee need to learn how to modify specific behaviours, or does he/she need training courses to help fill in knowledge gaps? If the person is just a workplace bully, do they need a frank conversation about the ramifications of their actions and be placed on a probationary status? Taking the time to consider the right plan of action and how the issue can be resolved will help set everyone on the right path towards a more productive team environment. 
Isolate the individual. Toxic behaviour tends to breed toxic behaviour in others. Put some physical distance between the team and the offender by rearranging desks, reassigning projects, and reducing the number of team meetings. Until the circumstances change for the better, minimise the opportunities for negative interactions and the toxicity from spreading. This will help the other team members stay focused on their own work while a better solution is sought out. 
Impose consequences. People tend to respond to potential losses more strongly than potential gains. Be clear that there are consequences if they persist with their bad behaviour and outline what they are in clear terms. The next offense should result in a setback in something they value, such as working from home. The next offense can be a loss in a potential promotion or bonus they have been working towards. Hopefully there will be no third, and final, offense, but let them know that they stand to lose their job if they do not improve their actions. 
Document everything. In order to protect yourself, your team, and your company should the situation escalate, keep a detailed record of each offense and the response offered. This will help you prove a pattern of negative behaviour, track the steps you took to address it, the resources provided to help the employee, and the inability for the employee to conform.