How to Handle Difficult Employees

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There are so many different kinds of difficult employees as much as there are different personalities that you have to handle as the boss. Here are some examples and how to handle them:

Difficult employee#1: COMPLAINERS

They lack the sense of responsibility for their performance, blaming others for the task that is not done. They often engage in gossips instead of addressing the concerned person. In dealing with them, listen to them just once. Then remind them that everyone is experiencing the same difficulty as they have, and ask what they think is needed for them to complete their tasks.

difficult employee

Difficult employee#2: NARCISSIST

They are just concerned about themselves, nothing more, and nothing less. Narcissism is rooted in an individual’s personality that’s why it is very difficult to change. But as a manager, you can put their narcissism to good use. Because they are goal oriented, they may be motivated to adjust their behavior and work with the team.

Difficult employee#3: KNOW-IT-ALL

No question about it. These people are smart but they can be arrogant as well. Having this kind of person on your team can have a positive and negative impact. Let them handle the situation first and if it fails, offer to coach them along the way.

Difficult employee#4: MANIPULATIVE

This type of employee wants to be always in control. They like to take charge but they can be a micromanagers and bullies as well.  They are fond of ego tripping and often times very bad at delegating. As a manager, you must be firm with dealing with this type of people as they will try their best to get you into their way of thinking. Make a clear statement about the duties, responsibilities, and boundaries of each employee and remind it regularly so that they will avoid infringing other people’s territory.

Difficult employee#5: PESSIMISTS

They always see the bad things in every situation; they are also uncomfortable and hesitant with change and progress. They are very challenging to handle but they can also be important in team’s success. Train them to leverage their negativity to seek out positive team outcome. But be careful not to give them leadership role as they can crush a team’s spirit in an instant.

Other types of difficult employees which are more manageable than those stated above include: the ghost (one who’s always absent or always makes excuses), the victim (the who is not accountable for any tasks because she/he had been a victim of life’s circumstances), and the do-it-all type (one who cannot say not to everyone’s request at the expense of their own task).

Handling difficult employees is not a piece of cake. It takes years to develop this skill. As a leader, you need to identify difficult employees and distinguish their behaviors that need modification for the benefit of the whole team.

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