Are Difficult Employees Damaging Your Business?

Difficult Employees
Difficult employees - those whose sole purpose seems to be making everybody’s day harder - can be found in every office and company across the world. As a business, it is sometimes hard to spot who the bad apples are but remember, misery loves company, so one person’s negative attitude is sure to spread. 

Difficult employees can manifest themselves in a number of unprofessional ways, all of which will negatively affect your business: bringing down morale, encouraging resentment, driving down productivity and upping the level of customer dissatisfaction are just a few examples. 

Nipping the problem in the bud is always the best course of action with these kinds of misconduct situations; however, if you are not experienced in doing so, this can lead to complications. When proceeding in an employee misconduct investigation, make sure you have the facts. 

When dealing with a difficult employee, it is best to have a plan:

1.    Once they have been brought to your attention, don’t ignore the problem

Being upfront and diplomatic is the best way to approach a difficult employee and to get to the bottom of where their difficulties have arisen from. This is not possible if you do not take the time to tackle the problem head-on. Leaving a difficult employee to stew in their own misery can lead to more complex and time-consuming issues later on.

2.     Don’t send them to the principal’s office

When getting to the bottom of their grievance, make sure you create a comfortable and welcoming space for them to share what has been affecting them. Don’t fight their negativity with your own. They are not a naughty school kid that has been sent to the principal; they are an adult who is having difficulty at work.

3.    Don’t assume that they are in the wrong

This goes hand in hand with not sending them to the principal’s office. Meet with them on the same level and treat the interaction as a learning experience for both of you. If their grievance with the company is this strong, perhaps there is an area that needs improvement. It is perfectly possible that a compromise can be reached.

4.    Follow-through

If you have reached a compromise and both parties are happy to create a plan, follow through with it. Empty promises and postponed plans are a surefire way to foster even more negativity which can damage your newly created relationship with the employee, bringing down the overall morale within the business.

5.    Don’t hold a grudge

If attacking the problem, head on didn’t provide the solution that you wanted, don’t hold that over the employee. Holding a grudge in the workplace will only dampen spirits, and you will end up with more than one difficult employee.

6.    Sometimes they just aren’t the right fit

It is obviously important to discover this prior to hiring the employee, but sometimes it becomes apparent that these difficult people are not well suited to your company’s ethos - and that is ok. If they are causing difficulties for your business, they are perhaps better suited elsewhere and will have the opportunity to become a better employee. 

keywords: managing difficult employees, how to deal with difficult employees, how to manage difficult employees, how to manage difficult employees at work.