Business Management Styles for the most Difficult Employees

Dealing with difficult employees forms a natural part of business management. Managers typically look forward to having a team of highly motivated and skilled employees who display a high degree of self-management! The reality though is often very different.

Some types of difficult employees

I have come across the following difficult employees that require specific business management styles:

The Poor Performer: This person could be lazy and try to get away with doing a minimal amount of work.

A suitable business management approach is to talk to the employee. Find out why they are under-performing. Do they lack the required technical knowledge for the job? Do they have the required skills? Perhaps they are doing work that they just do not enjoy doing. Could the person be suffering from depression and generally disinterested in everything?

Their responses will indicate whether you need to provide further training, transfer them to a job they would enjoy or need to mentor them.

The Passive Aggressive Employee: This person is one of the most challenging ones to manage. They are difficult to engage. They always have reasons why they are unable to do something. They are typically resistant to any form of change. Passive aggressive employees say they will do something but then fail to follow through. As much as you try to get ideas from them, they remain passive. When you give suggestions, they shoot them all down!

This employee is one of the most business management intensive employees. Usually it is advisable to spend less time encouraging and motivating them. Instead focus on the task. Be directive: tell them what you want them to do and by when.

Instead of listening to all their excuses, drive forward with what needs to be done next. These employees often need you to micro manage them. Ensure that their weekly goals are clear and that you follow up regularly with them.

This person over time may become part of what is called the “dead wood” in the company. They add little value to the bottom line. You may need to manage them out through a clearly documented performance management process. A softer approach would be to have an open heart to heart conversation with them. Encourage them to look for other work if possible.

The Egotistical Employee: This person rates themselves very highly. They often lack self-insight. This makes it hard to give them feedback. They may question everything their manager says. In fact they feel they should be the manager!

This employee questions management continuously. They feel they have all the answers. They communicate forcefully.

As the manager you need to take a firm stand. Listen to them and hear what they have to say.  Try to engage them in finding solutions. If however, they keep on questioning and undermining you, confront the behaviour. Talk about their attitude and the impact it has on you and the team. Remain firm because they will try to wear you down. They lack self-insight and as a result it is difficult to get them to understand the impact of their behaviour on others.

Remain firm in your approach and communicate your expectations clearly.

General business management tips with employees

There are some basic business management concepts that are applicable to establishing, nurturing and growing a successful team.

Listening: Take time to listen to employees as this will help you connect with them at a person to person level.

Clarify expectations: Be clear on your vision and the kind of team you want to grow.

Determine training and development needs: Assess the team’s competencies in terms of knowledge, skills and attitude required for their work.

Document performance discussions: Keep notes of important aspects for future reference especially if you need to resort to performance management steps.

Be open about concerns: have heart to heart discussions about areas requiring further attention.

Explore solutions in a collaborative way: involve employees in finding solutions. This will make it easier to get their buy-in.

Try to understand what makes the person tick: this will enable you to gain maximum value out of the person.

Today’s employees want to be treated as people, not purely resources who deliver results. This means that management needs to become much more collaborative in their approach. Employees look for warmth and care in the seniors.

Career coaching will be of great benefit if you would like a closer work connection with your staff.

Posted in Business, Management.