5 Tips for Handling a Difficult Employee

by | Nov 7, 2014 | Business Tips | 0 comments

I recently spoke with a self-storage manager who expressed concerned on how to deal with a difficult employee. As a business owner and manager, this situation is probably very common. We spend a lot of time at work and keeping the environment stress free is important. Here are 5 tips on handling a difficult employee.

1. Pay Attention
Sometimes problems go ignored because it is easier for us to pretend like they do not exist rather than dealing with them. Many times when an employee is being difficult we stop listening to them and noticing what they are doing. Make sure you do not make a habit of this behavior. The problem will not resolve itself and most likely will grow bigger if left unattended. As a business owner and manager it is vital that you know the work practices and behaviors of your employees. This information allows you to make the proper corrections when a difficult employee surfaces. Pay attention and listen to your employees so you understand the situations that are happening within your business. After all, if you are not paying attention to what the employee is doing – how can you correct the problem?

2. Give Feedback
Communication should be a priority when it comes to your employees. Performance reviews and providing feedback is an essential part of managing your employees. Make sure to talk to your difficult employees and give them constructive feedback on their performance. It can be uncomfortable to give feedback in certain situations, check out this article from Forbes.com for advice on making it easier to give feedback to employees. Having a talk with your employee allows them to know exactly where they need improvement and you can direct them to get back on track. Keep in mind, reviews shouldn’t be negative or all about criticism. It will be beneficial to let your employees know which areas they are excelling at as well as which need improvement. The key is to communicate and motivate your employees. When speaking with your difficult employee, motivate and encourage them to do well and make the proper adjustments – don’t beat them up over their faults.

3. Set Goals and Consequences
Now that you have made it clear to the employee that there are areas that need improvement, give them some specific goals to work towards. Include them in coming up with a plan of action that works for them. Be considerate that what works for one employee may not work for all. Everyone learns and works differently. During this time the employee should know they will receive the necessary support from their superiors. Make sure during this time to correct any wrong behavior and continue to provide feedback. Also, let them know when you expect to see the improvement. Be forward and tell the employee of any consequences they face if they do not adjust their behavior and performance. It is important that the employee realizes if changes do not occur there are repercussions.

Examples of bad employees

4. Keep Records
Now that you have done your research on the employee, given them feedback and set goals and consequences, make sure to keep a record of important situations you encounter. When you are having a significant problem with the employee, refer to your record and make a note. This will provide documentation on their behavior and help you keep track of the progress they make.

5. Be Brave
Stick to the goals and consequences you have discussed with your employee. If they have turned their behavior around and met the goals, let them know! If your employee did not make the necessary improvements, terminating the employee may be the final step in resolving your problems.  If you are weary about firing an employee take a look at this article from Monster.com with advice on the termination process. Firing someone from the job is never a pleasant task but it can be necessary to keep a peaceful and stress free work environment.

Handling a difficult employee can be a challenging and stressful time. These tips will help you in the event you encounter a difficult employee. Is there a tip you would like to share on this topic? Leave a comment below to share your tips.


Author : Andrea GreenwaldAndrea an Operations Analyst for the U-Haul Self-Storage Affiliate Network. Along with her duties as an operations analyst, Andrea manages the U-Haul Self-Storage Affiliate Network’s social media pages. She is currently studying at Gannon University to earn her MBA in Marketing and has previous experience in marketing and event planning. In her free time, she enjoys going bowling and has recently hit her highest score of 150.