The end of the year is fast approaching, and with that comes a chance to reflect on what has been going well and what is not so great.
Wouldn’t it be lovely to finish the year strong and be able to look forward to starting the new year feeling fresh and positive?
Maybe you could do that if those team issues were resolved.
You know the ones; that team member who is difficult and obstructive, the overall low morale and lack of direction, the difficult conversations that you and other managers have been putting off.
Maybe the issues didn’t seem that pressing at first, but now they’re starting to harm the business, and with events like Christmas parties coming up, the faster you can get a handle on any problems, the better.
The problem with difficult employees
As a manager, it’s inevitable that you’ll come across difficult employees. It might be someone who seems to exist to be obstructive, who struggles to get along with others, or who doesn’t pull their weight. I bet you can add more than a few things to this list!
The problem with difficult employees is that their behaviour is much more than an annoyance; it can have a really negative impact on the business. Think about it; how much time do you spend dealing with the related issues around performance, attendance, or conflict? This is time that could be better spent on the tasks that are going to make a difference in the performance and profitability of the business. It also impacts on the team as a whole.
A team in conflict is not an engaged, happy, or productive team.
How to deal with a difficult employee
Nobody likes having difficult conversations, or dealing with difficult situations, especially if they haven’t had the experience of doing so. But the fact is, they can’t be swept under the carpet. Today’s irritation could become tomorrow’s much bigger problem if you don’t confront it.
Here are my top tips for dealing with difficult employees.
Don’t ignore the issue
This is the most important thing. Even if the idea of dealing with difficult people fills you with dread, you shouldn’t underestimate the impact that difficult team members can have on the business.
Talk to the employee, and listen
Don’t fall into the trap of listening to other people’s negative views or complaints about the person in question. You need to speak to the employee about what’s really going on. This is the only way you can understand the situation and work together to find out a solution. Maybe they have personal problems that are getting in the way of their work, or maybe they have a difficult relationship with their line manager. You’ll never know until you talk to them, and listen.
Listening is important. Try to stay calm and don’t interrupt them. You need to find out their take on the situation.
When you do have a conversation, be mindful of the language you’re using. Don’t be accusatory, instead, say something like ‘I’ve noticed that you’ve been late quite a few times lately, is everything okay?
This will get a better response than being confrontational. Let them know that you want to get to the bottom of any issues and that you’re there to help.
Emphasise the effect their behaviour is having
You need to explain to the employee how their behaviour is impacting on others and on the business. Then you need to be clear on what needs to happen for things to improve, and the possible implications should things not improve.
Work together to find a solution
Whatever needs to be improved, whether it’s the performance, attendance, or something else, set some goals with the employee (or even better, let them set their own.). This will allow them to take ownership of the improvements they need to make. Agree on a date for getting together and reviewing progress.
Offer training or appropriate support
If an employee’s performance issues are down to a skills gap or a need for more training, creating a training plan should help get them back on track.
If the issues are down to something else, offer support like checking in with them regularly, or signposting them to counselling or similar.
Do you need help with people issues?
Whether you have a lot of experience of dealing with difficult situations or not, it can still be an unenviable task. Believe me, I’ve been where you are, and I know how heated some of these situations can get.
But do you ever feel like the issues in your team have gone on for long enough?
Why not get them sorted before Christmas so you can go into the new year with a clean slate and renewed focus on building a well-performing and profitable business?
I can help!
I can help you get to the bottom of issues in your team, and give you the tools you need to feel confident about having difficult conversations and dealing with those uncomfortable situations that have been festering for so long and harming the business.
How would it feel to know that by the end of this year, you could be well on your way to resolving your team problems and ready to start 2020 as you mean to go on?
Want to find out more about how I can help you turn things around in your team and get your business on the fast track to better performance and profitability?