If you are a manager, you may be fortunate enough to have a team that works well together. Your people are cooperative, empathetic, look out for each other. But that is not always the case. There may be times when you have a difficult employee on your hands, a person who, for one reason or another, does not work well with the rest of your team.
They are more often a roadblock than a reliable member of the team. How do you deal with such a person? Here are a few tips.
1. Tackle the problem right away
Don’t pretend it doesn’t exist and hope that the situation will somehow resolve itself. It won’t. It needs to be handled immediately because the troublesome individual will poison the workplace atmosphere, causing tension and reducing productivity. If left unattended, the situation will in all likelihood only get worse.
Other members on the team will also notice your hands-off posture, and this will probably result in them having a lack of confidence in your leadership abilities. They may consider making a move to another department or company.
2. Focus on the problem, not the person
You need to talk to the person about his or her behavior, but the conversation needs to be amicable and professional. You cannot simply go in making accusations and criticizing and order them to change.
You need to create a relaxed atmosphere, one where the person feels free to share his or her feelings. You need to show your concern for the person.
3. Don’t assume anything
Your first task is to listen, to get the employee’s side of the story. You need to determine, first of all, if the person is aware of the problem.
If not, you need to explain it to the person in a very factual, straightforward manner and how it is affecting the work environment.
Try to uncover the cause of their behavior, so you can take steps to resolve the problem. It could be something outside of work. The person may be having personal problems. In that case, you can suggest resources that may be able to help him, such as an employee assistance program.
4. Recommend solutions
When you have determined the cause of the problem, you can then decide what action needs to be taken to handle it. You can begin by asking the person what help he or she would like to make improvements.
Each situation is different, and how you address it should be adapted to the particular problem you are facing.
5. Monitor the situation
After taking steps to confront the problem, you need to keep an eye on the person’s behavior to see if there has been any improvement. You should set up a time frame and goals for the employee to achieve as part of the change process.
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