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How To Deal With Difficult Employees

Dealing with difficult employees can be one of the hardest parts of a supervisor’s duties, and if it’s not the hardest part it’s likely the least favorite part of their job.

Vance Daniels, one of G&A Partners’ Client Advocates and HR experts, offered the following advice on steps supervisors can take to effectively manage their employees before it necessitates discipline.

Tips for supervisors on dealing with difficult employees

  • First, a supervisor should address poor behavior quickly.Allowing poor behavior to continue unchecked will often affect other employees and lead to poor morale and/or poor performance across the team.
  • As you notice poor behavior take some time to evaluate the situation.Separate the facts from emotion, look at the big picture and consider what factors may have contributed to the situation.
  • After you have evaluated the situation prepare to talk with the employee.As you talk with the employee focus on the poor behavior and not the person.  Use facts as much as possible to describe your concerns. For example, rather than telling an employee that he or she is being negative, use a specific example that demonstrates any negative behavior.
  • After you explain your concerns, give the employee time to provide any explanations. Use this time to listen – oftentimes if an employee feels heard it will resolve their concerns.  After this open discussion, work together to find a solution that will work for both of you.
  • The next step, which is often forgotten, is to follow up with the employee.

    If you see the poor behavior repeated it should be addressed again.  If you see improvement, be sure to let know that too.

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Ultimately, if an employee is unwilling to change their behavior or if their poor behavior is extreme it should lead to disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Having difficult conversations with employees

Poor behavior isn’t the only difficult topic managers need to talk to their employees about. Download G&A Partners’ “The Manager’s Guide to Difficult Workplace Conversations” for scripts you can use to help you get through some of the most uncomfortable workplace conversations you might have with an employee.

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