Top 5 Ways to Manage Difficult Employees
For managers and company leaders, dealing with difficult employees can especially be a challenge. A difficult employee can negatively impact the entire team’s morale and can lead to decreased productivity and increased turnover.
Here’s the good news: A difficult employee does not equal a bad one. It all comes back to the quality of management. While we all want that perfect employee who basically manages themselves (and kills it), some employees may simply require a little more oversight, engagement, and leadership.
It’s important to know how to handle these difficult situations effectively. In this blog post, we’ll share the Top 5 Ways to Manage Difficult Employees and Improve Team Morale.
1. Identify and Address Behavioral Traits
How well do you actually know your staff? Do you understand what motivates them, what stresses them out, and how they learn best? Moreover, do you know how these traits differ among your individual staff members? It is extremely important that you identify these traits, understand their perspective, and align management styles accordingly.
Here’s another example. Maybe you have an employee who has difficulty staying on task. Evaluate how those tasks are being kept. Maybe they’re the type of person who needs a clearly outlined list with specific dates and deadlines. Perhaps they’re a little on the forgetful side, and the solution is consistent notifications on their phone to keep them on track.
The bottom line is, everyone has different learning and time management styles. If you notice an employee who’s falling short in their expectations, have a conversation with them and ask them what they need from management. It’s all about communication and engagement!
2. Offer Comprehensive Training Resources That Align With the Three Different Learning Styles
There are three main learning styles: visual (colorful images, descriptive guides), auditory (lectures, conversations, discussions), and kinesthetic (hands-on practice). Understanding the learning styles of your team can be revolutionary for creating stellar skills.
Let’s say you have an employee who’s having difficulty picking up a skill. Evaluate the training methods that were given to them. Maybe they are a kinesthetic learner and need an in-person demonstration rather than a written guide. Or, perhaps your employee has a shorter attention span and would benefit from micro-training.
By understanding which of the three learning styles your staff members respond to, you can tailor training to individual strengths and be aware of their weaknesses.
3: Set Clear Expectations (and Stick to It)
It’s essential to articulate precisely what you expect from the employee. This includes detailing their job responsibilities, tasks, and the overall role they play within the organization. The clearer you are about these expectations, the easier it is for the employee to understand their role and purpose. Vague or ambiguous expectations can lead to confusion and frustration.
Setting a timeline or deadline for improvement is also helpful. This creates a sense of urgency and provides a structured framework for the employee to work within. For instance, if an employee is struggling with meeting project deadlines, you could set a timeline that includes specific milestones for improvement over the next three months. This way, the employee knows when their progress will be evaluated, and it gives them a target to work towards.
Lastly, follow up regularly to ensure the employee is making progress toward meeting the expectations. This can take the form of weekly or monthly check-ins, performance reviews, or feedback sessions. During these follow-up discussions, provide constructive feedback on their performance, acknowledge any improvements, and address any remaining issues or obstacles. These meetings also offer an opportunity to adjust the timeline if necessary or provide additional support if the employee is struggling.
4. Provide and Gather Feedback (360 Degree Feedback)
Providing feedback is an essential part of managing a team and making sure all voices are heard. After all, who knows your business better than the team that runs it? Having this feedback ensures you can always address conflicts or outstanding performance proactively. Be sure to provide specific feedback to the employee, including what they’re doing well and what needs improvement. Make sure to provide feedback regularly and consistently, not just during performance reviews.
On OneTeam360, users are prompted to submit their feedback on managers and employees (it’s what we call 360-degree feedback). This provides an easy way to organize and keep track of feedback from all corners of your organization over time. This documentation is also super handy when performance reviews come around!
5: Lead by Example
As a leader, it’s essential to lead by example. Set a positive tone for the team and model the behavior you want to see from your employees. Make sure to hold yourself to the same standards you expect from your team.
If you are unorganized, struggle with clear communication, or feel disconnected from your staff, there’s little chance that your team (difficult employees or not) will respond with anything better. On the other hand, by setting clear expectations, providing various training resources, and communicating clear and productive feedback, all of your team members (even the more difficult ones) are set up for success. It all comes back to the old saying; treat people how you want to be treated.
By addressing the behavior, providing feedback and support, setting clear expectations, and leading by example, you can create a more positive work environment and improve team dynamics. Remember to listen to your employees’ concerns and be open to finding solutions that work for everyone.
Handling difficult employees is never easy, but it’s an essential part of being a business leader. Moreover, there are various technological tools to ease the entire process. If you’re interested in seeing how OneTeam360 can create an ideal playing field for all of your team members (difficult employees or not), book a demo with us today.