How to Manage Problem Employees

Managing Problem Employees

Not every employee you manage is going to be successful in their role. Usually, when employees underperform it may signal the need for further training or even transfer to another area perhaps more suited to their skills. Sometimes, termination may be the only option if the other avenues were unsuccessful.

Be Careful With Employee Personal Problems

Sometimes employees have personal problems outside of work that can affect their performance (and even attendance) at work. As a manager you need to be careful that you are only addressing the work problem and not the personal problem. You don’t have capacity, authority or the resources to solve personal problems as a manager.

If an employee is not performing well because of a personal problem, you will need to sit down and have a talk about it but define your objective first, which is correcting a work problem. You can direct them to human resources or employee assistance programs if there is a need but it is up to them as to how to solve the problem themselves (otherwise they will blame and possibly even sue you and your company). As a manager you can demand that they solve the problem or otherwise they may be dismissed. However, do this in a caring way but such that it is clear and there is no misunderstanding.

Confronting Challenging Behavior Personalities

When you are in management, you will come across a whole swag of different employee personalities. Some attack, some constantly seek the limelight, some complain, others don’t do anything unless it is expressly stated in their job description and so on.

The best way to confront these personalities is to take the employee aside and explain to the employee what behaviors need to change and why. Once you’ve said your bit, you need to allow them to speak and listen to what they have to say. There are often reasons as to why people behave the way they do. Be sure to have examples of the behavior so they understand what you mean. Get them to agree to change and talk about how you will monitor their behavior, remembering to give positive feedback later where improvement is shown. Before you know it, you will have both improved the performance of a problem employee and also demonstrated that you do care in them doing a good job by showing an interest in their development on an individual and team level.

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