In an ideal world all your employees would be motivated, productive and fit in really well within your company culture. However, in the real world, one of the most challenging situations a manager can face in their career is how to deal with a difficult and disruptive employee within their business.
Evaluate the Working Environment
When trying to improve an employee’s overall attitude, assess the working environment of the department they are working in.
How do the other employees work within the department / company?
Do all your employees collaborate and work together as a team?
If the answer to this is no, then you may need to look at how you can improve the department culture.
If the answer is yes, then we suggest you may take a look at the options below to help you manage this difficult employee better.
Act fast and don’t ignore the situation
If you do have a difficult employee, you need to be aware of it and deal with it fast.
If you ignore the situation this can disrupt other employees and reduce office morale and in return have a negative impact in productivity throughout your company.
The longer you take to resolve the issue with this employee, the less likely the problem will disappear and the more likely you will have a more serious situation to deal with.
View the situation from your employee’s perspective
Ask your employee for their input into the why there is a problem, what they think is the cause and what they believe needs to happen to resolve the situation.
Try to view the situation from your employee’s perspective and understand their thought process as this will provide you with an insight to why they are behaving in this way and prevent them from becoming defensive towards your resolution process.
You must adopt a diplomatic attitude with this employee and always remain neutral and calm to the situation, if you lose your temper you will only be adding fuel to the fire and will do more harm than good.
It’s not just what you say but how you say it
You want to be assertive and at the same time supportive to your employee, you never want to come across as threatening.
Make sure you make eye contact with your employee to demonstrate that you are listening to what they have to say.
Be aware of your tone of voice as you need to show that you are in control of the situation and that you do want to rectify it.
Be aware of what your body language is suggesting to your employee?
Find a resolution
You need to determine what their issue is with their role and work together to improve it. Work with your employee to improve your relationship and their work ethos.
What is the underlying problem?
Are you pushing them enough?
Is their role too stressful?
Are they under too much pressure?
Is time management an issue?
Do they have too much responsibility?
Finding the answers to these questions will enable you to create a plan that will improve their behaviour, and ensure that they are getting the most out of their role?
It is extremely important that you evaluate your employee’s worth in your company and work together to be able to move forward.
Keep written note of your discussions so they can be referred to again, should the employee continue to be difficult.
This way you will have written confirmation of what was discussed and the steps you have taken to improve your employee’s behaviour.
This will also be beneficial should you feel the need to terminate your employee at a later date because their progress or attitude didn’t improve.
Having proof of your employee’s unacceptable behaviour will prevent an unfair dismissal tribunal or any similar issues with their termination.
Clearly it is in everyone’s interest to resolve the situation and move forward in a positive manner, however if this is not possible, it is very important that you can demonstrate that you did take reasonable steps along the way to properly deal with and turnaround the disruptive employee.
If you have any questions regarding this article or require further information about our Sales Consultancy Practice, please call us on 0844 2577 888.