One of the most important skills of a good manager is knowing how to manage a difficult staff member. When someone is not cooperating, it can be tempting to lash out in anger. However, this will only make the situation worse.
Not only will it damage your relationship with the staff member, but it will also make it harder to resolve the issue. Instead, try to remain calm and collected, even if the other person is not.
Here are four effective ways how to manage a difficult staff member.
Table of Contents
Why You Should Deal With Difficult Employees
When it comes to managing difficult employees, the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” definitely applies. It’s always better to try to prevent problems from occurring in the first place, rather than waiting until they’ve already started and then trying to deal with them.
There are a few things managers can do to try to prevent difficult employees from becoming a problem in the first place.
First, during the hiring process, managers should be on the lookout for red flags that might indicate an applicant is going to be difficult to work with.
Second, once an employee is on board, managers should take the time to get to know them and build a relationship of trust.
And finally, managers should make sure they are clear about expectations and provide regular feedback, both positive and negative.
Here are a few tips on how to manage a difficult staff member.
Establish Clear Expectations
When it comes to managing a difficult staff member, one of the most important things you can do is to establish clear expectations. This means being clear about what you expect from them in terms of their work and behavior.
If they know what is expected of them, they are more likely to meet those expectations.
One way to establish clear expectations is to have a conversation with the staff member. During this conversation, you can explain your expectations and why you have them. You can also ask the staff member if they understand what is expected of them.
This conversation will help to ensure that there is no confusion about the expectations.
Another way to establish clear expectations is to put them in writing. This could be in the form of a job description or a set of rules and regulations. Having the expectations in writing will help to ensure that the staff member is aware of them and knows what is expected of them.
It is important to remember that you may need to adjust your expectations over time. As the staff member gets to know you and your management style, you may find that your expectations need to be adjusted.
Be open to making changes to your expectations as needed. Establishing clear expectations is an important part of managing a difficult staff member.
Be Consistent in Your Approach
It’s important to be consistent in your approach when managing a difficult staff member.
This can be difficult to do, but it’s important to remember that every interaction you have with this staff member is an opportunity to either reinforce the behavior you want to see or inadvertently encourage the behavior you’re trying to avoid.
Here are a few tips to help you be consistent in your approach.
1. Define Expectations Upfront
It’s important that you and the difficult staff member are on the same page about what is expected of them. Be clear and concise in your communication, and make sure they understand what is expected of them.
2. Document Everything
Keep a record of all interactions you have with the staff member, both positive and negative. This will help you keep track of progress (or lack thereof) and will be useful if you need to take disciplinary action.
3. Be Consistent in Your Discipline
If a difficult staff member breaks a rule, it’s important that you discipline them in a consistent manner. This sends a clear message that you’re serious about the expectations you’ve set and that there will be consequences for breaking the rules.
4. Lead by Example
Remember that you’re the leader and the staff member is looking to you for guidance. Model the behavior you want to see and be sure to praise employees who are exhibiting the behavior you’re looking for.
5. Seek Help from HR
If you’re struggling to manage a difficult staff member, don’t be afraid to reach out to your HR department for help. They can provide additional resources and support to help you resolve the situation.
Avoid Emotional Outbursts
When you’re managing a difficult staff member, it’s important to avoid emotional outbursts. This can be difficult, because you may be feeling frustrated, angry, or even threatened by the staff member’s behavior.
But if you can keep your cool, you’ll be better able to manage the situation effectively.
Here are some tips on how to manage a difficult staff member.
1. Take a Deep Breath
This may seem like a cliché, but it really does help. When you’re feeling stressed, your breathing becomes shallow and your heart rate increases.
Taking a deep breath will help you relax and calm down.
2. Count to 10
Again, this may seem like a cliché but it can be helpful.
When you’re feeling angry or frustrated, take a moment to count to 10. This will give you a chance to calm down and think more clearly.
3. Remove Yourself from the Situation
If you can, remove yourself from the situation that’s causing you stress. This may mean leaving the room for a few minutes or even taking a break from work for a few minutes.
Just getting away from the situation can help you calm down.
4. Focus on the Positive
When you’re feeling stressed about how to manage a difficult staff member, it’s easy to focus on the negative. But if you can focus on the positive, it can help you feel better.
So, instead of focusing on the staff member who’s causing you stress, focus on the other staff members who are doing a good job.
5. Talk to Someone
Sometimes, it can help to talk to someone about the situation. This can be a friend, family member, or even a therapist.
Talking to someone can help you vent your frustrations and also get some helpful perspective.
Seek Help From Others
We have all had that one staff member who is just difficult to manage. Maybe they are constantly late or are always arguing with other staff members. Whatever the case may be, it can be challenging to manage a difficult staff member.
One way to try to manage a difficult staff member is to seek help from others. Talk to other staff members who may have had a similar experience. See if they have any advice on how to deal with the situation.
Additionally, you could talk to your supervisor or another manager to see if they have any suggestions.
Another way to try to manage a difficult staff member is to have a conversation with them. Try to find out what the root of the problem is. Maybe they are having personal problems that are causing them to act out at work.
If you can find out what the problem is, you may be able to help them solve it.
FAQs About How to Manage a Difficult Staff Member
How would you manage a difficult member of staff?
- Do not ignore negativity.
- Look at the bigger picture.
- Do not accept excuses.
- Make the difficult employee part of the solution.
- Encourage positive behavior.
- Develop an action plan.
- Give clear feedback.
- Be consistent.
How do you deal with a toxic staff member?
- Have a thoughtful discussion in private.
- Be prepared for pushback.
- Document everything.
- Offer constructive feedback in public.
- Attack the behavior, not the character.
How do you handle a disrespectful employee?
- Remain calm in the heat of the moment.
- Listen carefully.
- Provide clear feedback.
- Document the incident.
- Enforce rules based on the employee handbook.
How to manage a difficult staff member?
First, it’s important to try to understand what’s driving their behavior. Is it a personality clash? Are they going through a difficult time in their personal life?
Once you have a better understanding of the situation, you can develop a plan for how to deal with it.
In some cases, you may be able to coach the employee and help them improve their behavior. But in other cases, it may be necessary to take more drastic measures, such as changing their job responsibilities or, in extreme cases, terminating their employment.
No matter what route you decide to take, dealing with difficult employees is never easy. But if you handle the situation well, you can minimize the negative impact they have on your team and your business.
If you want to be a successful manager or leader, then you need to take advantage of resources that can help you improve your skills. Promotable.org offers plenty of services and information designed to do just that.
So what are you waiting for? Check us out today and see how we can help you reach your full potential!