HR Problems: Keeping Your Cool When Dealing with Difficult Employees

Managing employees is a challenging and critical part of ensuring a business runs smoothly. Everyone in the team has a unique personality, and it’s inevitable that at some point in your career, you’ll be handling a sticky situation involving a difficult employee.

The work landscape is steadily evolving. With the new generation making up most of the workforce, there are general traits that hiring managers should look out for. In line with this, ZenHR previously shared insights on how to deal with millennials in the workplace, which focuses on promoting work-life balance and having a great work atmosphere. It’s important to continuously profile your employees and note down key trends that can motivate them at work.

However, no matter what age or background, dealing with difficult employees can be tough. Fortunately, there are steps to control the problem and keep it from escalating. It’s best to address any work conflicts as soon as possible so as to not affect other team members in the workspace as well.

Listening fairly
Though it may be difficult at times, it’s important to remember that you are the superior in this setup. Therefore, you have to act like one. Avoid stooping down to your employee’s level, and instead handle things professionally. In order to reason with them, avoid casting blame and instead let them air out their concerns. Inc Magazine explains that employees tend to feel more positive when they believe their opinions matter to the organization as a whole.

It’s important to set your bias aside when listening to employees share problems, complaints, or their side of the situation. Don’t stop giving the employee the benefit of the doubt just because of their reputation as a difficult employee. If you immediately shut them out, you will not be doing anyone a favor. Journalist Erika Anderson smartly points out that a hiring manager’s best strategy is being able to understand all sides of the situation, for it is the only way to improve it. So go ahead and lend an ear to those who need it — you’ll be surprised to know that sometimes this is the only thing needed to solve the problem.

Approach the problem strategically

Of course, there are times when listening to the employee just might not be working. When things start to go south, it’s best to evaluate the situation from all angles, and then enact your plan from there. Do you need to call in more employees? Do you need to give behavioral feedback? Take a step back and try to see which will be the best outcome from everyone, while still being fair. Menlo Coaching claims that being able to flawlessly handle your employees is a great sign of leadership and communication skills. Look at these moments as a way to grow into your role as well. The strategic approaches you develop will be a great way to quickly mend the situation instead of letting your personal frustrations seep through.

Document everything accurately

It should go without saying that there should be a record of everything that happens in the workplace so that things are based on facts. This will be a reference point in citing all those times when an employee is acting poorly. Instead of losing your cool, work on the employee’s file. In the event that his or her actions blow out of proportion, there will be enough grounds to pull them in for disciplinary evaluation. ZenHR Solutions offers an easy way to manage your personnel so you can keep track of their information all in one place. Doing so will also protect your reputation, as well as the company’s, and keep the professional atmosphere in the workplace.

In conclusion, knowing how to handle difficult employees will test your leadership and communication skills. Mastering these skills will allow you to improve your craft, minimize workplace tensions, and build better relationships with the people you work with.

Article by: Jel Barnett

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