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Problematic employees that are hard to get along with have the uncanny ability to drag people down. For some reason, 95% of all organizations and businesses have a difficult person lurking around its halls, making work so much harder for other people. These problematic employees do very well in spreading an atmosphere of discord, and fuelling disagreements among other staff, whether they do it on purpose or not remains a mystery for a lot of managers. They are the hardest people to understand and work with. With this kind of person working in an organization, a manager needs to have leadership and patience to keep them in check.

Undoubtedly, one bad apple can spoil a whole barrel. Despite the many successes an organisation enjoys, a manager may soon notice less productivity and motivation among the team as a result of the ‘bad apple’ in the business.

These difficult people are often, if not all the time impolite, grouchy, lazy, irresponsible, they don’t keep deadlines, practice no teamwork, and turn in poor work. Really, you’d rather kick them out of the door if only you could. But then again, there may still be hope with the right leadership and guidance within a team.

Sooner or later a manager or supervisor needs to deal with a difficult employee, before things take a turn for the worse. It sure isn’t an easy task, but it’s all part of leadership.  The employee on trial needs to answer for his mistakes and face the destruction he’s caused to his co-workers and the organisation.

Below are some quick tips that may work best for dealing with staff that make your office feel like hell:

  • Confront the problem early on. It may be easier to turn a deaf ear on a brewing problem, but without finding a solution to it, the problem will only get bigger and it may get out of control. The problem employee may even feel more empowered with his rebellious ways. Confront the person privately with the problem at hand.

  • This may be easier said than done, but it’s still best to give the difficult staff the ‘benefit of the doubt’. Allow them to explain their side and why they are the way they are. Listen sincerely to the person and offer solutions on how you can help.

  • Even children are made to own up to their mistakes—so a difficult employee is no different. Gather accurate data, specific examples, and clear circumstances of his attitude problem and bring it before him. A manager with good leadership skills should be able to confront the staff with all these evidence in a constructive, yet stern manner. Write down the specific scenarios if you need to, there needs to be evidence to help the problematic staff acknowledge that there is a problem.

  • Bottom line, a manager must always aim for reconciliation as much as it is possible. After the confrontation, offer to coach the staff to help him harmoniously get back with the team. Draw out action plans to serve as motivation to the troubled staff. The entire process of change may take a while, so you must be willing to exercise good leadership to help the entire team work together again.

Helping a member of staff with bad work habits and an attitude problem can be difficult, but the longer these issues are ignored and neglected the worst the problem becomes. With a manager’s good leadership skills, any difficult employee can still improve.

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Paul Bailey

Paul is a highly experienced Business Coach, Mentor and Personal Development Specialist. He works with people to enhance business and personal performance through a process of supported self-awareness and self- development. Paul is the Co-Author of the book 80 Tips.