Managing 5 Types of Difficult Employees

Managing 5 Types of Difficult Employees

As a business owner, dealing with difficult employees is a steep challenge. Here are five types of unreliable workers and ways of responding to the troubles they present.

1. The Absent Worker

This type of problem-maker regularly disappears for lengthy smoke breaks and long lunches. They’ll also call in sick, especially around times when a project is due. Co-workers who pick up the slack are enabling this behavior.

Let vanishing workers know that they are often needed. Warn them that disciplinary action will be taken if they go missing for unreasonably extensive periods. 

2. The Excuse-Maker

A hallmark of any good employee is being responsible. Less conscientious workers would rather offer reasons for why their duties aren’t getting done. While you may be willing to accept your staff member’s rationale for incomplete work, clients rarely care about the reasons for their needs not being met.

Write down every justification these individuals offer and the dates they are given. By the time the sixth or seventh excuse is given, you will have a collection of alibis that can be reflected back at this person to spur improved performance.

3. The Unproductive Worker

Hourly employees sometimes think their work is acceptable so long as they’re present. You’re paying them to fulfill a job, not socialize or indulge in online activities. If procrastination becomes a problem, projects can go past deadlines and business relations may be jeopardized.

Underline the importance of completing tasks on time. Check regularly to see that progress is being made and stress that there are consequences for inconsistency.

4. The Assignment Distributor

Some workers are talented at getting others to tackle their own responsibilities. Through persuasion and manipulation, they unburden themselves while bogging down others. This can have a disastrous effect on a company’s workflow.

Let these staffers know that you are handing assignments specifically to them because you believe they can get them done right. If you find out that they’re sharing jobs with co-workers, immediately instruct them to stop.

5. The Constant Agitator

Some people thrive on conflict. In the workplace, these individuals are especially disruptive. Their actions and attitudes impact not only their own work but also that of others. Some may quit because of a troublemaker’s improprieties.

Know what triggers these people and watch them closely. Talk directly with them about what’s causing their behavior. Unless you see a change, you might need to hire someone else.

Managing employees is difficult for any boss. Develop the skills to correct the behavior of any staff members that are falling down on the job.


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