5 Types of Difficult Employees & How to Handle Them

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By Dexter Lunde

There are many reasons why you will eventually have to fire an employee. Did you know that 80,700 employees are fired each day in the U.S.?

According to the America Management Association, 26% of managers and bosses have fired their employees because of inappropriate internet usage. 25% of managers have fired employees for e-mail misuse and 6% have fired them because of office telephone misuse.

Surveys have also shown that 33% of managers and employers have fired or disciplined an employee or teammate because they violated the company’s social media policy.

Whatever the reason, a lot of times, firing someone can be avoided with proper communication and with the right measures. Let’s take a look at five distinctive, difficult employee types and how to deal with them.

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#1) Egotistical Employees

Know what to expect from them. This is the first step to conquering those difficult personality traits. After the first few altercations or difficult situations, you will begin to see patterns in their behavior.

Notice and anticipate how they will react to constructive criticism. Make sure that you are using constructive criticism and not ineffective criticism that attacks their work. If they act well to constructive criticism, that means that they are coachable and you will be able to find a great position for them in your business. Otherwise, you may have to move them out of the company.

Open his eyes and provide him with facts. Start by gathering information about their antics and the reactions and causations involved. Schedule a meeting with this employee and give him the facts. He will (most likely) come at you with excuses but don’t give in. Be strong and suggest changes in his actions in order to improve the environment.

#2) Lazy Employees

Talk with him about his behavior. You may end up feeling like your mom but sometimes you really have to throw that gavel down, especially if you know that the employee is capable of much more. Doesn’t that sound familiar? Heh heh…

Work together to set goals for him. Maybe the employee doesn’t even know what your expectations are. Sometimes when an employee is underperforming, it’s because he doesn’t know where the bar is set.

Reward systems work sometimes. Sometimes it feels like a bribe. Sometimes it feels like a cop-out. However, if you do it right, a reward system will work well for just about any type of employee. Give your employees some incentives to work toward. It could be an extra day of paid vacation or it could be a unique opportunity like a new office or a remodel of their current office. Remember that this opportunity should be available for all of your employees, not just this one.

You’d figure that getting paid would be enough of a motivator, am I right?

#3) Bossy Employees

Address his behavior. Bring forth facts to his attention. If he is bossy toward you, make sure that you address that matter right off the bat (as it happens). Letting that behavior slide (even once) can and will be disasterous.

Address position expectations. Talk about what his job expectations are and what he is expected to behave like, outside of those perimeters.

Give “off days” a warning. Everyone is entitled to one. However, you have to address how often he has off days (perhaps twice a month is acceptable for you, or less depending on your personality). Talk with him about how you can work with him to rein his attitude.

#4) Disruptive Employees

Discuss “discussion” at the beginning of every meeting. Talk about the importance of letting everyone participate and not to interject when others are talking.

Before meetings, print out an agenda. Agendas will help keep you on track and it will also give you reason to interpolate the disruptive employee: “I’d love to discuss this further but we need to move on to the next bullet point in order to keep this meeting brief.”

“Let’s get that finished.” You’re the boss. It’s okay to tell the employee that he needs to get back to work. Tell him that you’d love to talk about that later or during his break.

Put his efforts to good use. Tell him that while you love his friendly personality, some people prefer to work in silence and offer him the project of the company picnic or another event where you can put his traits to good use.

#5) Disrespectful Employees

First of all, you need to make sure that when you are making decisions about and with this employee or team member, you’re not letting your emotions get involved. This is easier said than done, of course. However, you have to remember why you hired this employee in the first place.

Talk to him about his attitude. Bring forth facts and specific situations (you can’t argue with those). After the facts, address the fact that you feel disrespected. Tell him what your expectations are for his behavior. Let him defend himself (you will get a better response if you do this instead of merely telling him what to do and then sending him off).

Give him the opportunity to share his ideas. He may feel unneeded or that his ideas aren’t being considered. So make sure that you keep your door open for him to share his ideas. A lot of people lash out when they don’t feel as though they are being appreciated.

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