How to Deal with Difficult Employees

Let's look at the best way you can deal with difficult employees in your small business team

Getting your own team set up can be great, especially for small business owners. This can be exciting and very lucrative for your business.

That is, if you’ve hired the right people.

However, if you end up having a problematic employee, it could potentially derail your entire business strategy. Before you get to the guns ready to fire him or her, however, there are certain things you can do to alleviate it.

That’s what we’ll cover today: the steps you need to take to effectively deal with difficult employees.

Observe the employee

Before you take any action whatsoever, you first need to see some things for yourself. Basically, try to see the employee in different situations to see if there’s anything happening on a regular basis to cause the negative behavior.

It could be stress from work or a completely unrelated personal problem. It could be a sudden problem or something that is growing stronger everyday.

In any case, watch with your own eyes and also ask the other team members if they have more information. This will help you decide what to do.

Set a plan and address the problem

Before you initiate a discussion with the problem employee, make sure you have a plan in place. Your options will involve either coaching, counseling, training or discipline.

After that, you need to address the problem with your employee as soon as possible. If you do not, you’ll be implicitly accepting or supporting the negative behavior and impact your leadership.

Work with the employee

When you talk to the employee, you must remember to always be objective. Listen actively and don’t interrupt him or her while they’re talking.

That way, they can get everything out and you will hopefully discover the root cause.

Now, you will need to work with the employee together to build a solution to the problem. You cannot unilaterally make these decisions, as it will have no long-term effect.

Make sure you follow up

When the door closes and the employee has left your office, that doesn’t mean your job is done. You need to make sure you track the employee’s progress and follow-up on a regular basis.

You should remember that you won’t see much progress instantaneously. Instead, you need to have patience and insight to see when the small steps towards progress are being made.

When you see those small signs, make sure to give motivating and supportive feedback.

Don’t be afraid to let the employee go

Lastly, you should know when things are out of control and the employee doesn’t want to be helped. If the difficult employees or employee is difficult and doesn’t want to accept your help or work together to solve the problem, you may have to look at other discipline options.

This may be a difficult decision. However, if you don’t, that problem employee could undermine you on your team. It could lead to greater tension and you could have motivation problems inside your team.

When it’s time to let the employee go, you may not have a choice.

Dealing with difficult employees

With these steps, you’ll be able to change the direction of the difficult employees or at least help keep your team members’ motivation and productivity at effective levels.