Today, we'll talk about how to deal with difficult employees. 

Sometimes, we have to deal with difficult people. Our jobs are stressful enough, so if you don't know how to deal with rude co-workers, I can imagine the struggle. As a career expert, my works have been published on Outwit Trade and Up Journey. I can teach you how to deal with difficult employees so you'll have the qualities of a good leader.

Let's start!


How To Deal With Difficult Employees

Managers dread the challenges of dealing with a difficult employee, but it's inevitable. A problematic employee can affect the team's overall performance and morale. That's why it's important to know how to deal with difficult employees.

We go to work to earn money. If your colleagues are great, then good for you. But, that's not always the case. You must know how to deal with rude coworkers, so they don't undermine you. Good thing there are proven strategies to guide you.

#1. Identify the problem.

The first thing to do when dealing with a difficult employee is to understand what is difficult about them. Examine them closely. Document and record their behavior. Determine the problem, how often they commit it, and what reasons they might have for doing it. As G.I. Joe said, “Knowing is half the battle.” Once you’ve determined the problem, it’s time for the next step.

#2. Confront them, but in an objective manner.

The next step is to discuss the matter with the person in question. Approaching them with accusations and evidence will not put them in a responsive mood. Approach them carefully, do not accuse them outright, and do not make it personal. Instead, approach the matter objectively. And don't blame the person themselves - only their behavior.

#3. Listen.

If it needs to be said, it needs to be emphasized. Listen carefully to their concerns, and offer your support to the difficult employee. Confronting them about their workplace missteps and expecting them to fix them themselves won’t help you solve the problem. Offer an ear, be supportive, and try to offer solutions to the problem. Working on it together will fix the problem at its root and lead to a smoother workplace environment.

With these three steps, everyone can contribute to making the workplace environment saner. If these three steps fail to make any progress, it might be the time to seek legal action against the offender. Only use it if there’s no other way.

The 4 Types Of Difficult Employees

Low productivity rate, interpersonal work drama, and low morale are just some of the results of hiring one of the types of challenging employees. Maybe you are a new manager trying to get to know your team. It's important to recognize if you have a problematic employee. There are only two options for these types of people. You can either coach them so they can change, or you have to let them go.

The Time Waster

You assigned them a task; they said they'll do it. Then after a few days, you ask them if they are done with the assignment. Guess what? They haven't even started yet. This is not proper workplace behavior. As employees, we have to do our tasks in a timely manner. This worker is the procrastinator of the team. If they don't do their job right away, it will reduce the productivity rate.

The Victim

This is another tough employee to handle because they always blame someone else. Their inappropriate behavior is always having an excuse for everything. They don't take accountability for something you've done, especially if it produced a negative result. Admitting they're the cause of poor performance will never happen. Its not in the nature of this difficult person.

The Narcissist

Accomplishing tasks requires a team effort. Different departments have to collaborate to produce a result. But the narcissist makes it all about them. They'll do whatever it takes to make themselves shine. This is a type of problem employee because we all have specific tasks delegated to us. One cannot overstep just to be the star.

The Downer

When you're in a team meeting, this is the difficult coworker with a negative attitude. They never run out of something negative to say. They negatively criticize their teammates' ideas. This bad attitude is contagious and has to be corrected.

Ways To Improve Workplace Performance

Improving workplace performance depends on several factors. It's not enough just to know how to deal with difficult employees. But if you are part of human resources, you know how important it is to hire the right people. Difficult employee behavior can impact the performance of the entire team. But don't worry; there are ways to improve workplace performance, and we'll tell you how.

1. Delegate tasks

Good managers should know how to delegate tasks effectively. Determine each team member's strength and assign projects they're most capable of. This way, they'll feel they are part of the team's success and enhance employee engagement.

2. Make decisions together

Involving team members in decision-making can give you progressive ideas. More ideas can be put on the table and encourage conflict-solving. Positive debates can result in creative problem-solving strategies. It leads to more intelligent decisions.

3. Communicate effectively

Communication is one of the greatest factors that can affect team performance. Lack of communication or difficult conversations will lead to unfinished assignments. A good manager must be empathetic and open when communicating with the members. Just because you are the boss doesn't mean you are always right. Listen to your team's thoughts and concerns to create a collaborative team dynamic.

4. Set and pursue attainable goals

Setting goals is essential both for personal and professional growth. Setting a main goal can help you make a good strategy because all of you have one objective. Establish a clear set of objectives that your members need to work on. Then little by little, you work your way toward the main goal.

5. Provide and ask for feedback

A manager's task is to give feedback to each team member. It will help them determine the areas they need to work on. Also, don't forget to give feedback when they do a good job. These positive things to say to someone can boost employee morale. On the other hand, ask for feedback for yourself as well. This will give you an idea of how you manage the team. And, of course, helps you recognize the areas you can improve.

6. Address problematic behavior

There will be times when you have to deal with an employee with negative behavior. You must know how to deal with difficult employees. Take action if their disruptive behavior is affecting the entire team's performance. Disciplinary action can be enforced, or, worst case, the disruptive employee has to go.

Frequently Asked Questions

We have tackled effective ways how to deal with rude co-workers. But I'm sure there are still questions lingering about managing difficult employees. We'll get right to them!

Can I dismiss a toxic employee?

First of all, you have to gather information. Find the specifics of the negative behavior and establish a plan on how you can help them improve. If the toxic employee is unwilling to change and it's hurting the team's efficiency and morale, it's best to dismiss them.

What causes an employee to be difficult?

A lack of motivation can make an employee difficult. They become procrastinators because their work no longer challenges them. One can be a downer because he gets frustrated with being constrained. It could be due to rules and boundaries that don't improve the outcome. Or, they tend to hog the spotlight since they think the other members are not as invested.

How can you manage an unmanageable employee?

Set firm rules and expectations. Inform the problem employee about the expectations they need to meet. Emphasize that if these expectations aren't met, there will be sanctions. The second is to prioritize your request. They may resist these requests, but you have to be firm. Be clear that there are requests that have to be prioritized and are not open for discussion. Lastly, Encourage them to assimilate the other team members performing well. If the others can do it, they should also be able to do it.

Is it important to give an employee reward and recognition?

Yes! Good managers know how to keep employees happy. Show them appreciation when they can do their tasks. Employees who feel appreciated will try to exceed what is expected of them. The rewards also keep them motivated to work harder.

More Awesome Article To Explore

Check more of the related articles about this topic below.

  1. Find out if you have a toxic boss in this article.
  2. Not all of us are good with people, but we still need a job. So, here are the jobs for people who hate people.
  3. Find out how unlimited PTO works.

In Conclusion

Every person in a management position needs to know how to deal with difficult employees. Work can be tough sometimes, but a negative employee makes it even tougher. As much as we want to, we cannot avoid this. The world isn't made of clouds and candies. But now you are equipped with the right way to deal with difficult employees. Stand your ground, and do your best to make the team work.