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Distinguish between substandard job performance and misconduct.

Five Tips for Dealing with Difficult Employees

Employers often mistakenly treat these two classifications of infractions similarly when, in fact, they are seen and should be treated very differently in the eyes of the law. The three-strike approach is typically considered fair by almost all standards, whether employees are union or non-union.

The bad behaviors

Conduct provides for more immediate action. Conduct gives you, the employer, greater discretion in terms of according the appropriate level of corrective action. In those cases, employers have a lot more discretion to progress immediately to a final written warning or even immediate employee termination for a first offense. If discipline should become necessary, having your expectations of that employee clearly outlined in writing will help.

This should be presented as soon as possible after a new worker is hired and revisited at least once a year to ensure those expectations are being met. Outline the duties of that specific job and make sure the employee has the support necessary to complete those duties. Many issues of disgruntled employees are the result of a lack of communication.

Tips for managing difficult employees - Talent Gear

Being a successful manager means finding the right people and trusting them to do the job they were hired to do. If you micromanage your employees, you'll probably find they begin to resent your interference. This trust may lead an employee to rebel against the oversight, to lash out at you instead of simply asking to be entrusted with more responsibility.

Through transformational leadership, leaders are more likely to create empowered, motivated employees who know their place within the organization. Call occasional meetings to not only have your employees share what they're doing but also to detail what you're doing. In some instances, the supervisor shares the blame in creating an environment of disrespect. In this entire process, management will behave rationally rather than emotionally.

It will briefly but fully document the facts in writing because, in today's environment, that is simply sensible. Such methods will be followed even in operations that have at-will hiring policies—because the difficult employee may sue anyway. Top management will take an appropriate role in supervising such processes to ensure that policies are followed. Rarely if ever will a problem employee, managed in a rational, methodical, and orderly manner succeed in prevailing against the employer.

The pain, generally, of facing up to problems early is almost always negligible compared to the "uproar" that results from neglect and avoidance. Here the famous "Pay me now or pay me later" warning applies in full. The general rule—assuming, again, that good policies are in place and properly implemented—is to insist on rational and sensible behavior, full disclosure of problems on both sides, and clearly spelled out consequences which are actually applied.


Management experts cite several steps that entrepreneurs and managers should take when dealing with a difficult employee. A set of tactics and some understanding will help you get through to those difficult employees. Employment at will preserves needed flexibility, but don't arbitrarily give employees the boot. A three-question litmus test to gauge the likely effect of your rules to change bad behavior.

Importance of the Written Word. These should include definitions of poor performance and gross misconduct and detail performance and termination review procedures. Taking Stock and Cutting Slack.

In most business settings, workers spend long hours in close proximity. Inevitably, each employees will exhibit personality traits some of which may annoy coworkers, managers, or the owner of the business. But a mildly overbearing, cocky, or whiny demeanor on the part of an employee is not in itself cause for intervention.

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But when employee behavior begins to have a negative impact on coworkers or the health of the business itself, the business owner must intercede quickly. If a problem employee emerges, the business owner or supervisor should schedule a meeting to discuss the behavior. This meeting time should be scheduled so that both the supervisor and the employee can focus on the issues at hand and speak without being disturbed. It is unwise to hold such a meeting when emotions are running high; but issues must be addressed in a timely manner.

Performance problems, whether they take the form of insubordination, tardiness, poor work performance, or problematic behavior with other employees, may intensify or multiply if not addressed.