Irrespective of its size, every company has at least one difficult employee. 

They can affect your business performance in multiple ways, from causing continuous disagreements to harming the team’s morale. Above all, they can block your team from performing their tasks and meeting deadlines.

Let’s learn a few powerful ways to deal with difficult employees.

The Types of Difficult Employees

There are different types of difficult employees you may face in the workplace.

  • The attacker

They always disagree with team members and managers. They undermine their coworkers and prevent the team from reaching its goals.

  • The entertainer

The entertainer believes their job is to keep the workplace more pleasant. While laughter is crucial for your staff, it can also distract the team from getting its job done.

  • The deserter

They refuse to collaborate with the rest of the team, which may affect workplace communication and performance.

  • The limelight seeker

This employee type often takes credit for other people’s accomplishments. Such behaviors negatively impact other team member’s morale.

  • The complainer

This employee type complains about everything, from their managers and teammates to the weather. They spread negativity and dissatisfaction, compromising the overall workplace satisfaction.

Now that you know the common types of difficult employees, let’s learn how to deal with them.

Mind Who You Hire

Always hire candidates that align with your company’s values, missions, and long-term goals. Apart from focusing on employee competencies and industry knowledge, you also need to analyze their soft skills.

For example, consider hiring a third-party agency to perform the best background check for you. They find out more about your candidates’ backgrounds and behaviors.

Also, why not take the candidate out of the conference room? See how they interact with the rest of the team. If you notice that they cannot connect with employees, consider finding a candidate who is a better culture fit for your organization.

Treat People with Respect

Your employees do not like being treated with disrespect. They would treat you the same way and do now want to reconsider their actions.

Therefore, try softening up a bit and act as your difficult employee’s mentor. That way, you will encourage them to be kinder and more constructive in their feedback.

Listen to your Coworkers

Assertive communication is vital in the workplace. Never drive biased conclusions before talking to your teammates. The goal is to find out whether they have any issues at work or outside of it that affect their behaviors.

For example, schedule a 1-on-1 meetup with your employee. Talk to them about their private problems, professional expectations, pain points, and so forth. You may be surprised to learn that they are going through a tough phase.

Aim for a Fair Resolution

Now that you have talked to your employee and understand the problem, it is time to work with them to come up with a fair solution.

For example, let’s say an employee has a newborn at home. In that case, providing an employee with a flexible working schedule and letting them work remotely is more appropriate than imposing serious disciplinary measures.

Be Clear and Transparent

When dealing with difficult people in the workplace, it is vital to stand in their shoes and see things from their viewpoint. Only that way can you treat them respectfully.

However, that does not mean you should avoid having a difficult conversation with your coworkers or employees. It is vital to be very clear about your company’s needs, expectations, and culture. 

Start by explaining what habits and attitudes they need to change. Seek continuous feedback and improvement. For example, schedule regular meetups with them and follow up regularly to see how things are doing. 

Talk to a Higher Authority to Help You

When all else fails, consider talking to a higher authority. The top-down approach can help when a coworker refuses to cooperate. 

However, do not use this option unless you have exhausted all of the tactics mentioned above. You do not want your boss to think that you are incapable of communicating with your coworkers and handling your problems. 

Dealing with a Difficult Employee is Possible

That is not the ultimate guide to dealing with difficult employees, but it can serve as your starting point. For starters, try to understand the employee and identify the cause of their behaviors. Based on this data, personalize your approach.

Do you have any additional tips and strategies to share with us?