Power Tools & Tips For Workplace Leaders
Managing the Unmanageable!
All managers will unfortunately have to deal with difficult employees during their careers. First, you need to know that there will always be difficult employees. Second, it is your job as the manager to deal with them. Avoiding the problem will only make it worse.

Here are six things to keep top of mind when dealing with difficult employees.


It is easy to ignore the situation. However, the best managers start paying very close attention when an employee is not performing well. By listening, you may actually get to the root of the problem and discover you can easily solve the problem.

Give Clear, Behavioral Feedback

Often, managers will spend an extensive amount of time complaining about employees who perform poorly and will never give them actual feedback on what they could be doing differently. It certainly is not easy to give tough feedback and it can be one of the most uncomfortable things a manager has to do. But good managers can learn to do it and can learn to do it very well.

Document, Document, Document

It is critical that when you are having significant problems with an employee that you write down the key points. Too often, lack of documentation arises out of managers not wanting to be 'too negative'. Good managers know that documentation is not always negative. The best part is that if you are able to solve the problem, you can simply breathe a sigh of relieve and put your documentation back in your filing cabinet.

Be Consistent

If you say you are OK with a behavior, be sure it is always OK. Employees look to see what you do more than what you say. Only set standards you are willing to hold. And then, hold to them.
Follow Your Company's Processes

Good managers hold out hope for improvement until the point when they actually decide to let the person go. They also know they have done everything they could. If you are at this point in your efforts to address the situation, the next step is to begin conversations with HR so that you know (and are doing) exactly what you need to do to clear the path to termination, if that turns out to be necessary. 
Set Consequences and Follow 

If things still are not improving at this point, good managers get specific and provide details. They will say
things like, "I still believe you can turn this around. Here is what turning it around would look like. If I do not see that behavior by x date, here is what will happen" (e.g., "you will be let go," or "you will be put on a warning." or some substantive negative
consequence) If problem employees do not believe their behavior will have any real negative impact on them, they have no motivation to change. 
Would you like to take the 'challenge' out of dealing with challenging employees?
If so, contact ALTERNATIVE HR today at 605.335.8198 for assistance! We have a team of HR experts ready to help you work through any employee issue, big or small! 
Did You Know?
Alternative HR offers training on a variety of topics! The training can help you further develop, train, coach and support your leadership team. Most of all, it can potentially prevent you from making a costly legal mistake down the road!

Click here for additional information about our training and human resource development curriculum.
Week 1: Introduction To Workplace Supervision

Week 2: Evaluating Performance and Providing Feedback

Week 3: Critical Issues In The Workplace

Week 4: Conflict Resolution and Difficult Conversations
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