When your staff is talented, cooperative and productive, management is easy. Unfortunately, most managers have at least a few difficult employees who make the job more challenging.
While it’s true that every case is unique, there is a right and a wrong way to deal with difficult employees.
Here are two of the most common mistakes managers make when it comes to dealing with problem employees.
1. Treating discipline too much like punishment. Of course, you want to correct difficult employees’ issues — whether they are behavioral or performance-related. However, many managers get into trouble, legally speaking, when they take the idea of discipline too far. The easiest way to avoid this is by thinking about discipline in a more positive way.
2. Overreacting to the problem. When it comes to dealing with difficult employees, there’s research out there that says just 15% of managers confront the problem immediately. And when people wait too long to react, the action they decide to take is often too extreme for the situation. Result: The discipline measure the manager doles out appears too harsh to the difficult employee, as well as his or her co-workers — and the manager comes off badly.