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How to Deal with Difficult Employees

By Megan Zhang
on February 7th, 2017

Megan Zhang, freelance blogger and writer. She lives in New York City.

How to Deal with Difficult Employees Overall rating: ★★★★★ 4.8 based on 457 reviews
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How to Deal with Difficult Employees

Being a boss is never easy. It’s all about finding that perfect balance between authoritativeness and friendliness. Too much of either one, and you risk being too mean or too nice. Too little of either one, and you risk being apathetic or complacent. The job becomes even harder when you have particularly difficult employees giving you a hard time. How do you deal with them without being a tyrant or a doormat? Read on for our tips on how to deal with difficult employees.

  1. Don’t Yell
    Sometimes, you have to treat difficult employees as if they were children. With children, you should not yell too much because they will eventually become desensitized and no longer listen. The same can be said for employees. Yelling or any other extreme display of emotion won’t necessarily do the trick. Instead, try reasoning with them in a logical, calm manner. People are far more likely to respect and respond to this kind of authority. Express disappointment, rather than fury, when an employee steps out of line.
  2. Try to Understand
    It can be hard to try to understand someone who seems totally unreasonable. But that’s what a good boss will do. Assess whether or not there is something going on in the employee’s personal or work life that is preventing him or her from doing a good job in the office. The employee may be going through a divorce or illness that you don’t know about. Don’t pry for information, but definitely do try to understand where an employee is going from. Things are not always as they seem on the surface.
  3. Don’t Badmouth
    Never, ever complain about a difficult employee to another employee. You can bet chances are that word will get back to that difficult employee, who now will have even more reason to give you a hard time. Keep your thoughts to yourself, and keep the difficulty between you and that employee. Don’t try and get another employee to do any snooping or spying. That will only come back to bite you. Keep it professional.
  4. Reinforce Positive Behavior
    When employees do well, offer positive reinforcement in the form of praise, encouragement, or maybe even end-of-year bonuses. This will encourage other employees to emulate this behavior and work equally hard. When difficult employees do something well, offer that same positive reinforcement, even if they have been giving you a hard time. You can slowly shape this employee to give you a little more effort.

Dealing with negative or difficult employees is something no boss ever looks forward to. It’s one of the hardest parts of being in the position of a boss. But with the right mentality, you can become a better boss and even turn around that difficult employee. For more information, visit www.biz2credit.com.


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