Team Member Engagement

Dealing with Difficult Employees

by robertr

May 12th, 2014
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Successful teams thrive on the productive dynamics that exist when everyone on the team shares the same vision, work ethic, and commitment to one another. These dynamics don’t always exist in the real world. Working with difficult people can sometimes make the team process harder than it has to be. Leaders need to engage and learn the process of dealing with difficult employees.

Hostile attitudes, arrogance, loudness, interruption, gossiping, multitasking, and complaining are some behaviors that disrupt team effectiveness. Certain behaviors cause separation and distance between team members rather than promoting unity and common purpose. Working with difficult people can affect the team dynamic and the team’s result. Dealing with difficult employees requires applying effective principles.

The Dale Carnegie’s human relationship principle on how to influence attitudes and behaviors states:

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
  3. Talk about your mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  4. Ask questions instead of giving indirect orders.
  5. Praise the slightest and every improvement.
  6. Make the fault easy to correct.

Tips for Dealing with Difficult Employees

  1. Challenge. State the challenge openly with the team present, and outline the issues facing the team’s performance. Establish frequent, open communication.
  2. Knowledge. Talk about the specific ways the team is being affected. Prepare evidence of the ways that the difficult employee’s behavior has disrupted the effectiveness of the team.
  3. Action. Discuss specific plans to help the difficult employee get back on track as well as to change team outcomes.
  4. Accountability. Outline ways that more accountability for behavior and attitude can be implemented.

Click here to download a Free Team Conflict Resolution Guide

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