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Managing difficult employees

mantiedup28718953.jpgManagers make more money than the rest of us for several reasons, but one of the main reasons why they are more handsomely compensated for what they do is because it is their responsibility to handle the unsavory people who they come in contact with both in the office and from consumers. Good managers are able to put themselves in the other guy's shoes, so to speak, and work well with just about everyone because of their ability to find a way to communicate with all personality types.

Difficult people come in all shapes and sizes. There are obviously stereotypes of what a hard to deal with person looks like or how men and woman present different challenges when it comes to personality management. There is also the important consideration to make that to one person a difficult to manage person is very easy for another person to manage. Perhaps this is the key! Learning to better understand what makes a person difficult or less difficult to deal with can definitely be to your advantage.

So let's start identifying and better understanding difficult employees. Difficult employees generally manifest some of the same behaviors. These behaviors include being extremely focused almost to the point of being excessive, having a detail oriented mentality, choosing to be negative, indecisiveness, and throwing temper tantrums. Many of these difficult people see the qualities that make them difficult as strengths. The ability to be detail oriented can obviously be something that works in your favor, but failure to assign levels of importance to what you are paying the most attention to can put you behind in your work, frustrate members of your team and get you labeled as a difficult person to work with. Let's explore these characteristics of difficult employees a little further.

Excessive task focus can lead someone to become oblivious to what is happening around them. Co-workers may see this individual as insensitive to the impact that the difficult employee's actions have on other people. Difficult employees who have an excessive focus on only the tasks at hand also tend to avoid exchanging pleasantries with co-workers and is not likely to carry on many discussions that are not work related. Those who are overly detail oriented or who assign more importance to a part of a process than what others feel is appropriate generally fail to see the big picture. They tend to give long-drawn out answers to otherwise simple questions and are therefore frequently labeled as egotistical. Difficult employees are often more negative than most people in the workplace. These individuals focus on what they do not have when it comes to fulfilling their role in a project.

Through understanding these behaviors a manager can adjust the way that they manage to appeal to the strengths that difficult employees posses. For example, an overly negative employee can be encouraged to do what they have shown competency with in the past. The manager can bring these strengths to the employee's attention reminding the employee that there are plenty of resources available to accomplish the given task. Dealing with an indecisive employee involves learning how to work with someone who needs to be given a set decision making process and a definite timeline. The worst thing that you can do is to leave deadlines up in the air. Dealing with a difficult employee who throws temper tantrums can be challenging because there is a need for a private component where the individual is tactfully told that such behavior must be modified. The manager should lead by example showing what behavior is appropriate in stressful situations.

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Posted by DF
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