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Managing tactics for hard to handle employees

Sometimes being in management is not exactly fun, especially when dealing with difficult employees. Why is it that some personalities will never be easy to get along with? Why are there people that will never get it, no matter how hard you work with them? Why are some employees just flat out hard to get along with? If only those were easy questions to answer.
There are all types of difficult employees:
There's the hard to handle employee who complains all the time. They never seem to have suggestions, just a lot of complaints. There's the classic tardy employee, that no matter when they are scheduled, they always show up late. There's the aggressive employee who is always on the defensive. When these difficult employees are asked to do or correct something, they immediately "blow up" and get angry. There's also the harasser who just likes to bug people to get a reaction out of them. No matter how people are raised, we are always faced with the dishonest one. They may not tell the truth and they may like to steal from you. We may not know what drives someone to be difficult, but here are some managing tactics to help with those hard to handle employees.

Evaluate the situation
Realize that most employees can be "difficult" at times. This can be caused by stress on the job or in their personal lives. Some employees are difficult more often than others. It is not always your laziest or least productive employees who are difficult. Take a moment to evaluate each situation because each one will be unique.
Ask for clarification
Always act on the facts. Never act on rumors or actions from others, even if it is from one of your hardest working employees. It is important to gather all the correct information and to act promptly. Being the manager, you are the mediator and should act like one. Remember to stay calm, and don't become part of the problem by taking sides.
Plan the time of confrontation
Carefully plan the time to confront the difficult employee. Make sure to pick a time where you are alone and won't embarrass them in front of the other co-workers. Pick a quiet and private place where you won't be interrupted. If another manager or a boss needs to be present, make sure they are there too.


Confront them
Confront the employee and discuss the problem. Remember not to attack them personally, but to deal with the situation. Just because they may have acted wrongly, doesn't mean they are a bad person.
Listen
Listen to what your employee has to say, rather than arguing. Get their side of the story first. Ask them how they would like to see you fix the situation. Listening lets them know you really care about their feelings and you are paying attention. Stay calm and stay positive and be non-judgmental. Ask questions that can be answered with a few words. This will help them let it out without getting so worked up and angry. If you can find out the reason of their behavior from them, you can better resolve the situation.
Repeat if necessary
It may take more than one meeting to get these hard to handle employees back on track. Small problems like showing up late can be taken care of quickly in your office. Bigger problems such as bad behavior towards others, or being dishonest and stealing should be addressed seriously with the proper management. There may not be instant results, so remember to be patient. If the seriousness of the problem is out of your jurisdiction make sure to get proper authorities to take care of the situation.
Come to some kind of solution
Always have the goal of reaching a mutually accepted solution. Unless you and the difficult employee agree on a solution, the inappropriate behavior is likely to continue. When you reach a solution and the employee is not willing to follow it, or the consequences of their actions, then termination should follow. Make sure if that is the outcome, then properly follow your company's policy for termination.
These managing tactics for hard to handle employees are crucial to keeping the workplace a happy place. Remember to always have an open door policy. When employees, particularly the hard to handle ones with difficult personality types, feel that you are approachable, they are more likely to communicate instead of letting things get out of hand. If you are available and are easy to talk to, employees are less likely going to take advantage of you and the company policies.

Hard to handle employees are being discovered all the time. The least we can do is use these tactics to learn to deal with these employees as we come in contact with them. In doing so, it not only helps us, but it helps them and everyone around them.

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