Musthafa Ebadi
How To Manage Difficult Employees!
by Musthafa Ebadi on December 4th, 2014

As managers we all have had difficult employees at one time or the other.

Managing a difficult employee can be a full time job in itself, however, there are some tips and tricks that I want share with you on how to make it easier.

1. Differentiate between being difficult and cynical
The first step is to differentiate between those employees who are difficult and those who have turned cynical. While an employee could be difficult because of many reasons, a cynic is someone who has unfortunately travelled a bit far. You should try to find other fit somewhere else for the cynical on your team.

2. Understand why an employee is being difficult
You should get to the bottom of why an employee chooses to be difficult. It could be because they have a chip on their shoulder, it could be because they have lost confidence in the team, it could be because they have lost trust in leadership, or it could be because they are difficult in nature.  Once you understand why they are being difficult half of your battle is won.

3. Gain Commitments
As a manager your biggest asset should be your ability to gain commitments from your teams. It not only brings them onboard with the plan, initiative, or task it enables you to have a focused expectation from them. By gaining commitments from difficult employees you are making them accountable to themselves.

4. Build relationships.
One of your highest priorities should be to build relationships with all your employees particularly with your difficult employees. In my experience the difficult employees often has been the most capable I have led. Once we invest in building a relationship with them they understand the value we place in them. And while they may not become less difficult they can become the biggest asset on your team.

5. Ensure you have credibility
Ensure you have credibility, command, and clear communication with your employees. As a leader a difficult employee will open up to you on why they are being difficult once you have built credibility which in turn makes it easier for you to address the root cause of them being difficult.

In my experience some of my best people have been those who were difficult to manage, but once I was able to turn them around I had the most skilled, hardworking, and above all most loyal people I can think of.

If you are able to manage them properly, lead them effectively, and turn them around you have uncovered a pot of gold.

Feel free to agree, disagree, or share your perspective using the comment section of this post.
Thanks for reading

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