How To Mobilize Difficult Staff

difficult-staffEvery business owner would like to work with a happy, motivated, and hard-working team – but what do you do when a member of staff simply doesn’t cooperate?

Difficult employees can make things very unpleasant in the office environment, creating unnecessary tension with fellow team members and managers and even alienating clients and suppliers. Rudeness, poor work results, and a general lack of team spirit are just a few of the tell-tale signs of a difficult staff member – here are some solutions for managers and business owners who’ve reached the end of their tether with a problem employee.

What makes a ‘difficult’ staff member so difficult to work with?

Employees often get a reputation for being “difficult”, causing stress to their co-workers and members of senior staff or management. If you have a member of staff who is underperforming or has trouble working with other members of their team, look out for these characteristics:

  • Uncooperative behaviour, rudeness, or  a lack of professionalism
  • Difficulty completing tasks on time with no explanation for the delay
  • A tendency to arrive late for work on a regular basis with no valid excuse
  • Refusal to work with other members of staff, usually for personal reasons
  • A lack of enthusiasm for their work and a “do the minimum” approach to tasks and projects

If you have a member of staff who displays these behaviours, you may have an HR problem on your hands. You’ll need to take firm and constructive action to mobilize an employee who has slipped into a negative pattern of behaviour.

How to help a difficult staff member on the path to change

  • The first step in solving any problem that has to do with human behaviour, is to help the person accept that they have a problem.
  • Difficult staff members are often defensive and refuse to admit that they’ve done anything wrong, but the only way to bring about change in them is to communicate directly.

By calling the member of staff in for a meeting, you’ll open the channels of communication – just make sure that the meeting is more of a chat than an interrogation. If you accuse your employees of being difficult, they are much more likely to close up and become defensive.

During the meeting, it may be a good idea to find out whether your employee is happy doing their job.

  • Disgruntled people are sometimes just people who feel that their talents are wasted or don’t see potential for growth in their current positions.
  •  It’s also possible that personal problems are affecting the person’s attitude and focus – by showing that you understand your employees problems and see them as fellow human beings, you’ll motivate them to straighten out their problems and focus on work.

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