Dealing with difficult employees

Nov 04 2004 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Many of us know what it is like to deal with a grouchy boss. But what about bosses dealing with difficult employees?

Most managers have at least one "high-maintenance" employee to contend with, says Personnel Today:

Employees may be judged as high maintenance for any number of reasons. Their volatile and challenging behaviour can range from being argumentative, constantly complaining and sulking through to arrogance and berating others. They may be frustrated at their promotion path, feel undervalued or dislike their job. Some may resent authority and deploy guerrilla tactics to achieve their own ends. Paradoxically, high-maintenance employees may also be your best performers, so you won't want to lose them.

The magazine's tips on how to deal with such people focus on five areas:

1 Ask them why they take the approach they do

2 Reflect on your possible involvement

3 Stay problem focused - don't make it personal

4 Exercise tact and diplomacy

5 Accept there might not be an outcome that suits both you or the difficult employee

Personnel Today | How to manage high maintenance employees