Dealing with difficult employees does not have to be difficult

Managers often get the employees they deserve. Good employees are good because they feel comfortable doing so. A manager who is in touch with his or her employees, who communicates, who send the right message to his or her staff will find dealing with difficult employees easy. There are three parts of a manager’s communication with employees that can make or break an employee-manager relationship.

  1. Use the power of praise. In a survey of four million employees, 65% of them said they had not gotten as much as a “thank you” for their work in the past year. That is a pathetic number. Even a manager in a big bureaucratic company can create an oasis in his or her unit. Despite the structure, despite all of the constraints, a manager should be able to communicate that he or she knows the difference between good and bad. He or she should clearly hold people accountable. In exchange, good employees will actually want to work for that manager. Smaller companies have a wonderful, unrestricted opportunity to recognize and praise.
  2. Practice Consistency… Your procedures should be always consistent and that they are should be clear. “DITO, DITA” means “do it to one, do it to all.” It is important that employees know what is coming for them, know their consequences and what is appreciated of them. Dealing with difficult employees is easier this way, because the rules are clear-cut, clearly written, and clearly applied.
  3. And make exceptions. Although consistency is important, the fact that employees are different is important, too. A manager should learn to make exceptions for employees with excellent behavior, and/or excellent performance. If you treat good and bad employees the same way, you send the wrong message.

Never make exceptions based on age, sex, national origin, religion, disability, or any other group defined under equal opportunity employment laws. However, it is not bad to make exceptions to the rule for an exceptional employee.

Edited Remarks from “Gossip, Gab and the Grapevine: How to Neutralize Its Negative Impact” by Hunter Lott

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