Problematic individuals exist in almost every work environment at some point or another. Not only are problem employees difficult to work with, but they also hurt general productivity by creating friction within the work unit. 

A problematic employee can be difficult due to a variety of reasons, whether those are innate characteristics of their own, or a lack of understanding regarding their role within the company. This individual may gossip, create new problems, or argue with management or coworkers. To put an end to these kinds of rifts, employers must address these difficult employees effectively. Here are a few ways to do just that.

Suggest Improvements

Effective managers should never point out an employee’s mistakes and hold them at fault. An employee can be problematic without having the intention to do so. Employers must focus on ways to improve and provide constructive feedback to these employees in order for them to improve and grow. They must articulate what improvements to their behavior need to be made. For example, if an employee has a bad attitude, managers should bring this to the employee’s attention along with questions as to why they are feeling this way in the first place. To provide a solution, one must first understand the root cause of the problem.

Never Assume

Assumptions can lead to hasty and, oftentimes, harmful decisions that only further pollute clarity and create more problems. Instead of assuming that an employee is going out of their way to be difficult on purpose, hold a 1-on-1 meeting with them and get to the root of their actions. 

Perhaps this employee is dealing with a difficult personal situation and needs emotional guidance about how to better present themselves in a healthy way. One can never assume what another person is going through without asking. By having more open, heartfelt conversations with employees, they can get the emotional support and resources they need to flourish within the company.

Don’t Ignore the Problem

Managers and business owners should never ignore or become passive to ongoing problematic employees. When team members begin to see that their coworkers can get away with certain negative behavior, there is a risk of having these limits tested from even more employees. 

One should always address a difficult employee immediately. This builds trust among coworkers as they see that issues are approached and resolved professionally and empathetically. There should be no favoritism or discrimination when it comes to calling out problematic employees. A team that cannot see their leader as fair and dependable is one that is doomed to fail.

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