Difficult employees are in all businesses. How you handle them makes the difference.
The most difficult part of any business is managing or leading employees to produce efficiently, stay on task and help the business turn a profit. What you end up dealing with is a whole host of other issues that sometimes have nothing to do with your business.
Ever have that employee that feels he knows it all, believes he is your greatest asset, you can’t survive without him and he deserves a lot more money than you pay him? Yes, him. How did he get that way? The short answer is you created him.
You create difficult employees by not paying attention to them. This is one case where ignorance is not bliss. Whether it’s you or one of your managers, each employee needs attention from his or her supervisor. They need constant feedback about how they are doing. This is not to say you give them continual good feedback, but you give them accurate feedback. If they are doing a great job, let them know. Say “thank you for being such a great part of our business”. A pat on the back or sometimes just a smile of appreciation goes a long way. Just don’t ignore them.
If they are struggling, coach them along and encourage them to keep trying. You’d be surprised at how many workers know they are struggling and fear for their jobs, so they don’t ask for help. An acknowledgment that you know they are trying and you’re okay with it will relax them enough to be able to focus on the task. Let them know it is okay to fail, make the correction and move on. Otherwise, you end up with workers afraid to cross the line and performance beyond expectations never happens.
For the employees that continually cause grief within an organization or talk too much and don’t get much done, the persistent attention and constant feedback about how that behavior does not work in the organization will either change their behavior or give you sufficient reason to send them packing. No one likes to do that, but the truth of the matter is if you’ve tried everything to get them to change and they just can’t seem to hold on to that change, let them go. There is always a strong chance they don’t want to be there and you’re providing them with a means to get out and look elsewhere.
The strength of your business is heavily dependent on the quality of your employees. Those workers behind the scene will eventually affect your customers. If they touch the product, they touch the customer. Disgruntled employees and bad attitudes spreads and will eventually ruin your business. Stay close to them, talk to them regularly. Help them deal with their obstacles. Don’t take any excuses for why it can’t be done. If they want to do it, they will. If they don’t want to, set them free. They just need to know you care and they have the okay to get it done.