Work isn’t always enjoyable, but it gets particularly stressful when you throw difficult employees into the mix. The easiest solution to this issue is to be best friends with everyone, but that’s rarely going to be possible. What you should aim for instead is staying on cordial terms with your employees, which will make it much easier to get things done.
Now, what do you do if you encounter workplace bullying or other examples of toxic workplace behavior? Your first instinct may be to fire the problematic employee, but you may have other options available. Here are five effective strategies for dealing with difficult employees.
- Be Introspective
The first thing you should do is consider whether you’re doing something to exacerbate the situation. For example, if you’re used to speaking your mind at every opportunity, consider reining it in and only offering your opinion when necessary. This is particularly helpful if you’re still adapting to a different work culture or group dynamics.
- Meet Them Halfway
When it comes to difficult employees, you shouldn’t bend over backward to win them over. On top of draining your energy, this may make them suspicious about your intentions. What you should do is meet them halfway by bringing a little “peace offering” such as coffee every once in a while. This will let them know you’re sincere about establishing a good relationship.
- Don’t Take Things Personally
Sometimes, an employee will appear difficult if they’ve just joined an established team. These situations often result in them adopting an unfriendly demeanor. If you notice this happening with some of your employees, keep in mind that they’re likely reacting to certain situations rather than you as a person. Give them time to come to terms with their new position.
- Stay Polite
Working with difficult employees can test your patience, but the last thing you want to do is lash out. If you notice a situation is escalating, make an effort to keep your cool and speak in a polite tone. That said, this doesn’t mean you should let them walk over you. Make sure to balance this politeness with some firmness to let your employees know that you’re not a pushover.
- Seek Guidance
If you believe an employee is going above and beyond to make your life difficult, your best bet would be to seek counsel from your HR department. Keep in mind that it often doesn’t take more than a single troublesome employee to create a toxic work environment. By seeking advice, you can ensure that you’re dealing with the problem in the best way possible.