Recruitment: Five tips on managing difficult employees

Beef Central, 22/01/2016

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AT SOME point in their careers, most agribusiness managers will find themselves supervising an employee who is difficult to deal with, has a hard time getting along with others, or who doesn’t perform well.

More often than not, managers can unfortunately let these employees take up a lot of their time and energy.

Rather than letting them affect their emotional and professional well-being, there are methods that can be followed to handle these employees better.

Be upfront and give clear feedback

Rather than continually complaining about a poor employee, give clear and concise feedback explaining what they are doing wrong.

While giving negative feedback can sometimes be uncomfortable, it’s necessary to give the employee the chance to improve on their behaviour or work.

Try to give behavioural feedback rather than targeting their mental state, e.g. don’t say they have a bad attitude as this implies a character flaw.

Instead, explain why you think they have a bad attitude, such as they are constantly late to work or they say negative things about their co-workers.

Be clear on what is expected from them and communicate what you want from the beginning, to avoid any confusion later on.

Document bad behaviour

A manager should always make note of significant problems with employees by writing down the issues.

If the employee in question needs to be dismissed in future, it is imperative their actions and behaviour that have led to the decision have been noted down.

Documentation doesn’t always need to be thought of as negative but rather sensible, and if the problem can be solved in future, then this documentation can be put away.

Be consistent and set consequences

If certain behaviour isn’t tolerated in the workplace, then make it known in the workplace.

A manager should only set standards that they are willing to stick to; if a late task is sometimes accepted, and other times not accepted, this is not setting a clear set of standards for employees.

If after giving feedback and setting standards thing still haven’t improved, a manager should be specific about setting consequences.

Employees should be aware that if they don’t make changes, there will be repercussions and manager needs to follow through on this.

Problem employees will only change their behaviour if they believe it will have a negative impact on them.

Managing Themselves

Throughout the process, managers should make sure their own thinking of the problem employee isn’t unhelpfully positive or negative.

For example, always thinking that the employee is useless and won’t ever change will never be helpful and nor is thinking everything is fine and there are no issues.

Evaluate the issues fairly and accurately define the situation, so that problems can be addressed and changed when required.

If these tips can be considered by agribusiness managers dealing with difficult employees, then regardless of how things turn out, they can know they’ve done the best they could in a tough situation.


Source: Meat Processors Pty Ltd




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