How to Handle Difficult Employees

David Pereira
Dec 6, 2017 · 2 min read
David Pereira | Difficult Employees

As someone in a leadership role over employees within any company, you must consider how you handle various situations in your workplace. Particularly, ask yourself how you handle employees that may be more “difficult” than others. Difficult employees can vary among someone who lacks skill and motivation, or even someone who pushes the line in their daily job. Likewise, they tend to drag down others in the workplace that can successfully manage their daily duties. So as a leader, how can you best handle a situation in which you are faced with a difficult employee? Here’s your guide.

1) Be Calm and Constructive

Employees that step over boundaries are absolutely frustrating, however it’s vital that any leader remain professional when addressing issues with employees. In a calm, constructive manner, you should request to sit down with the employee where you can discuss the situation. Constructive criticism can show an employee areas in which they need to improve. While you’re explaining what they need to do better, you can also find areas in their position that they do well. A compliment in this situation will go a long way — even if it can be hard to find one.

2) Consider Their Situation

You may be viewing an employee as “difficult” for reasons that are legitimate, but there is the possibility that their behavior has alternative explanations. It is important to hear them out on what they have done at work and why. Give your employee a chance to explain their situation and reasoning behind their actions and performance. You may find something they are struggling with and be able to offer assistance or guidance. Let your employees know you have their back, even when they haven’t earned it.

3) Get Them To Buy In

The employee should show marked improvement on the issues that you have brought up with them within a reasonable amount of time after the discussion. If they do not show signs of improvement, it’s up to you to determine if they need another meeting or if they’ve lost all of their chances. The Balance suggests that you make up a timeline to make sure the employee stays on track for improving the issues that you have brought up to them. If they are not improving in the areas that you have addressed with them, then more actions may be warranted.

4) Let Them Know You Believe In Them

Trust holds a lot of weight with human interaction. Letting your employees feel trusted can be motivational to get their performance back on track. While you should be clear of the consequences that come from poor performances, give them an incentive to step up. If an employee feels that they don’t have support, what reasoning do they have to do better?

Originally published at on December 6, 2017.

David Pereira

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Proud husband, dad, friend, coach, and entrepreneur. Focusing on transportation & logistics. Founder @ Trinity Logistics USA Inc.