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Executive Management: How To Manage A Problem Employee
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Executive Management: How To Manage A Problem Employee - Executive Leadership Articles

Executive Management: How To Manage A Problem Employee

Executive Leadership Articles

Executive Management: How To Manage A Problem Employee

As managers, we all have to deal with less than desirable employees throughout the course of our careers. It is important to note, however, that while an employee is placed under our management, we are just as responsible for his development and improvement as he is himself. With that in mind, here are several traditional and non-traditional tips to helping you manage a problem employee:

  • Explain without Excuses. Sometimes, in order to train an employee in office standards or even something like basic grammar, it’s wise to explain why you are having him make a certain edit. Sharing your reasoning in a confident and logical manner will demonstrate how the employee should learn to make similar edits in the future. However, be sure to avoid weak preface phrases like “I know it may seem silly, but…” or “I know it’s kind of a pain, but…” Phrases like this only undermine your authority and make you appear uncertain. As a result, some employees may disregard what you are saying and lose their respect for you. Instead, simply state that you will explain to your employee why you are asking him to make these changes because you expect to see him follow a similar thought process going forward.
  • Sometimes Micromanaging is Necessary. Every worker is different. There will always be the proactive, well-educated employee who thrives on challenges, meets deadlines, and pushes himself to turn in quality work that is as perfect as he can make it. Conversely, there will also always be employees who do the bare minimum required, miss deadlines, either lack training or education to improve their skillset, and submit substandard work that they have not proofread or attempted to improve. If you are responsible for the latter type of employee, you will quickly determine the strategy you need to groom them into (if not the former employee type) something in between. While micromanaging has a bad rap, some employees do require this approach to learn good habits; however, you must be careful to demonstrate that the more the employee proves that he is learning and bettering his work ethic, the more you will step back and trust him. Additionally, you must do your part to ease up wherever and whenever possible and offer rewards for improvement. Otherwise, you may create instead a resentful employee even worse than before.
  • Expect Improvement. Bosses who expect only the worst from their employees typically do not exert effort to train them to be better. Some managers think, “If he doesn’t have the experience, background, or education to be a better worker, how can I have high expectations?” The truth is that anyone can be taught. The range of improvement differs from person to person, but if a manager is content to accept poor work and bad behavior, the employee has no motivation to change. Finally, while you may think that employees are not sensitive to such things, they do indeed notice when their boss has given up on them, just as they notice when their boss takes an active interest in their success. If you don’t have faith in them, why should they have faith in themselves?

While every situation is different and every employee has a different capacity for improvement and level of potential, remember that it is a manager’s responsibility to help coach her employees to better their on-the-job performance. Management is most successful when it provides workers with positive training and reinforcement. Employees may not always embrace it at first, but most will respect you for it.


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