When an employee is being disruptive to the office environment, it can cause a chain of events that result in low morale and loss of productivity. However, a manager must tread lightly as they handle the situation. Though you may want to give that staff member an unscripted piece of your mind, professionalism is always a must. Here are some effective ways to deal with a problem employee:
Use solid facts
When it comes to disciplining a problem employee, you’ll want to rely on solid evidence to illustrate the situation at hand. Simply saying, “You never seem invested in your work” is not helpful for anyone. Instead say, “I noticed you falling asleep at the meeting last week, and you’ve shown up to work late several times this week.”
Making general statements allows the employee to then deny them and get defensive, and may prevent the situation from getting resolved. However, giving specific instances where undesirable behavior has occurred is much harder to deny, and will force the employee to address the issue.
Keep it controlled
Regardless of how frustrating this individual’s behavior has been, it’s important to present your concerns in a calm and controlled way. Raising your voice, ranting, and swearing make you look unprofessional, and can take some of the power out of what you’re saying. Instead, collect yourself, and present your concerns in a calm and controlled way.
Create a solution
Instead of simply exploding at the employee for their bad behavior and then sending them out of your office, it’s important to actually take the time to come up with a solution to the problem. While it’s necessary to fully express the problem to the team member, failure to come up with a resolution ensures that it will continue to happen. Work together to devise a way to keep everyone satisfied.
Stand your ground
An unpleasant yet necessary conversation with an employee can turn into a debate if you let it. While you should let this team member voice their concerns and thoughts, you also can’t be swayed by their point of view. If they’ve been acting in an undesirable way, you must let them know and not cave when they try to explain what’s been happening. Respect what they say, but don’t back down from your request for a change in behavior.
Dealing with a problem employee requires carefully chosen words and the desire to find a solution to the issue. Keep your composure, yet stand firm as you demand a change in how the employee is performing.
How do you deal with problem employees in your office?
These are great tips, Lauren. I’m a strong believer in acting immediately. Whether you made a bad hire or there is a problem with an employee, it’s important to deal with the situation immediately before it gets any worse and other staff members are affected. I share more thoughts on my blog here: http://pastfive.typepad.com/pastfive/2012/06/managers-how-to-provide-feedback-effectively.html
Another good tip, Tom. Thanks for the comment!