Managing Difficult Employees And Disruptive Behaviors

Managing Difficult Employees And Disruptive Behaviors

The Facts

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It's important to manage difficult employees and disruptive behavior at the workplace. A few examples of difficult employee behavior include gossiping, insubordination, disobedience, bullying, sexual assault, incivility or disrespect, and disruptive employee actions. Any such behavior should be dealt with accordingly. A corporation must realize those disruptive activities in the workplace have a wide range of consequences. It has the potential to reduce employee dedication, productivity, and performance.

How to Deal with a Disruptive Employee?

Dealing with difficult people can be challenging, but allowing the situation to go unchecked can negatively affect staff morale, productivity, and the overall company culture. Good employees don't become "toxic" for no reason, based on my experience. People aren't poisonous; their habits are, and harmful actions are merely symptomatic of larger issues in the workplace culture.

According to the Harvard Business Review, disruptive behavior can spread easily among employees. Removing a toxic employee from the rest of the team can assist in containing the behavior and preventing it from spreading to other employees.

Many managers do not make an effort to comprehend their employees' difficulties. Employee issues are inconvenient, annoying, and draining for them. As a result, instead of exploring people's habits, they turn away. However, a manager must provide neutral and constructive feedback to all employees in the workplace. It's also important to treat them as individuals, as some will require more attention than others.

Managers must speak directly to a disruptive employee about the specific behavior that is undesirable in order to deal with the situation. Explain why their behavior needs to change and what will happen if they don't. If you can't fix the situation or terminate the person's employment contract right away, consider isolating the disruptive individual from the rest of the team to minimize disruptions. 

Tips to Manage Difficult Employees and Disruptive Behavior at the Workplace

First and foremost, keep an optimistic attitude. It won't go well if you approach a disruptive employee with a harsh tone and a string of remarks. Demonstrate faith in that person by setting goals for them to achieve and balancing the negative repercussions with an optimistic perspective.

To make the process easier and boost your chances of fixing the issue, use these tips for managing tough employees:

  • Communicate

It's simple to grumble behind an employee's back, but it won't help your company grow in the long run. The truth is that your team is in this together, and you have the capacity to bring them together and create incredible results. When everything else fails, it's time to remove the employee.

  • Listen Closely

Employees who cause problems are frequently doing so because they express real concerns ineffectively. Managers must extensively investigate the possible motivations for their actions. By attentively listening, you'll likely understand the origins of the employee's conduct and be in a better position to determine whether it indicates organizational issues.

  • Ask Questions

Other things could be contributing to their undesirable behavior. Some may be working outside of the office. However, you might be astonished to learn that others are completely under your control, and you can simply assist the problem employee in resolving these issues.

  • Make Use of Examples

It can be difficult to provide severe criticism, but it is important to present clear and specific examples of harmful behavior. This can help the employee become less defensive and perform better.

  • Pay Attention to Feedback

With a difficult employee, you should have a two-way conversation. Listen to what they have to say so you can figure out what's wrong and address any workplace issues that may be the cause of the bad behavior. Sometimes just being listened to is enough to make an employee feel better and change their behavior.

  • Note the Problematic Behavior

Whenever you notice poor performance or disturbing behavior, make a detailed note of it and add the date to record what happened. Proper documentation aids in remembering and referring to specific occurrences and protects your organization if an employee is fired and later sues for wrongful termination.

  • Give Specific Instructions

Managers may find it difficult to give tough feedback. Still, you must provide clear and specific examples of the negative behavior, as well as an explanation of why it's inappropriate and how it needs to change. Focusing on specific examples might help employees become less defensive and provide them with important knowledge to improve their job performance.

  • Consult the HR Department

Make arrangements to meet with the HR department of your company to address the problem. They can advise you on dealing with the terrible behavior, explain the documents you'll need, and suggest a plan of action for dealing with the employee. HR will be familiar with all of the company's policies and procedures for dealing with challenging situations.

  • Monitor the Progress

Allow your employees the time they require to make the necessary changes. Keep track of their progress and any issues or relapses during this time. Check-in as needed to get a better picture of how they're doing with the agreed-upon strategy and intervene if they deviate. Once the deadline from your plan has gone, schedule a detailed in-person evaluation to discuss the progress.

  • Follow Up

Managers must follow up on a regular basis to provide the employees with honest feedback and track if the undesired behaviors have stopped. This may entail enlisting the help of another trusted team member to assess the employee's progress while keeping in mind that the opinions of others may be skewed.

  • Conduct Regular Training Sessions

Organizations can prevent inappropriate behaviors by offering staff training on a number of workplace compliance and conduct subjects, rather than reacting to them. All employees and supervisors can benefit from training on anti-harassment and anti-discrimination, diversity and inclusion, unconscious bias, workplace respect and civility, cultural awareness, and code of conduct, beginning with the onboarding process.

Having a Conversation with Difficult Employees

It's important to have honest and meaningful talks with employees on a regular basis, not just during performance assessments or crisis situations. These discussions should be held in private, with everyone present — and everything should be written down.

Allow plenty of time for folks to speak while carefully listening and studying them. Also, avoid being judgmental or subjective. Try to figure out whether there are any behavioral dynamics for which you are responsible. Determine why people are acting in this manner if their actions are triggered by frustration or anything personal.

Final Words

Dealing with a difficult coworker may be a stressful and embarrassing experience. Working collaboratively to establish a solution that both parties agree on is the definitive conclusion when dealing with a difficult employee. Business owners and managers should show leadership by dealing directly with problematic employees, discussing behavioral and performance difficulties, and developing a plan to address the issues moving forward. 

Managers should keep an eye on tough employees' growth. If their performance does not improve with feedback and resources, you may need to fire them for the benefit of your company's performance and the morale of other employees. A good manager will act quickly to address the problem and will have the confidence to make executive decisions.

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