People Leadership

Guess Who? Identifying and Managing Challenging Employees

August 29, 2018

Do you remember the board game Guess Who? Players race against each other to identify their opponent’s character by considering physical characteristics like clothing, glasses, and hairstyles. Surveying your work team for the difficult employee who may be causing turmoil behind the scenes can make you feel like you’re playing a grown-up version of Guess Who?, but instead of the obvious signs, employers often have to rely on behavioural clues.

Given that our work lives rarely occur in isolation, most employers and HR professionals understand the importance of maintaining healthy relationships in the workplace. These relationships can go a long way towards making the time spent at work feel positive and enjoyable, while dealing with difficult colleagues can make the workday feel twice as long. Despite your best effort to recruit the most skilled employees who will fit in with your team and workplace culture, you can occasionally hire an employee who doesn’t work well with you or their co-workers.

Managing difficult employees in the workplace is particularly challenging because of the many variables that might contribute to negative behaviour, and the fact that some difficult employees operate under the managerial radar. For example, an employee might be pleasant when you’re around but extremely difficult in your absence. Or an otherwise excellent employee may be the epitome of professionalism until they’re stressed by a new project or challenges in their personal life. While it may seem easier to wait for difficult behaviour to go away on its own, it’s important to learn how to identify and manage negative personalities in the workplace, as even one individual can influence the morale of the whole team.

Difficult employees enter the workplace under many guises. Is your challenging staff member a coaster or dictator? Take the guesswork out of managing problematic behaviour. Download our FREE Management Guide for Challenging Employees, which provides strategies for identifying and managing the different negative personalities that you might encounter in the workplace.

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