Management May 13, 2015 Last updated September 18th, 2018 1,763 Reads share

How to Manage the Most Difficult Employees

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Management is not supposed to be easy. It would be if everyone you managed were of a similar disposition, hard working, collaborative and exceptionally talented. Unfortunately that is not the case. That situation probably wouldn’t even be management. It would be groups of highly motivated, diligent people working together. The reality is different and leadership training tools such as Everything Disc can be helpful. This personality testing tool is insightful for managers because it can help you to see not just who is hard to manage, but provide some reasons as to why.

Employees need to be individually managed because they are all different. Personalities are variable but good managers recognize that despite the different ways of managing individuals with different needs, general guidance needs to be provided.

The likelihood is that you worked hard in order to become a manager. It might come as a shock that you aren’t entirely prepared for it once you get into that role.  Let’s make a start by looking at some of the issues managers find themselves up against. You may even recognize yourself in some of the traits of your employees.

Management Issues

There are a number of factors as to why people can be difficult to manage. Studies have shown that employees with a university or college degree are actually less engaged with their work than workers without a degree. This indicates that although these workers have devoted energy and time to their career by earning a degree, their managers have not yet found a way to appreciate what these workers have achieved.

Different generations in the workplace see things differently. Managers would benefit from seeking ways to help employees of all ages have opportunities to talk about the companies mission and how it effects them and what it means to them. They should then be able to share their thoughts with other employees. Workers of all ages become more engaged when they are given the opportunity to do what they do best every single day. Everything Disc has the assessment facility offering managers ways to learn about their employee’s greatest talents, desires and strengths thus there is no reason to position employees in a place where they aren’t suited to.

It is particularly hard to manage employees who have been working in the company for years. Their honeymoon period of engagement is well and truly over. Employees are as engaged as they will ever be during their first six months on the job.  Companies with a higher engaged team will extend the engagement period and hopefully make it last.

Secondary to this, the newest generation of employees; millennials have a tendency to want to job hop, making them hard to manage. A team of disengaged millennials is dangerous. Not only are they likely to be looking for other jobs whilst continuing to work for an organization, but they’re probably not working to their full capabilities. This means with a young workforce, preventative measures should be taken to stop disengagement from taking place.  Employees being unengaged is a serious issue, likely to disrupt performance in ways such as lateness, disinterestedness and tasks not being done to a high standard.

Steps to Effective Management

Basically, there are lots of ways that employees can make it difficult for you as a manager. Don’t blame them though, instead it is better to try and understand their difficulties.  Managers who understand themselves and their management style are also useful assets to any company and able to manage more effectively. Proactive managers are better managers, don’t just observe but get involved. The following steps are essential in becoming a better manager and increasing the productivity of performance in the workplace.

  • Don’t Avoid Conflict – Deal with conflict directly. It is unavoidable in management and the best managers can deal with it. Use the results of the workplace personality testing, to look for a constructive way to speaking to the people involved in the conflict. Work to look for a constructive way of getting past the conflict.
  • Accept Management is not Easy – Don’t waste time and energy wishing it was differently. Approach employee issues very delicately, but treat them positively like an intriguing puzzle that needs to be solved.
  • Compassion Helps – When dealing with people in the workplace it is helpful to take a step back and look at why certain individuals are harder to manage than others. Whilst doing this, examine yourself too. Is your management style a trigger to their behaviors? If you aren’t causing any problems, then is there another contributing external factor involved?
  • Ask for Help from Employees – Regardless of an employee’s role or position in the workplace, Everything Disc can help you to recognize their strengths and you should utilize these strengths to get different perspectives. Consult employees that you trust, or are completely different to you in terms of personality, if you think they are capable of adding input to your management style. Basically, appreciate your employees. You aren’t displaying weakness by asking them to help you, just sensible judgment.
  • Make use of Data in Setting Objectives – Set goals for individuals. If someone doesn’t meet their goal you then have tangible topics to discuss. Arguing data and evidence not opinion is key in the workplace, because it leads to constructive feedback, which is good for workers to improve upon.  Set targets based on both job roles and what needs to be achieved, but also using the results of Everything Disc personality testing, because this is data too that helps establish who is most receptive to what. If you analyse the results of the personality testing, you can easily come up with ways to motivate individuals, based on what they look for out of their job.

Overall, workplace management training is not a quick fix but it essential for managers to get some additional insight into the minds of their employees so that stress is minimized whilst getting your workforce to where they need to be.

Images: “Fearless businesswoman envious pushes her work colleague/


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Laura Morrissey

Laura Morrissey

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