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13 Ways to Manage Difficult Employees

Here’s an idea for a new reality TV show that is sure to get stellar ratings: Total Employee Makeover. Imagine, instead of reactively reaching for that pink slip, CIOs and other business leaders breathe deep, crack their knuckles, and prepare to take on the challenge of transforming the problem employee. A slide show by Dennis McCafferty for CIO Insight offers 13 best practices to do just that.

Thirteen Total Employee Makeovers

In short order, the CIO has several options in his or her arsenal of reform. None of these approaches are silver bullets, but each is worth a try.

1 – 4

One – Maybe your bad employee isn’t really a bad employee. Take into account the possibility that they simply are a different animal, with different work habits and alternative approaches. Save yourself from looking the fool by considering your own flaws and unique preferences before springing the reform agenda. Two – Solicit help and feedback from employees who interact with the problem individual on a regular basis. Three – Give them a crystal clear set of expectations (preferably in writing). Four – get everyone, all relevant peers, involved in the effort. 

5 – 9

Five – Make time to garner feedback. Six – In feedback sessions, be sure not to come down too hard. Cushion the blow with a few compliments before opening the can of worms. Seven – Turn the table by asking the employee to rate themselves. No amount of finger pointing from management is ever going to make the internal change that really counts. Eight – Don’t forget that undue burden on a single individual could have unfortunate consequences. Make the solution about “Us doing better as a team.” Nine – Don’t lower your expectations to fit the performance of the problem employee. That’s backwards thinking!

10 – 13

Ten – That anger boiling in your belly will only make matters worse. Try to maintain composure, to set a proper example. Eleven – Don’t miss a single change to point out something good the employee has achieved. This will inevitably boost team morale and stir them to make further improvements. Twelve – Maybe they’re a great person who only wants success for the company. Have you considered giving them a different role with different responsibilities? Thirteen – Last but not least, you become the Terminator. After a verbal warning and a written notice, it’s time to ensure that the problem individual will (not) “be back.”    

You can view the original slide show here: http://www.cioinsight.com/it-management/workplace/slideshows/13-ways-to-manage-difficult-employees.html/

About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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