How to manage problematic employees

As a small-business owner, you’re probably well aware of how much you need to stretch every penny. When resources are tight, it’s up to you to find new revenue for that next project or room in the budget for more promotional products. Depending on your team, your employees might be your most valuable resource, but what happens when you can’t get them to work to the best of their abilities?

Problematic employees can cause large corporations to stumble over otherwise sound business plans, and the effect is magnified when you have fewer people in a smaller office. If you see any concerning tendencies among your employees that might affect their productivity, it might be time to step in and do what you can to course correct.

What happens when your employees start taking their frustrations out on the office?What happens when your employees start taking their frustrations out on the office?

The passive-aggressive worker
Managers need to know that their questions and directives are being listened to, but Inc. magazine explained that the passive-aggressive worker might employ an “in one ear, out the other” technique. Despite when you say you need him or her in the office or a specific task completed, the passive-aggressive worker might procrastinate until the absolute last second.

Obviously, this can throw a massive speedbump into your small business, which is why Judith Orloff, M.D., assistant clinical professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, told Inc. that you need to be very clear with this type of employee.

“The only way is to very clearly say what you need from them and when. ‘It’s very important that you show up on time for our meetings,’ for example,'” Orloff said.

However, Orloff also explained that the passive-aggressive worker also values moving up within the company, so small-business owners also need to find low-impact ways of motivating them. Promotional products like Myron’s Status Crystal Clock are unobtrusive enough to be displayed on a desk, but you can make a big show of awarding them to workers who deserve the praise.

“Know-it-all employees aren’t limited to one specific age group.”

The know-it-all employee
While the passive-aggressive worker might disrupt deadlines and cause delays for deliverables, they might not harm the inviting office culture most small businesses enjoy. However, having a know-it-all on your staff can seriously damage the sense of camaraderie between all of your employees.

International labor research site explained that about 35 percent of employees fall into this category. These workers are often so sure of themselves and their work that they are too stubborn to take criticism, and this can cause friction between different members of your team.

Know-it-all employees aren’t limited to one specific age group, either. Baby boomers who’ve been in the industry for decades might have their own preconceptions about how to do their jobs, while millennials might feel that they have all the answers to working in a digital economy.

Whatever the reason, recommended intervening when know-it-alls start to create friction at the office. However, publicly shaming these workers is only likely to cause them to resent you for embarrassing them in front of their colleagues. Instead, book a meeting room or call him or her into your office so you can have a private discussion about his or her work performance.

Be clear
While problematic employees come in many forms, your response to them as a small-business owner should be relatively uniform. ZipRecruiter urged managers to be explicitly clear with any and all instructions to new workers or those who seem to be taking liberties with their responsibilities with work. If you let these employees know what you expect from them and when they should have it done, odds are you’ll have a much better functioning office than you’re used to.

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