Even the best employee can have an off-day (or week, or month). Before deciding if an employee is difficult, managers must first step back and neutrally assess the situation. The first question to ask is whether the behavior is critical enough to implement a formal HR process. Another important concept to consider is that ‘different’ does not equal ‘difficult’. There will always be employees that a manager does not gel with, understand or even like. However, this is not enough to deem an employee difficult. To constitute a “difficult employee”, behavior must exceed acceptable standards, policies and procedures or interfere with productivity.
Define the Problem
It is important that both the manager and employee are absolutely clear on individual roles. The manager’s role is to ensure business success by leading, coaching and supporting employees. The employee’s role is to meet predefined performance and behavior standards, and function as a cooperative team member. A key concept that employees must grasp is that it is not only the level of their performance that is important, but also how their performance affects the functioning of their team, department and the company overall.
This is where the manager should clarify four things – the employee’s performance, responsibilities, impact of their behavior and the consequences if it dozen’t change. A follow up and ongoing review should be scheduled and regular updates between the manager and the employee will help to move things forward and get the employee