Difficult coworkers always make it harder to be productive when working with a team. It can be especially frustrating if you are in a position of higher authority. An annoying employee would have you at your wit’s end and emotionally drained by the close of work. There are several reasons why an employee may start acting up and fail to be as efficient as they were employed to be, could be that they have begun to lose interest in the job or have a personal issue they need to get sorted out. Whatever it is, this article aims to proffer solid advice on the best ways to deal with annoying employees.
Reasons Why Employees may be Difficult to Work With.
1. They are trying to match your energy
If your employees are deliberately making it hard for you to get things done at the office, they might be responding to how you treat them. Evaluate your work relationship with employees, and effect changes where necessary.
2. Lack of motivation.
The employee could be acting out because the project assigned to him no longer challenges him, and he now feels frustrated by the monotony of the everyday. It could also be that the employee is facing an issue of having inadequate resources to complete the tasks assigned to him. He may be acting up to draw attention to his plight.
3. Personal Problems
Employees could also become very irritant and annoying when they are under pressure from family, struggling to pay off debt or have any other unresolved issues in their private life. Personal issues are not an excuse for being disrespectful, but they could be the reason.
4. Bad Character
An employee’s character flaw may start out as funny and playful but quickly turn into a source of annoyance to the team. A bad attitude could be displayed in several forms; eye-rolling, mimicking the boss to impress the rest of the team, persistent lateness, making sarcastic remarks at important meetings, or laughing condescendingly at others when they get corrected because he was appreciated. Whichever form it is being displayed, it should be checked because it may go on to affect team projects, and generally make the office space uncomfortable for the rest of the team.
5. Poor Communication
Can two work together unless they agree? No. An employee may seem to be flaunting a directive because he didn’t fully understand it when given and was unable to ask questions, or has an alternative perspective that he believes will work better, but hasn’t been given an audience to share it. The employee may also have problems with submitting to the required authority, which leads to him being disrespectful.
Whatever the reason is for bad work attitude from your employees, their disposition is likely to affect workflow and slow down productivity. Here’s what you can do about it.
How to Handle Annoying Employees
Evaluate Your own Actions as a Leader
Are you dishing out disrespect? Because if so, then your employees are likely to desire that you have a taste of your own medicine. Should you discover that you are the cause of the problem, improve yourself, and your employees would change also.
Identify the Root Cause of the Problem
Reach out to the employee and try to find out why he suddenly changed his work attitude for the worse. Having identified the cause of the problem, try to resolve it as best as you can. If the employee is under a financial burden, you may consider giving him an advance from his salary, or even a raise. A perk to being the hero in this context, makes the employee feel indebted to you, and he will work harder to improve his productivity and efficiency.
Don’t Discard the Child with the Bath Water
Criticize the employee’s bad behavior, but avoid making jabs at his personality. Also, try not to continuously bash his wrong behavior in front of his coworkers, it reduces his self-esteem and may be counter-effective to getting him to improve.
If you discover that the root cause of the problem is poor communication, give clear directions next time. Try to explain exactly what is required of your employees, and give room for feedback and an opportunity for them to share their thoughts and opinions on the matter.
Develop an Evaluation Plan
In addition to monthly evaluations done on employees’ work progress, draft a plan showing the expectations you have of each employee, and rewards or penalties for meeting up expectations or falling short. Implement these consequences should any employees be found wanting and lead by example yourself; don’t flaunt office rules and regulations. A feedback box where employees can drop comments anonymously on one another’s progress might be helpful.
Confront the Employee
When you notice that an employee is just being disrespectful for no reason, call for his attention and talk to him privately. Explain to him how his actions affect workflow and productivity around the office, and how it makes his coworkers feel. Bring established consequences for his actions to his notice and place him on a period of probation. Most likely there would be a tremendous improvement for the duration of his probation, however, if he reverts back to normal after the period has elapsed, implement the consequences.
Commend Good Deeds Openly
If after your private meeting with an employee, there is improvement in his work attitude, commend him openly and appreciate his efforts to be better. This subtly gives other coworkers the hint that you are a supportive boss and as interested in employee growth as in company growth.
Speak to HR
The Human Resource department of any company is there for conflict resolution. These guys are professionals in human interactions. Communicate your concerns regarding this employee, and hear their opinion on the next action to take.
Let the Employee Go
Especially if the employee is proving to be difficult and hardheaded even after corrective action, it is time to let him go. Terminating an employee is never easy, however, overlooking his bad attributes and hoping he would change eventually will only encourage mediocrity and toxicity in the company.
Investigate Future Candidates
By the next hiring, properly investigate the candidate’s work attitude at his past workplace, to avoid bringing in another bad apple.
We are only human and are bound to find some people in our lives annoying, not just our employees. Before dealing with annoying employees, calmly figure out if the attributes you find annoying are a threat to general office workflow, or are just objects of personal distaste. If it turns out to be the latter, you may want to overlook them, no one is perfect. However, if these attributes really pose a threat to the team’s productivity, it is time to take action.