Train Supervisors to Manage Challenging Employees

The objective of the following role-playing exercise is to review strategies for managing challenging employees effectively.
Instruct trainees to choose a partner and role-play each of the following situations. For the first role-playing exercise, one person takes the role of the supervisor and the other, the role of the employee. Then, for the second, switch roles.
1. Jack butts heads with everybody—his coworkers, his supervisor, employees, and managers in other departments. He is the most uncooperative person in the department. His supervisor decides that it’s time to deal with this challenging behavior. He calls Jack into his office to discuss the matter. What should he say? How should he handle this meeting?
2. Lisa has a mean temper and she has turned it on all of her coworkers and her supervisor at one time or another. Everything seems to make her angry. Just say good morning to her some days and she snaps at you. Her supervisor has decided that the time has come to deal with this challenging behavior. Her anger is interfering with work relationships and damaging morale. She calls Lisa into her office. What should she say? How should she handle this meeting?
Debriefing: How successful do you think these meetings were? Do you think the employee’s behavior will improve as a result of the meeting? Have you ever dealt with a similar situation on the job? What did you do? How did it turn out?

Need practical tips on keeping your workforce from being adversely affected by coworkers with challenging personalities? Check out BLR’s upcoming webinar, “Managing Challenging Personality Types” on November 7. Learn more.

Here is some information to help you lead the debriefing discussion.
1. When dealing with an uncooperative employee, try these strategies:

  • Take the employee aside and discuss the situation privately.
  • Ask for an explanation and listen carefully to the employee’s side of the story.
  • Explain that you expect cooperation from all employees.
  • Remind the employee that he or she is part of a team.
  • Ask the employee to come to you with similar problems in the future.
  • Advise the employee that cooperative behavior is a factor in performance appraisals and can affect raises and promotions.
  • Monitor to see if the situation improves.

2. When dealing with a chronically angry employee, try these strategies:

  • Find out what’s causing the anger.
  • Explain why it’s a problem on the job.
  • Recommend professional help, if necessary.
  • Remember your responsibility to provide other employees with a safe workplace.

The information in today’s Advisor is adapted from BLR’s PowerPoint® training presentation, “Managing Challenging Employees.”

Have you ever had an, ahem, difficult coworker or employee? Who hasn’t? But in just 90 minutes, you can get valuable tips for “Managing Challenging Personality Types” by attending BLR’s upcoming webinar on November 7. Get more information and sign up here.

Meet the Challenge
There’s one in every workplace — that coworker who simply can’t get along, follow the rules, or abide by social conventions. They range from being a little annoying to real trouble for a manager or employer.
Most organizations require teamwork, and even if the challenging personality in your workplace is considered a high-performer — a genius essential to success — the challenges he or she presents can undermine their successes and make working with them a detriment rather than an asset. Sometimes a manager would just rather avoid the problem, hoping it will go away. But it won’t.
And inconsistency in dealing with obnoxious or worse behavior can result in low morale company-wide. Join us on November 7 when our presenter will provide concrete advice for managing challenging personality types, including how to deal with the difficult employee who can throw a wrench into everything simply by being himself and how to defuse the situations such types create.
“Managing Challenging Personality Types:
Dealing with Bullies, Idea Killers & Smart Slackers”

Live webinar coming Friday, November 7, 2014
1:30 to 3:00 p.m. Eastern/10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Pacific

You’ll learn:

  • How to identify the challenging personality — diva, compulsive perfectionist, and more
  • Specific tips for dealing with each of the following types of problematic employees:
    • the Bully
    • the Gossip
    • the Passive Aggressive
    • the Idea Killer
    • the Saboteur
    • the Injustice Collector
    • the Challenger
    • the Plow Horse
    • the Problem Child
    • the Avoider
    • the Over-Achiever
    • the Under-Achiever
    • the Smart Slacker
  • How to create a working environment that inspires employees to work as a team
  • Strategies for predicting and defusing emotional blowups or meltdowns with employees, leaders, or client/customers
  • How to address problems with challenging personality types before they become unmanageable
  • How to create relationships that motivate employees, including challenging ones, to share the goals of the company
  • Communication and listening tips that help him or her gain awareness of the problem
  • How to assess the employee’s benefit to the organization
  • Documentation strategies to use with difficult employees
  • When termination may be the best option

In just 90 minutes, you’ll learn practical tips to ensure that your team is not adversely affected by the challenging personality in your group, no matter how integral that difficult employee may be to the organization.