It’s Hard to Talk to a Difficult Employee but We Know These Secrets to This Rigorous Task
As a boss, you can’t escape having to deal with toxic employees despite having to think about tons of other things. You may want to have the best team aboard that will realize the company’s dreams but that doesn’t mean some of them won’t come with an unbearable attitude.
This person may come off with bad habits like being tardy all the time, gossiping like there’s no tomorrow, or bickering with co-workers and this is all the more a reason to muster your courage to have a conversation with him/her.
However, it’s not as easy as it sounds. You need to be very careful in dealing with a toxic person because if things go awry, you’ll never know the consequences. The key is to know how you will approach the person and the next steps during the big talk. Here are some things to keep in mind:
Plan and Prepare
You’re going to have an unpredictable conversation with an unpredictable person, so what you need to do first is to prepare and plan. Research – but this doesn’t mean sleuthing around the employee’s private stuff.
Instead, check the times when the difficult individual’s bad habits or behaviors manifested.
This way, you can relay this to him/her and explain that this is something that needs to be changed. The harder part is, you don’t know what the reaction is going to be. So, play in mind the scenarios that may arise out of this talk and plan how you will handle things for every situation.
In planning, you also need to list down the things you want to discuss with the person. You don’t want to deviate from the real issue and when you’re dealing with a difficult person, it could be hard to stay on track. Try to open up about how the individual’s actions are affecting other coworkers.
No matter how irritated you are with the toxic employee, it is never right to talk to him/her when everyone’s around. Converse privately when the person has no commitments after so you both can take your time explaining your sides.
If you can’t find a private, quiet space, it is best to do it in the conference room when no one can overhear. This way, you’re not just showing you’re interested in what he/she has to say but this also proves that you are respectful of his/her privacy.
Speaking of which, being respectful doesn’t mean you need to sugarcoat the issues. Be direct and truthful about it without trying to belittle the other person. Your approach would be highly dependent on the employee’s attitude. Don’t forget to offer a plan to the person as well that lists the steps, moving forward.
Once you put on the table all the things that need improvement, you will just have to watch what the reaction will be. There is no sure way to know how the toxic employee will react with what you said because we all have different personalities.
The individual may deny all the things you said despite the proof you have, may mention other coworkers who he/she said do the same, or worse, may attack you verbally. Because things can escalate easily, especially because you are raising another person’s wrongdoings, you want to talk in private but still near people who are relatively near the room you are in just in case you might need help.
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