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12 Ways to Deal with Difficult Employees 2023

By Team Edaiva

Last Updated : May 29, 2023

12 Ways to Deal with Difficult Employees 2023

Both at work and in your personal life, there will be difficult employees. You must be aware of the proper techniques to deal with difficult employees. While dealing with challenging situations, it is common to notice that an employer becomes the victim. As a result, these employees frequently leave the firm and regularly speak poorly of both the employer and the company. As a result, working with such challenging personnel requires extra caution and a solid understanding of the exit strategies. We hope that Edaiva's blog post on Best Practices for Handling Difficult Employee Behavior and Conflicts will be helpful to you.

What are the Kinds of Difficult Employees?

Dealing with difficult employees is a common occurrence in both personal and professional settings. It's important to know effective techniques for managing challenging colleagues to avoid negative consequences such as losing employees and damaging the company's reputation. When it comes to the question of how to deal with difficult employees this requires extra care and knowledge of proper exit strategies to minimize any potential negative impacts. Let us go through together to understand the different scenarios of getting a difficult employee.

Scenario 1: Constant Complainer

This employee constantly complains about their job, coworkers, or organizational rules. They regularly express grievances without offering sensible remedies. Their unfavorable attitude might lower morale and reduce output. They are the kind of person that constantly has something negative to say. Even when everything is great, they manage to find the flaws.

Scenario 2: Negligent or Unreliable Employee

This employee constantly falls short of their obligations, skipping over crucial chores or doing mediocre work. They could regularly forget important information, miss deadlines, or need others to cover for them, adding more work for their coworkers and lowering performance.

Scenario 3: Chronic Procrastinator

This employee often puts off finishing projects or meeting deadlines, which annoys and delays their coworkers. They frequently offer justifications for their lack of progress or place the blame on others, which can reduce team productivity and cause bottlenecks. Additionally, these workers make sure that they are wasting time by not working at all, and they wouldn't try to alter their conduct. 

Scenario 4: Toxic Gossipmonger

This employee spreads rumors, participates in gossip, or produces a toxic work atmosphere by sowing discontent among coworkers. Their actions have the potential to destroy relationships, erode trust, and divert attention from the task at hand. Additionally, they see to it that employees of the company they work for make negative remarks about one another behind one another's backs. They not only contribute to a poisonous workplace environment but also ensure that they gain from it.

Scenario 5: Reluctant to Improve

This employee is unwilling to identify or address their flaws or potential development areas. They are also unable to accept constructive feedback. When given feedback, they can become defensive, dismissive, or combative, which would impede their professional growth and the advancement of the team. It will be nearly hard to get that individual to agree to the input even if the manager or someone more senior to that employee attempts to make them comprehend.

12 Practical Ideas for Dealing with Difficult Employees

Dealing with difficult employees in the workplace is undoubtedly difficult. But, if you have faced similar circumstances in the past, you may be familiar with how to handle them. Yet, if you are dealing with a circumstance that has never happened before and is entirely unfamiliar to you, you need to bear in mind a few things and use them to get out of it. Here are some tips for you to consider.

  1. Constructive Criticism: Express precise criticism of harmful behaviors, concentrating on unbiased observations and their results. Employ a positive strategy to assist staff in understanding the areas that want development. Make sure the criticism you offer does not appear to be a burden to them; instead, keep it light and emphasize how you are assisting that individual in becoming better. 
  2. Active Listening: It's critical to actively listen to an employee when they contact an HR manager or executive with an issue or complaint. This entails observing how they communicate both verbally and nonverbally, getting more information from them, and validating their emotions. Building rapport and trust with employee members can facilitate conflict resolution and enhance performance. 
  3. Avoid Complicating Things: Be respectful, professional, and sincere. Let's face it: listening to a lecture when you're stressed out is the last thing you want to do. The outcome will alter if someone is honest with you while making you feel valued. Consider the employees' perspective as you give the message, and be suitable. The outcome will be reinforced favorably without changing the message.
  4. Identify the Root of the Issue: When dealing with problematic personnel, it is hard to develop workable solutions unless you comprehend the root reasons for their behavioral issues. The underlying issue might be a professional one with a clear connection to their coworkers and work environment, or it could be a personal one with no connection at all. It is your duty as a team leader to ascertain what their issue is and then make an effort to address it.
  5. Genuine Care: Show genuine concern for the participants and results. Everyone can tell whether the mediator is sincere if they say they want the best result. Without preparing a response, listen to grasp all requirements and views. Search for the real needs and fundamental issues. After that, skillfully present ideas that will result in a solution based on your best judgment and sincere desire for a successful outcome.
  6. Frequent Training: This can assist employees in acquiring the abilities and attitudes that foster a pleasant work environment. Training sessions on issues like communication, dispute resolution, and harassment prevention should be conducted by HR managers and executives. The organization's and its employees' needs should inform continuing training.
  7. Recognize Interpersonal Effectiveness: HR professionals who are in charge of resolving disputes among employees gain by recognizing interpersonal effectiveness. I would encourage mediators to become aware of the communication barriers that exist in the workplace, attentively listen to all sides, and determine each party's dispute perspective. Following the initial mediation, follow-up assistance makes sure the problem is settled.
  8. Explanation of Outlook and Repurcussions: Work with the person to put in writing the behavioral changes and expectations you would want to see. Create a strategy that outlines the goals, a precise timetable, and regular assessments of their progress. Include the repercussions if they don't adopt these new behavioral patterns. If the repercussions of their actions (or inaction) are made plain, people are more likely to take problems seriously.
  9. Know When to Escalate: If all attempts to address the challenging behavior fail, it may be essential to escalate the situation to higher management or involve HR for additional action, such as disciplinary penalties or termination. When resolving such circumstances, it is important to start by showing empathy. However, if that doesn't work and you observe that the employee is being resistant and won't change their course of action, you should speak with senior management.
  10. Adhere to company policies: The majority of firms have procedures in place that address conflict and how manage challenging circumstances. Before acting, consult the official policy. This offers a suggested line of action and aids in navigating challenging circumstances. Additionally, you'll be able to consult the employee handbook while speaking with your staff members about problems.
  11. Implement a formal performance improvement plan (PIP): This includes the employee's precise objectives, due dates, and expectations. This methodical approach can make it clear what has to be addressed and what will happen if expectations are not met. Additionally, it will be useful in managing challenging workers.
  12. Maintain Incidents and Conversations Record: Maintain complete records of occurrences, talks, and any disciplinary measures taken. Documentation keeps things consistent and clear while also serving as a record for potential future use. You can have all of these conversations by email, but if you need to consider phoning, be sure to preserve a record of it.


To conclude on this topic, all we can recommend you is to be patient and know the policies well. Keep your composure and avoid becoming angry or shouting while dealing with challenging employees or disagreements. This will bring about the conflict's unfavorable aspect. Also, keep in mind that to deal with difficult employee behaviors and conflicts successfully requires having clear policies and processes in place. A happy and productive work environment is facilitated by these policies and procedures, which also encourage uniformity, clarity, compliance, efficiency, and communication. 

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Team Edaiva
"Edaiva Jobs" is an online platform connecting top recruiters, job seekers, and interns. Our aim is to make the job search process hassle-free and seamless for candidates by providing them with a user-friendly platform that offers comprehensive job listings, internship opportunities, and networking tools.
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