If you ask a bunch of managers to tell you about their employees, they would inevitably tell about at least one employee who is abominable – simply put ‘a pain in the xxx’. This is almost an inevitable part of the professional life of a manager. They (toxic employees) come in all forms – the rumor monger, the helpless gossiper, the relentless bully, the laid back slacker and many more. They are not just annoying; they can be downright destructive to your team or your entire workforce.
The unfortunate thing is that managers can only spend a limited amount of time micromanaging them, or handling their shenanigans. If you’d ask them– they’ll tell you they have often been on the verge of letting them go, but some professional consideration let them hold back on their guns at the last moment.
So, let us talk about 5 effective measures that smart managers take up, when it comes to handling toxic employees, try for a turnaround and retain them in the organization. These measures are excellent ways for managers to stop themselves (or the organization) getting sucked in an endless vortex of frustration and disagreeable productivity. Also, that inept employee may not be a rotten apple after all. Working towards retaining a challenging employee in the long run might be worth the effort.
5 Top Measures to Handle Toxic Employees in Your Organization
- Listen: ‘Hopeless case’, would you say and dismiss the idea of paying attention to the employee who, you think, has no potential of productivity? Yes, we tend to get irritated with the sheer hopelessness, and we already end up having a certain judgment or mindset for the employee – so we’d turn our attention to other things, a combination of self-perseverance and avoidance. However, the best managers are just the opposite – they would typically attend to the employee who isn’t doing well. Listening always improves the situation, and helps you understand the real concern behind the problem. The real problem could not be the employee’s fault, or you probably could have a differently acting employee once he/she has got your attention and feel heard.
- Provide Behavioral and Clear Feedback: There are numerous examples of managers spending months complaining about the employee’s foul behavior, low productivity or lack thereof without giving them real feedback of what they can do to change the situation. Yes, giving tough feedback may be uncomfortable for the manager – but there are two key benefits to the approach: it lowers the defensiveness of the person, and gives them specific information on where they can improve and change.
- Set Consequences: Nothing happening out of all the counseling? Give them specific deadlines. Use words such as, ‘I am sure you’re capable of improving, and you can…however, if you don’t show improvement by XYZ then here’s what will happen (not promoted/you’ll be let go etc.). The problem employee needs to know that his inactions will have a negative impact.
- Work Through The Process: A good manager will wait till the last moment when he/she decides to let the employee go. The manager will have dotted all the I’s and crossed all the T’s till they come to the absolute decision, and would then discuss with the HR department about the impending termination, and do all that is needed to clear and ease the termination process.
- Don’t Poison the Well and Be Courageous: If you’re a good manager, bad-mouthing about the inept employee is a complete no-no! No matter how difficult the employee might be, good managers never trash-talk about them. This will lead to an environment of back-stabbing and distrust, and would pollute the perception of the person, making it look very unprofessional. It is also very important that you be courageous when it comes to firing the employees. It is hard, but also extremely important to do it right and impeccably.
There are some ways to set the records straight, and the ‘good manager’ approach is never too difficult to implement. If you want to set positive behavior standards and work successfully towards handling difficult employees, join a Live Webinar on Wednesday, April 13, 2016 by expert speaker Carol Hacker, titled “How to Stop Toxic Employees from Side-Tracking your Company”. Learn how to set the standards for positive behavior and work toward retaining the “challenging employees” who in the long run, are worth the effort. You’ll get dozens of practical tips for addressing specific problems that you can put to use immediately!