Dealing with Difficult Colleagues as a Manager – What Should you Do?

Being a manager, and heading a team is not an easy task. This is because, the act of people management does not come easily to anyone and everyone. And when it comes to dealing with difficult employees, needless to say that the task is even more cumbersome.

Senior level professionals who have to indulge in people management, often finds it difficult to carry out the task with ease. People management is a challenging task and a manager or a leader, always have to be on his or her toes while it comes to this kind of a task.

Managers need to understand that a negative employee is not just a problem between them and that employee. The air of dissent affects everyone who’s around it.

Even though dealing with “problem employees” isn’t a favourite task for most managers, it’s part of the job. You will have to deal with the employee, and better sooner than later.

Easier said than done, right? Here are some guidelines that can help you handle the situation in a more diplomatic and effective way.

#1. Listening

Listening properly helps in sorting many problems in life. The same is applicable in terms of people management at workplace as well. As a leader or a manager one has to have patience and the ability to be able to listen to his teammates. Often when an employee is difficult to handle, we tend to overlook it and simply do not pay any attention. However, that is not how people management works. One has to have the insight to be able to change the situation in a positive way and thereby offer a solution.

This way, it will be much easier to be able to change the situation. A leader must always make sure that he or she chooses to listen first and then reply. They know their best shot at improving the situation lies in having the clearest possible understanding of the situation – including knowing the tough employee’s point of view.

#2. Give clear feedback/ don’t reprimand

Most managers will end up complaining about difficult employees. These things happen when somehow managers end up missing out on proper people management skills. However, managers should learn how to be able to give proper and constructive feedback. Yes, giving tough feedback is one of the most uncomfortable things a manager has to do.  But great managers learn to do to it reasonably well, and then they do it.

Understand that, dealing with difficult colleagues or co-workers is challenging and one needs to have excellent people management skills for the same.


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