Dealing With A Tough Employee? Practical Tactical Managerial And Moves To Help You

In every office, there are those employees who believe they have to cause havoc. They are easily recognizable as they are often loud, slow, disrespectful and at times incompetent. Dealing with these employees is always a nightmare but still easy to avoid them. Nevertheless, if you are the manager or work directly with them, it might be difficult to avoid them altogether. Furthermore, for some reason, it’s complicated to get rid of them.


Tough employees have distinct characteristics which you should recognize as early as possible. These characteristics include constant lateness, false complaints, disrespectful behavior, missed deadlines and an excuse for everything. Well, some employees might be facing personal issues or trying to seek attention for underlying problems at the workplace. In this regard, you need to approach the situation keenly to avoid escalating it further. Nevertheless, some people are just born stubborn, and those might need a different cure. Here are some practical managerial moves that you can use to tame stubborn employees at the workplace.

Acknowledge the problem

We say that the first step in solving a problem is recognizing it exists. In most cases, managers just like the other employees tend to ignore the fact that there is an underlying problem. In this regard, they allow the employee to continue with the behavior hoping it will fade away with time. Nevertheless, if the reasons as to why an employee decides to become troublesome are not taken care of, it means that the problem will continue. In this regard, as a manager, you need to recognize the problem for you to plan on how to handle it.

Intervene as early as possible

Once you acknowledge that there is a problem with an employee, do not waste time as this may escalate the issue or allow the employee to influence his/her colleagues negatively. In some cases, the employee might not know that they are a problem in the workplace because most of his/her colleagues ignore his actions. Nevertheless, as a manager, you have to approach them as soon as you have enough evidence that the employee is a problem.

In most cases, employees tend to cope with the tough employee for their good. Furthermore, they might assume the problem because they do not want to be seen as office gossipers. Nevertheless, as a manager, you should gather information from clients and other employees to understand how the employee relates to others when he/she is executing their duties.

Listen to the employee

As mentioned earlier, some employees might be troublesome because they are facing specific personal issues or feel disengaged at the workplace. It is your duty as a manager to listen to the employee and try to resolve their problems. The idea is to show them that you care about their personal life and you do not view them as a working machine.

In regards to engaging employees, you might think that you have everything in check. However, what works for an employee might not work for another. In this regard, find out what they need to execute their duties professionally. You might be surprised that they feel disrespected just because they were given a different sitting position from the one that they preferred. If it’s a personal issue, try to resolve it or give them some time off to take care of it. At the end of the day, it saves the company a lot concerning money lost due to reduced productivity associated with troublesome employees. You might be surprised that promotional gifting can be a problem solver in this kind of situation to some employees even a small gift like a promotional printed pen can go along way.

Help them get back on track

Once you’ve discussed the problem with the employee in detail, make sure they understand the consequences if they continue with the same behavior. Better yet, help them to get back on track by personally checking on their progress and assisting them with whatever they need to get the job done.

In some instances, employees view their managers as personal/career role models and therefore your word as a manager might mean a lot to them. In this regard, try to be polite and professional when dealing with tough employees and you will eventually reap the benefits.