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Managing the unmanageable

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Looking to correct a problem employee? Here are four tips:

•  Be reasonable. Are you expecting too much? Are you trying to prove your authority? Ensure that you aren’t part of the problem first.

•  Demand alternatives. If a difficult employee refuses to comply, say “If that doesn’t work for you, come up with a reasonable, workable solution, and bring it to me by _________.”

•  Don’t be bullied. Some workers will push to see how far they can go. If an employee continues to be insubordinate, establish consequences. For example, “I am asking you to _______by _______. You can choose not to follow my directions, but if you go that route, this is what will happen ________.”

•  Write down your expectations. In a formal document, detail ex­­actly what you want the employee to do—or stop doing—and establish goals. That prevents the person from claiming you never set expectations. Have them sign off on it. If they don’t improve, consider termination.

— Adapted from “5 Strategies for Managing Unmanageable Employees,” Jayson Demers, Entrepreneur, www.entrepreneur.com.

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