People Management

With some employees, it isn’t a matter of ability, it’s a matter of attitude. And while you can’t control someone’s horrible personality, you can decide how you’re going to respond. Use these scripts and strategies to confront problem employees and effectively manage employee discipline so you can bring motivating back to the forefront of your workday.

The first rule of people management is not to let one bad apple spoil your whole bunch. Difficult people can put a strain on the productive members of your team.

Make the most of your human capital. Browse our articles on the good, the bad and the ugly of People Management…

We're looking to create an incentive plan for all rank-and-file employees who bring in leads that help us land new business. (That's already part of our sales force's job, so they would be excluded.) What kind of incentives work best? I'm assuming cash is popular—so how much? How should we track our incentive program?—Bill M., Las Vegas
Got a morale problem? You may get lucky if it dissipates quickly and a brighter outlook prevails. But don’t count on it.
Raise accountability by asking “one year from now” questions.
In your eagerness to sell your idea to your staffers, you list reason after reason to build a convincing, airtight case. The only problem? You talked too much.
You work with another manager, Margaret, who doesn’t carry her load. She tends to kill time, procrastinate and operate at about 70 percent productivity ...
As our company’s only HR staff person, I’m in an awkward situation. My immediate supervisor reprimanded me for the way I handled a recent change in our working hours. Employees were confused, so I sent e-mails to various managers seeking the correct information. That exposed some serious disagreements between the managers and executives about the new hours. My boss said I should not have been so public about it, and then wrote me up for this alleged “infraction.” I think I handled it correctly and want the reprimand removed from my file. What should I do? I’m afraid the company president will take my supervisor’s side.—No name, no location (because I need this job)
True or false: Employees are either creative or they’re not—creativity isn’t a skill you can teach. The answer: False. Some employees are more naturally creative than others. But managers can play a key role in creating an environment in which employees will want to look for new ideas.

Sometimes, it takes a new manager or supervisor to see how poorly an employee is performing. If an employee who has been getting good reviews suddenly appears to slump under new leadership, don’t jump the gun and discipline the employee right away. Here’s a better approach ...

I have two part-time security guards working at the same location. One of them works four nights a week; the other works three nights a week. We need security coverage at this site seven nights a week, 365 nights a year. How do I handle giving them the "holiday" time off they're entitled to if someone has to be there all the time?—Lisa D.
With some employees, the problem isn’t a matter of ability, it’s a matter of attitude. This can manifest itself in everything from quiet disobedience to outright insubordination. How should you respond? Rather than becoming entangled in a debate about the employee’s dysfunctional attitude, address the situation strictly as a behavioral problem. That way, it’s not [...]