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…

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 [...]
Two of our employees—a married couple—for years have requested extra unpaid time off for vacations. The husband works for me, the wife works for the company owner. We recently notified all employees that we would no longer grant any additional time off. I’ve made it clear to the husband that he won’t get any additional time off. The owner, on the other hand, sees no problem with giving both of them unpaid leave this year, even while other employees have to live with the new rule. How should I handle this?—J.L., Wisc.

Human resources professionals know the importance of evenhanded discipline. But other managers may not be so careful, often preferring to issue casual and informal warnings that aren’t recorded anywhere, only to insist on more severe sanctions when they perceive employees crossing some indefinite line. When that happens, you run a real risk of facing a disparate treatment lawsuit.

 

If you want to lift everyone's performance, get your staffers to think like sophisticated strategists. Talk together about what the future may hold--and how your organization can prepare.
To encourage his employees to think creatively, James Stern didn’t bring in high-priced consultants or invest in expensive retreats. Instead, he stated a simple goal that everyone could understand.
Your employee, Jason, exhibits strong performance in most areas. But he neglects one of his key job duties. How can you avoid terminating him without letting him off the hook?