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…

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You can sow seeds of loyalty with your stars if you create a work environment that stimulates them, says Terry Bacon, author of The Elements of Power.
You're busy—too busy for small talk. You're friendly enough with employees, but you prefer to stick to business and steer clear of chitchat about weekend plans or personal news. Yet managers who share stories about their families or hobbies forge a special bond.
It would be nice if all employees came to work on time, performed efficiently and pleasantly, and were thankful for their paycheck. But employers know that employees sometimes fall far short of your hopes. Here are the steps to work through as you decide how to proceed:
When Vineet Nayar became president of HCL Technologies in 2005, the company’s growth had slowed. As the board asked Nayar to step into a leadership role, it made it clear: The time had come for something radical. These days, Nayar is that rare breed of leader who actually puts employee engagement first. Why does he do it?
My company gives awards (bonus checks) to employees who have worked five, 10, 15 and 20 years. In the past we've gone from inviting the entire company to an annual dinner where those being honored were presented their checks to only the honorees and their supervisors attending the dinner. This year, we're considering cutting back even more. I'd like to learn how other companies honor their long-standing employees.—Terri
Question: "I’m the president of a growing company and I need help with personal stuff. I don't have time to wait on the phone for two hours with the water company. However, I don't mind paying my assistant to do the same. She is getting paid for her time to help me out. I think assistants who won't help out with the personal stuff probably already have attitudes that bosses don't like. I never make my people make me coffee or clean my office. But I do need help with bills and things like that. What is the problem?"  - Billy
We just interviewed a candidate who would be a great addition to our call center staff. He has the experience, and most important, seems to have the personality for the job. Only one problem: He has one of those piercings next to his eyebrow. I don’t care, and his potential supervisor doesn’t care, but I’m pretty sure our president will not like it one bit. He’s pretty conservative, and so is our company generally. My question is, who should I talk to about this—the guy we want to hire (tell him to lose the eyebrow thing) or the president (tell him to loosen up)?—Diedre, Neb.
When faced with a poor-performing or disruptive employee, it’s easy for supervisors to play the wait-and-see game and simply hope the situation will improve. But problems rarely solve themselves. And that’s especially true with problem employees. The best method? Meet with employees right when you spot problem behavior or performance—don’t wait.
You know what you expect from your employees. But do they know what you expect from them?
Q. What lessons should employers take from the Supreme Court’s decision in City of Ontario v. Quon? That’s the case about the texting police officer. We want to ban personal texting at work.
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