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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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.


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?
Nearly every manager’s day includes a little bad news. The real test is how you respond. Overreaction works against you. Losing your composure is even worse. Learn to control your response.
In a booming economy, you can afford to show patience with new hires. Today, however, newcomers need to hit the ground running and produce value from Day One.
If you manage shift workers during evening or night shifts, you should take steps to enhance your employees' health.
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.
What would be the nicest and easiest way of telling an employee that we do not want to hire her daughter. We have used her daughter for several temp jobs in the past. She was OK, but we never would have hired her for a full-time job. This employee acts like it's our responsibility to keep her daughter employed every time a position becomes available in our admin department.—Tina, Tennessee

True or false: Employees are either creative or they’re not—creativity isn’t a skill you can teach. False. Managers can play a key role in creating an environment in which employees will want to look for new ideas. Share this article with your supervisors to help tap employee creativity.

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