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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Flipping through a recent edition of The New York Times, I spotted a full-page ad for Wells Fargo. Titled “The Value of Team Member Recognition,” the ad was a message from the bank’s chief executive.
You explain what you want in great detail and then ask, “Do you agree?” But employees resist; they find your bossy tone a turnoff. It’s better to induce compliance rather than demand it.

Turning your back on difficult employees isn't just a management mistake, it can also create legal trouble. That's why, when confronted with employees who don't do what's asked, it's best to devise a strategy for making the best of a potentially explosive situation. Although it may be hard to transform a difficult employee into a warm, friendly ally, you can take the following steps to make it easier for the employee to comply.

Even the feds can’t keep overtime law straight. An arbitrator has ruled that the EEOC—of all agencies!—willfully violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by forcing employees to take comp time instead of overtime pay when they worked more than 40 hours a week. Need more proof that there's an irony epidemic these days? Increasing numbers of lawsuits are being filed against ... lawyers!

Anytime you thrust people together, whether work related or family related, you come across a “toxic taker.” Toxic takers poison your environment, and you need to take action against them. Here are some survival tactics.

You can learn a lot about an employee during the first few weeks. Missing work then probably means attendance will be a problem later. Having stricter rules during the initial probationary period will help you weed out problem employees.

Brad, a manager at a large insurance company in Connecticut, discusses his efforts to motivate entry-level workers.
When workers fear job losses, they may lay low and focus on self-preservation. But you need them to step up and take prudent risks.
Motivating cynics is almost impossible. You may temporarily spur them to try harder or care about their work, but your efforts may soon fizzle.
In survey after survey, the top mistake managers admit to making is waiting too long to deal with underperformers. The urge to look the other way—or assume things will improve on their own—can prove too powerful to resist.