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Managing the unmanageable

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

Management advice is great in theory, but what if you lead an em­­ployee or two who are just truly hard to manage? In that case, it can be impossible to put all that valuable management advice into action. If you have em­­ployees who won’t let you manage them, follow this advice:

  • Change your mindset. It’s your job to deal with difficult situations and people. That’s why you receive a higher salary. Don’t expect everyone to bend to your will just be­­cause you are the manager. Instead, see opposition from employees as an opportunity to grow as a leader—and prove yourself to them.
  • Put it in perspective. In the grand scheme of things, are the employee’s actions really that bad? Or are you being overly sensitive? If the person questioned you or pointed out your mistake, your ego may have taken a hit, but that doesn’t mean the person is unmanageable. However, if the person is out­­right disrespectful or insubordinate, you must address the situation swiftly.
  • Understand the “why” behind employees’ behavior. Start by thinking about the employee. Has the person always acted like this or did the behavior come on suddenly? Does he or she only butt heads with you, or is it with everyone on the team? Then think about your own be­havior. Is it possible that your actions are triggering the person’s bad behavior? Are you too demanding? Micromanaging? Be willing to take accountability for your own role in the relationship problem and make changes immediately.
  • Determine if the employee is an asset or liability. With enough coaching, training and performance feedback, most employees can change bad behaviors and go on to be valued contributors. Even some slightly difficult employees are worth keeping on because they are exceptional at what they do.

     However, when employees bring more trouble than value to your team, they are a liability. If they refuse to change, it may be time to fire them.

— Adapted from “6 Tips for Managing People Who Are Hard To Manage,” Victor Lipman, Forbes, www.forbes.com.

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