Take off Career

Mastering Leadership: Dealing with Difficult Employees

Dealing with Difficult Employees

As a leader in any organization, it’s inevitable that at some point, you will have to deal with difficult employees. These employees can be challenging to manage, and if not handled properly, they can become problematic.

Being able to handle these situations effectively and efficiently is crucial to maintaining a productive and healthy work environment.

Sharpening Leadership Skills

The first step to dealing with difficult employees is to sharpen your leadership skills. As a leader, it is your responsibility to lead by example, to provide guidance and mentorship to your team.

You need to be a strong leader, one who can inspire and motivate your team to achieve success. One of the key skills in leadership is the ability to communicate effectively.

As a leader, you need to set expectations and communicate your pet peeves. Be clear about what you expect from your employees, what behaviors are acceptable, and what will not be tolerated.

Conversely, you should also make it clear what your employees can expect from you as their leader.

Maintaining Control

It’s essential to maintain control of the situation when dealing with difficult employees. This means staying calm and composed, even in the face of frustration.

Do not let your emotions get the best of you. Instead, take a breath, stay focused, and stay in control.

When dealing with difficult employees, it’s vital to identify the problem. Isolate the source of frustration and address the pitfalls.

Sometimes, the problem may be with the employee, while other times, it could be a result of a communication breakdown or a lack of resources. Identify the root cause, and work towards a solution.

Finding Solutions

Once you have identified the problem, you need to find a solution. The first step is to utilize the employee’s strengths.

Every employee has their strong suits, and as a leader, it’s your job to identify them and make the most of them. Find a way to utilize their skills and talents to benefit the organization.

Find common ground with the employee. Try to find similarities and connect with them on a personal level.

Sometimes, difficult employees may feel isolated or disconnected from the team. Building a rapport with them can help alleviate this feeling and create a more productive work environment.

While dealing with difficult employees, it’s essential to maintain professionalism. Stay positive and approachable, even when facing challenging situations.

Being friendly can go a long way in building trust and fostering a healthy work environment.

Changing Perspective

Sometimes, dealing with a difficult employee requires a change in perspective. If you find yourself unable to connect with the employee or unable to find a solution, it might be time to change your attitude.

Adapt to the situation, and try to look at things from a different perspective. Changing your perspective can help you find creative solutions to challenging problems.


Dealing with difficult employees can be challenging, but it’s an essential part of being a leader. By sharpening your leadership skills, maintaining control, identifying the problem, finding solutions, and changing perspectives, you can create a positive work environment and build a team that’s motivated and productive.

Remember to be approachable, maintain professionalism, and always stay positive. By doing so, you can be a successful leader, even in the face of difficult situations.

Escalating the Issue

Dealing with a difficult employee may require you to escalate the issue to a higher authority. This should be the last resort, but it may be necessary for the sake of maintaining a healthy work environment and ensuring productivity.

In this section, we will cover the steps you can take when escalating an issue with a difficult employee.

Gathering Evidence

The first step in escalating an issue with a difficult employee is to gather evidence. Document specific examples of the employee’s behavior that is causing problems.

Be sure to gather proof in case there is a dispute later. This documentation should include dates, times, and a detailed description of the behavior.

You may also want to consider gathering witness statements from other employees who have witnessed the behavior. Gathering evidence is crucial because it allows you to present a clear and concise picture of the employee’s behavior when you escalate the issue.

It also helps to avoid any misunderstandings or miscommunications that may arise.

Seeking Assistance

The next step is to seek assistance. This can mean bringing the issue to your boss or another higher authority in the organization.

It may also involve involving HR personnel. When you bring the issue to your boss or another higher authority, you’ll need to present the evidence you’ve gathered.

Be sure to be clear and concise about the employee’s behavior and how it’s affecting the work environment. You’ll also need to provide recommendations for solutions to the problem.

Similarly, if you involve HR personnel, provide them with as much evidence as possible, including any witness accounts. HR will likely conduct an investigation and may call upon the employee in question to explain their behavior.

Being Mindful of Consequences

Before escalating an issue with a difficult employee, it’s essential to be mindful of the potential consequences. One of the most significant consequences could be the effect on the employee’s career.

This means that before escalating the issue, you should try to resolve the problem through direct communication with the employee. Only if that fails should you resort to escalation.

While it may be difficult to confront a difficult employee directly, it’s the best way to avoid escalating the issue. If you decide to escalate, be sure to follow company procedures and act in good faith.


Dealing with difficult employees can be challenging, but it’s essential for maintaining a healthy work environment. Escalating an issue should be the last resort, but sometimes it’s necessary.

When escalating, it’s important to gather evidence and seek assistance. But before doing so, be mindful of the potential consequences, including the impact on the employee’s career.

By being proactive and following company procedures, you can effectively manage difficult employees and maintain a productive work environment. Dealing with difficult employees is an essential part of being a leader, and it requires excellent leadership skills, clear communication, and maintaining control.

When dealing with a difficult employee, it’s essential to utilize their strengths, find common ground, maintain professionalism, and potentially change your perspective. However, sometimes the situation may require escalation, which means gathering evidence, seeking assistance, and being mindful of the potential consequences.

By following these steps, you can effectively manage difficult employees and maintain a productive work environment. The takeaway is that being proactive in managing difficult employees is critical, and with the right approach, you can build a strong and productive team.

Popular Posts