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It’s inevitable. At some point during your career as a manager, you’ll have to deal with a difficult employee…perhaps even a few. Whether they’re constantly late, have a negative attitude, or are underperforming, it can be a challenge.

The good news is that as one of Staunton’s leading staffing agencies, Adams & Garth knows there are a few steps you can take to help you navigate your way through the situation. Here’s a look at 5 of them:

#1: Identify the problem.

Whether it’s with attitude or performance, your employee isn’t meeting expectations. Your first step in dealing with the problem is to get specific. Rather than focusing on your frustration and how the employee is making you feel, concentrate on the facts. Define the problem, the impact it’s having, and the behavior or results you’d like to see instead.

Also, consider your role in the situation. For instance, if your employee is having a performance problem, could it be due to a lack of training or feedback? Likewise, don’t depend on third party accounts of problem situations. Instead, try to observe the issue first hand and collect only facts.

#2: Discuss the issue.

Your next step should be to confront the problem and discuss the situation with your employee. Make sure you do so in a private manner during a time when you can give your employee your full attention. When you do, focus on the results and behavior, not on attacking the person.

Also, don’t do all the talking; ask questions so you can understand the employee’s side of the situation. Your goal here is to find out the source of the behavior at issue.

#3: Work toward a solution together.

You won’t have a full understanding of the big picture until you’ve spoken with your employee. But once you do, you can work together to develop a productive solution. Be clear about what improvement looks like so you and your employee are the same page. Also, make sure you talk about consequences, whether it’s a formal warning or possible termination, if the situation doesn’t change.

#4: Document everything.

Whenever you have an issue with an employee, you need to document it. If you have to eventually let them go, you’ll have the evidence to back you up should they file a legal claim. Even if you believe your employee has a good chance of improving, documentation is still key. Hopefully, you won’t need it; but if you do, you’ll be glad it’s available.

#5: Follow up.

You identified the problem, confronted your employee and came up with an agreed upon solution. Now what? Make sure you follow up. If you see signs of improvement, then commend your employee. If you don’t, then continually remind them of your expectations and take necessary steps to hold them accountable.

Need to fill an empty seat on your team?

Call the experts at Adams & Garth. As one of Staunton’s leading staffing agencies, we can take the hassle out of hiring for you – and find hard-working, skilled candidates – so you can focus on other priorities. Contact Adams & Garth today to learn more.

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