Applicable Strategies for Working with Difficult and Diverse Employees
Management is far from easy, and it is not supposed to be in the first place. The modern workplace puts more power in employee’s hands, giving them leverage to influence the direction of the company and challenge their employers on certain decisions. The open office environment means you must be more adept than ever when engaging your employees. Misunderstandings and conflicts will happen, which is why managers must understand the rules that govern employee interaction today. Here are several tips on resolving conflicts and problematic relationships with employees.
Professionals who specialize in workplace harmony and employee relationships recommend engaging solutions for managers. When it comes to managing difficult employees, managers must use a modern approach to diffusing intense situations and establishing mutual understanding. Management techniques must accommodate the challenges of having a diverse workplace as well — due to more employees coming from South America, Europe, and Asia than ever.
No matter the cause, using your ears is an essential step to resolving an issue. You must know how to evaluate the situation, ask questions, and listen to what the other party has to say. A person may act up because they feel antagonized or unwelcome – this can be due to the workplace environment or the treatment they receive from other employees. If you listen actively, you can understand what has been bothering the employee and formulate ways to resolve their concerns.
If you observe an employee being unproductive or obstructive, it is necessary to have an upfront conservation about the issue. Reporting the problem to other departments without directly meeting the person will not solve it, and this may even cause more serious trust issues to develop. Simply talking to the employee in person can help everyone and build trust between both sides.
While providing feedback is difficult in the modern work environment, it is still valuable and important in helping an employee evaluate themselves. You must make the effort to maneuver around workplace obstacles and establish a method of communication with all employees. Giving praise, criticism, or just feedback in general is all an employee needs to stay motivated and feel respected.
Work conflicts are different from ones in the family or personal setting. Personalizing any issues can lead to disaster. Keep things professional when confronting an employee by focusing on the issues you see instead of ones conjured in your mind. If meetings are missed, work assignments are not submitted on time, and performance is not up to par, work out these issues without attacking their personal character. Whether you like or dislike someone, you are working with them anyway, so it is important to make the relationship productive.
Evaluating a person based on the surface can be risky. In a professional work setting, it is not recommended for managers to make personnel decisions based on initial judgments. Sometimes, people act the way they do as a response to a specific situation or ongoing issue. An employee may dislike teamwork because they fear they may end up disappointing others. Other individuals may start to fall behind in work performance only because they seek a better challenge or additional opportunities.
When employees begin to show signs of discontent, you need to find the root cause of the problem and determine the appropriate solutions. You can assign more challenging and self-fulfilling duties to employees who want to feel more valuable to the team. If you cannot assign them the appropriate role, you must be ready to let them go. As a manager, you must support an employee’s growth, even if it means that growth continues outside of your team.
The office is more international and multicultural today than it was decades ago. This can extend the challenges of managing problematic employees. An individual from a culture that encourages direct communication may find it difficult to interact with another one who was brought up to communicate more implicitly.
The company culture can also be fragmented among employees. Sub-groups or circles may develop, which can affect how employees collaborate with each other. When a new manager takes over a team, there can be misplaced expectations from both sides. You must spend time to understand your employees and the cultures they come from. This doesn’t mean you have to go online and research business culture in their country, but continually ask them if they’re comfortable about certain duties, ideas, and workplace practices.
When you become a manager, you can expect to make difficult choices. These can include hiring new employees, giving promotions, or letting some team members go. The latter decision is the toughest, especially when you are evaluating an employee’s value to the company. While most managers want to avoid having to make this decision, it is important in establishing your position and conveying your expectations to the rest of the team.
If you have to let an employee go, do so in the most fair, peaceful, and ethical manner. If you are not 100 percent clear, research your company’s termination policy and read about national labor laws. You want to end things promptly and peacefully to ensure there is good understanding from both sides.
Make great use of these strategies and apply them in your own way. By understanding the employee’s perspective and asserting your role as a responsible manager, you will experience less stress and headaches when managing a team.
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