If you’re just tuning in, I’ve been teaching an MBA course on Managing Difficult Employees and gave these “students” (read that, really smart working millennials with big jobs in our nation’s capital) “homework” to developing an approach to manage their difficult employee and to journal about it. If you missed Monday’s post, best to start there.
I asked these “students” to share what they learned most from their experience. Their list is a powerful start. I’m excited for you to add your best thinking.
- Don’t ignore it. I know, I know… this seems SO obvious, but I’ve got to tell you 97% of the stories started with that strategy. Be honest with yourself. What really difficult employees (up, down and sideways) are you ignoring, or staying away from in hopes that the problem will take care of itself?
- Try something. I had to laugh at how many students shared, “and then you made me… and it worked!” Bottom line, no grades were given for action, just analysis. No “making” just “challenging.” Where do you need to be challenged to address the situation?
- Look within. At the end of the day, the deepest discovery for many of the students was that they were part of the problem. I was impressed to see so many sharing “and then I became a difficult employee because…”
- Understand their point of view. It’s amazing how the perspective changes from another person’s cube. Go there, listen and hang out a while.
- Get to know them as human beings. No really. I mean it, even if they’re really jerky. This was one of the number one strategies and it changed the game.
- Stand-up for what’s right. These guys and gals put bullies in their place, and had their bosses reconsider. Don’t take crap. People treat you how you let them.
- If it’s really stupid get HR involved. Your boss can’t smack you, or demean you, or hide vital information. If it’s really stupid, write it down and get the right people involved. That works too.