Handling Difficult Personalities and Behaviors in the Workplace

Administrative Assistant Resource
April 5, 2013 — 2,774 views  
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As much as you would like to do away with it, the problem of difficult employees with behavioral issues is something that every professional has to deal with. The problem is that these behavioral issues are not apparent to the casual observer. So, you cannot take action straightway. Then, there’s the issue of professionalism and a certain code of conduct that you need to maintain even while dealing with unsavory issues like these. Here are a few tips to help you deal with these employee issues in the workplace.

Try to Solve Issues Unofficially

Once the behavioral and personality issues reach a certain threshold, you cannot ignore it anymore. Instead of making the issue a big deal, try to talk to the person at an informal level, maybe over lunch or a coffee break. Don’t accuse him but bring up the issue in such a way that it sounds like a minor inconvenience. You will be surprised to know that more than 60% of these issues can be resolved by this kind of an approach.

Avoid Confrontations

In case the informal approach does not work, you will have to take up the issue on an official level. At the same time, you have the organization’s reputation to think about as well. So avoid confrontations with the difficult employee in public places. It will not only embarrass the employee but also your reputation as a professional at the administrative level. Call him/her for a discreet meeting. Try to keep the issue under wraps and only you and the other people who are dealing with the issue should know about it.

Get To the Point and Highlight the Problems Being Caused

There is no point in making the talk rosy for the employee. Get to the point straightway and put forward the issues. Also, make sure you bring up the problems being caused by their difficult personality or behavior, not only to the other employees, but to the organization as well. Tell the difficult employee that unless he/she rectifies these issues, there will be serious consequences. At the same time, ask another person to highlight what type of behavior is expected of the employee in another subsequent meeting. This routine is psychologically effective. It will solve the problem more than 95% of the time.

Take Help from the Higher Echelon of the Management

In case all these approaches do not work, you have no option but to bring this to the notice of the upper echelons in the management. In case you have recommendations like shifting the employee to another team or having another discussion with him/her, make sure you communicate it to the higher level of management. Based on your feedback, and if required with your opinion, they will come to a certain decision.

The bottom line is that you must understand that behavioral issues are not criminal in nature, but at the same time, cannot be ignored. Try as much as you can to help the employee, but if he/she is beyond help, don’t beat yourself up for the consequences that befall him/her. After all, you tried your best. There was nothing more you could have done. 

Administrative Assistant Resource