How to Fix 5 Difficult Employee Archetypes

By Edward Tan, JD on June 27, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Corporate counsels know how challenging managing people can be. Humans all have their own quirks. Some are good, and some can bring your production to a standstill. So figuring out how to fix difficult employees is often the key to keeping your office running smooth.

But where do you begin? Should you refer them to HR or just can them altogether? As tempting and easy as those options are, learning to handle tough staffers is a skill that every manager needs.

Here are some ways to motivate five notoriously difficult types of employees.

1) The Bad Attitude

He doesn't listen. He talks smack about you and the company, and his work is barely passable. He's every in house's nightmare.

While you can try to put the fear of God into him, a better plan might be to inspire him instead. Bad attitudes often stem from a lack of morale. Praise these workers for the things they do well. A good manager is like a good general. They know that the best work comes from employees who respect their superiors.

2) The Daydreamer

This employee can't get enough of Facebook, online surfing and gazing at his cubicle wall. His work is good, but just way too slow.

Fixing this type takes a big time investment. But a good first step is scheduling regular meetings to go over their work. Daydreamers usually aren't bad workers. They're just bad with deadlines. So knowing what you always expect from them can sometimes bring them in line.

3) The Speedster

This employee pumps out work faster than anyone. The catch is that it's riddled with little mistakes.

Simply telling them to slow down isn't enough. Instead, let them know that slower work is okay and that they can do it without repercussion. And once they get the quality down, then they can ramp it up.

4) The Talker

While friendly office banter helps to keep morale up, too much is just plain annoying. Whether they're jabbering about their problems or their weekend, this employee can't stop speaking.

Fight the urge to tell them to shut up. You don't want to turn them into a bad attitude employee. Instead, offer your support and try to inspire them to follow your own stoic example. You can also refer them to outside help if their need to talk is psychologically rooted.

5) The Perpetually Tardy

Figuring out how to fix late employees is difficult. You can suggest they set extra alarms or threatened to fire them. But a simple solution is to require them to arrive 10 minutes before their usual start time. They may eventually begin to falter by a few minutes, but the earlier start should make up for it.

Related Resources:

Copied to clipboard