Hello and welcome to this week’s piece of peace, your weekly dose of motivation and inspiration. This week I would like to share with you on the topic “Tips of managing difficult people”.
I was talking to a friend who runs a management consultancy, which trains people on how to run and manage an efficient workforce. He advised that a lot of managers are struggling to cope with the employees they manage and as a consequence, a lot of good people get fired because of a lack of understanding of how to effectively deal with people.
The conversation got me thinking about how many other people in workplace environments are struggling to deal with people. I did a little bit of research about the topic and came across some very interesting articles on this issue. So how do you manage this challenging subset of the broader employee population?
Personalities being variable, individuals need to be managed individually, but there’s still general guidance that can be provided. In that spirit, here are 5 tips for managing people who are hard to manage which are shared by Management expert Victor lipman.
Accept that management is an inherently complex and difficult job – Don’t fight it. Don’t waste time and valuable mental energy wishing it weren’t so. Recognize that frustrations and difficult situations go with the territory of management. That’s why you’re being compensated more than if you weren’t in management. Approach delicate employee “issues” positively, like an intriguing puzzle to solve.
Don’t avoid or bulldoze conflict, but deal with it directly and evenhandedly – Conflict is the currency of management. If you abhor conflict, management likely isn’t the right job for you. The best managers aren’t “conflict avoiders,” but neither do they pull rank and roll right over others when conflicts occurs. Remember, you’re going to have to continue work with these same people in the future. Best to look for fair constructive resolutions, not simply “getting your way.”
Try to see things through the eyes of others – Easier said than done, I know. But there may be reasons why a certain person is hard to manage. Has he or she always been this way, or may new external factors be contributing? Is there anything in your own management style (hard to imagine, I know!) that could be triggering an oppositional response? There were times, for example, I was unnecessarily micromanaging people and was completely unaware I was doing it… until it was (entirely accurately) pointed out to me. If you can look at a problematic situation holistically and gain insights into why someone is acting the way he or she is, that can lead you to a constructive solution.
Get help when you need to – This is an easy step, but often neglected. If you work in an organization of any size, help is everywhere. Get perspective on a difficult employee from someone whose judgment you trust. This could be anyone: a Human Resources contact, a mentor, your own manager, a colleague. During my years in management I went to all of these people at different times to seek opinions when employee issues arose. It isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s sensible judgment. I found Human Resources especially helpful and made a point of establishing close working relationships with individuals – regardless of rank – who I felt were especially capable. I never for a moment regretted it.
Set clear measurable job objectives so it’s a matter of fact, not debate, whether or not your employees have reached their performance targets – I often write about the importance of objectives in the management process, but that’s only because I feel well-conceived targets are so valuable and so neglected. Why would you not want to have crystal-clear goals that you and your employees could refer to often to make sure they’re on track? It makes evaluating performance more concrete and less nebulous. When a problematic employee isn’t achieving goals, you have something totally tangible to discuss. I’d always rather argue data than opinion.
Be yourself, because everyone else is taken.