Dealing With Difficult Employees Cal Poly Pomona - Employee Relations Oct. 2006
Focus of This Discussion: Performance Management – How We Do Business Common Errors, Mistakes, and Missteps Preparing for the Discussion Talking to Your Employee “Tough Situations” – What Are they? Respond, Don’t React! Understanding Emotions Set Yourself up for Success!
Performance Management – How We Do Business To Guide Employees toward Best Performance Practices To Help Employees Understand and Achieve Established Work Performance Expectations To Build Solid Working Relationships “Performance Management Improves Performance and Benefits Everyone!”
Performance Management Communicating your Department’s Mission Each Employee Plays a Part in Achieving the Mission Through Task performance, Communication, and Skills Utilization Their development, as well as performance, is a continuous process, requiring on-going feedback Do Not Wait for the Annual Performance Evaluation to give feedback. It should NOT be the only communication the employee receives about their performance or contributions.
Not-so-great MomentsPart 1 HEY BOSS! UH, YEAH?? THAT PROJECT IS NOT GOING TO WORK. WE TRIED IT 10 YEARS AGO AND IT FAILED! IF IT’S NOT BROKE, WHY FIX IT? SO YOU’VE DOOMED IT TO FAILURE? THAT’S JUST TYPICAL. I CAN’T RELY ON YOU FOR ANYTHING!!
Performance Management – Common Errors, Mistakes or Missteps Avoidance - You Do Nothing, perhaps hoping it will go away or resolve itself, but the behavior continues. Procrastination - You Intend to get around to it, but You Don’t. Time slips away and dealing with it is no longer timely, or the problem has gotten worse. You Don’t Know What To Do in a Union Environment; Afraid to Look Silly, So You Don’t Ask You’re Concerned that You Will “Rock the Boat” or that its the “Way Things Have Always Been” You hope the Lead will deal with it, but You’re the Manager! It’s Conflict and it could get Ugly. Why Can’t People Just Do Their Job… Procrastination… “Knowing where you can go wrong will help you avoid the pitfalls”
“Preparing” for the Discussion Be prepared to LISTEN! Focus on the actual job performance &/or behaviors —stick to the facts and what you “know” (avoid rumors or hearsay, verify facts before you meet) Identify—and prepare enough time to focus on the positive attributes of the employee’s performance Identify—and be ready to discuss—the next steps in employee development, whether remedial steps, goals, or growth-type activities If Goals, Development, or Improvement actions were identified previously, be prepared to discuss progress You and Your Employee are “Invested” in the Organization. Make the Investment Work For Both of You!
Not-so-great Moments Part 2 EVERYBODY SAYS YOU HAVE A PROBLEM GETTING ALONG WITH OTHERS, AND YOU ARE LAZY!! WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? I WORK TWICE AS HARD AS EVERYBODY. THEY’RE JUST JEALOUS!! THAT”S NOT WHAT I HEAR. I NEED TO GO TO A MEETING NOW…
The most effective improvement plans are those in which both supervisor and employee share ownership. Talking to Your Employee Tell the truth, in a respectful but direct manner. Remember to focus on the actual job-related issues and behavior based on data, or what you “know” Do not attack the employee’s character under ANY circumstances. Always maintain Mutual Respect. For each issue, solicit the employee’s ideas about how to adjust and improve—but also have a plan of your own Ensure you communicate clearly what the expectations are, what the employee needs to do, specify timeframe, how it will be measured and how you will support/aid the effort
When It Gets Hot—Respond, Don’t React! Lack of Accountability or Denial: Lack of Accountability or Denial takes many forms: “I should not be expected to do that,” “well, I’m better than so-and-so,” “I didn’t get trained well,” among others excuses Keep the focus on the employee and department requirements, and keep “returning the ball to their court.” I have made clear what the department expectations are, and you are expected to comply with them. The answers to each of the denial statements above are: You are being evaluated based on the classification standards for your position and your performance, and not against other employees. If you believe you are not adequately trained to perform a task, you can always come to me and express your concern.
When It Gets Hot—Respond, Don’t React! The Angry Employee – Blames or Attacks Stay Focused, Do Not Let It Get Personal Refer Discussion Back to the Facts, Remind the employee that you have a plan for the employee to improve The Disagreeable Employee - Argumentative Disagreeing can be healthy; respect differences of opinion, but stay on Topic Disrespecting you is NOT healthy. IF the conversation gets “ugly” stay calm and focused, but firmly let the employee know that unprofessional behavior will not be tolerated.
When It Gets Hot—Respond, Don’t React! The Whiner - Finds fault in Everything Listen, acknowledge, paraphrase Avoid accusation-defense-accusation Ask specific Q’s Engage them in possible Solutions The Pessimist - It won’t work Don’t Offer Solutions until the Problem has been thoroughly discussed When Discussing alternatives, Ask Q’s Be Prepared to Give Clear and Specific Instructions
When It Gets Hot—Respond, Don’t React! The Know-It-All – The Expert on Everything Listen & Paraphrase Do your homework: they want answers Don’t Challenge Their Expertise Don’t Overgeneralize Watch Out for your Own Know-It-All responses The Bomb – Loses control & Temper Tantrums Allow venting, but move to Problem-Solving Set Respectful Boundaries Show that you take Them and their Concerns Seriously Use Active Listening
When It Gets Hot—Respond, Don’t React! The Clam – No reply, grunts, just ‘Yes” or “No” Ask Open-Ended Q’s Wait for response: don’t fill the silence Comment on What’s Happening in the Interaction Be patient Allow Plenty of Time The Dawdler – Indecisive, stalls, procrastinates Listen for Issues-Engage them in Problem-Solving Don’t Take on Their Problems Yourself Concentrate on Examining the Facts Give Support for Any Decision They Offer Clarify Who’s Responsible for What
Understanding Emotions Recognize that People have Different Motivations, Needs, Styles, & Fears Anger & Control Understand that Stress and Fear lead to anger He Who Angers Me Controls Me We cannot be in Control when Angry He Who’s In Control Wins Mutual Respect If people Perceive that Others Do Not Respect them, the conversation Become Unsafe and Ends Watch for defensiveness, highly charged, fear turns to anger, pouting, name-calling, yelling, and threats. Do Others Believe that You Respect Them?
Much Better Moments Between You and Your Employees! …I”VE ANSWERED ALL OF YOUR CONCERNS, AND WE BOTH AGREE ON THIS ACTION PLAN. NOW IT IS UP TO YOU TO CARRY IT OUT… WELL, IT SURE SOUNDS LIKE IT WILL WORK. I’LL TRY. I APPRECIATE THAT YOU TOOK THE TIME AND YOUR SUPPORT I KNOW YOU CAN SUCCEED. LET ME KNOW HOW I CAN HELP! I LOVE THIS JOB!!!