Four Tips for Coaching Difficult Employees

Four Tips for Coaching Difficult Employees image happyflaghappyflagIn Part of any staff manager’s job is to work on their employee’s job success. When the employee is resistant to training or change, then what? Here are four tips to help managers get their most difficult employees on the right track towards satisfaction and success.

  1. Use facts and concrete information versus subjective conversation, such as judging situations as good, bad or otherwise. Discussing attitude can be subjective to employees. While the employee might think their attitude is fine or even great, if you tell them their attitude is poor, their morale will sink quicker than you can say “incentives!”
  2. Do your homework. There is a reason behind the employee’s difficult behavior. Before you approach them, see if you can find out what is behind their problem. Are they not getting along with a colleague in their department? Is there another manager making their job harder for them to perform? What could be standing in their way?
  3. Remember this statement: applaud performance in public, correct performance behind closed doors. Nothing is more discouraging than having peers hear a manager tell a colleague they made a mistake or caused a negative situation with a customer. If you need to discuss employee behavior with the group to teach a lesson, discuss it in generic terms, not specific to any one person or situation. And give accolades when they are deserved, whether it’s in person or in a meeting.
  4. Keep your door open. If your staff knows you are available to talk about problems any time, barring meetings of course, the team will be more apt to speak with you. Make sure from Day One of the employee’s tenure that they know they can come in and sit down with you and have a frank conversation, and that there is nothing threatening about being honest.

Your job is to help your staff be successful. You trained them, you have invested precious time and company resources into their increased performance skills—it is in your hands to continue the momentum toward success.

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