5 Nightmare Employees And How You Can Effectively Deal With Them

johny_deff / Pixabay

johny_deff / Pixabay

There’s no such thing as a perfect employee. Everybody has their own quirks and flaws. However, in spite of all of this, most people are able to come to work and execute their duties without significant problems. Then there are the 5 nightmare employees that will become the bane of your existence. Here they are, along with tips for dealing with them.

The Complainer

At first, you might actually like the complainer. Many of them start of slowly and subtly by pointing things out that truly are remiss and should be dealt with. Unfortunately, once their initial complaints are validated, things begin to snowball. Occasional, valid complaints turn into a daily onslaught of whining. Things get even worse if the complainer gets it into their head that they will earn favor with you by downgrading their co-workers. Then, you’re dealing with a tattle tale as well as a complainer.

Here’s What You Can do:

Shut them down quickly and bluntly. Let them know in no uncertain terms that their incessant complaining is having a negative impact on the employer/employee relationship. Then tell them that complaints about their coworkers are getting them nowhere. Finally, instruct them to save all complaints that are not related to safety and legal matters.

The Brilliant Yet Socially Stunted

Brilliant employees who are slightly odd or off kilter, often have great senses of humor and can be great coworkers and subordinates. Then there are the brilliant employees who are simply socially stunted to the extent that they don’t pick up on basic social skills, say and do things that are off putting, and often have a tenuous relationship with personal hygiene. Brilliance aside, it can be hard to keep people like that on your team, especially if they are creeping out their coworkers.

Here’s What You Can do:

Begin by taking an honest assessment of the situation. First, is there any chance that the employee can be redirected? Some people with problems understanding social cues or that their appearance or hygiene is disturbing others, will change if they are told directly what the problem is. You may have to be very specific though. For example, it may not be enough to say “Bob, I need you to pay a little more attention to your appearance.” You may have to say “Bob, I need you to start showering before you come to work, to begin using deodorant daily, and to wear clothes that are freshly laundered.” The same goes with inappropriate remarks. If they can’t be redirected, telecommuting should be considered as an option. After that termination might be the only choice.

The Entitled

You can thank the self-esteem movement and helicopter parenting if you find that you are dealing with more entitled employees these days. The entitled employee expects accolades and awards for doing the basics of their jobs. They want to move up in the company quickly, simply because that’s what they want, not because they’ve done anything to earn that. Unfortunately, for many of these folks, that’s what they’ve been raised to expect. Even worse, when they don’t receive the praise and promotions that they think they are entitled to, they become absolutely miserable to deal with. In fact, it’s not unheard of for the entitled to become the complainer. It’s also not uncommon for the entitled and the complainer to bond.

Here’s What You Can do:

Arrange a meeting with the entitled employee as quickly as you can. Communicate with your worker as clearly as you are able that when they meet expectations, they aren’t doing anything worthy of praise. They are simply conducting the duties that are required for them to remain employed. Then, give them some concrete examples of things they could be doing to impress you and their coworkers. However, temper that with the information that they need to exceed expectations consistently and meet other benchmarks before they will be entitled to rewards or advancement.

The Pot Stirrer

Unfortunately, the pot stirrer can cause a lot of havoc and damage before you realize that they are a problem. The pot stirrer deliberately says and does things to create drama and infighting. For example, they will twist their coworkers words when passing them on to others in order to create conflict. They will also say  hurtful things to others under the guise of being helpful. The pot stirrer damages morale and can make a once positive work environment absolutely  miserable. Unfortunately, they are also usually quite socially adept. This means that they often develop friends and allies who truly believe that the pot stirrer is simply out to stop others from being ‘mean’.

Here’s What You Can do:

Get rid of them if you can. This is a personality issue and can rarely be fixed.  If you are not in an employment at will state, you are in a tough position. Pot stirrers know how to do the things they do without violating policy. If this is the case, begin by documenting every little thing that you can, even the smallest infractions. Then, make it clear to your other employees that you put absolutely no stock into the words of the pot stirrer and neither should they. Also, communicate to the pot stirrer that you know what they are doing, and that you believe they are contributing to a poor work environment which could lead to a  lack of productivity. The combination of threatened future employment and lack of joy from their behavior will get the drama creating worker to stop their behavior or move on to another hapless employer.

The Rebel

The rebel skirts policies and procedures, and pushes boundaries of what is acceptable to the limit. They walk into meetings late, leave early, don’t do the paperwork required of them, and for some reason love to find ways to butt up against the company dress code. In some cases, their coworkers resent them, because they feel as if they are taking advantage and getting away with things. In other cases, they can be influential enough that they begin creating other rebels.

Here’s What You Can do:

Be honest with yourself Does the rebel have a point. Do you have policies in place that are simply no longer effective? Does that dress code make good business sense anymore? Is the mandatory paperwork useful, or does it just add more busy work? Is the rebel somebody with a lot of talent who feels hindered by policies and rules, or do they simply believe the rules don’t apply to them? If they feel like the rules don’t apply to them, it may be time to up your enforcement of policy on everybody in your organization. This keeps them in line while also removing any rationale that they may have about uneven enforcement on your part. If you find that the rebel does have a point, let them know that you will consider changes, but that they need to go through you rather than going rogue.


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