How to manage difficult staff

In an ideal world, every employee would be hardworking, proactive and make a great contribution to your business. However, there are occasions when you may need to manage difficult staff and give them a push in the right director to ensure they step up their game.

Having a problematic individual can affect morale & productivity of the the whole team. To help you, we have outlined the steps you can take to effectively manage difficult staff.

  1. Address the problem

Don’t ignore it and hope that the situation will improve on its own. If left too long, their behaviour could have a long-term, negative lasting effect on the whole team.

What’s more, if left unresolved, their attitude will set a bad example to other employees who may start to act the same. You want to avoid others thinking if this person can get away with it, then so can I.

There is likely a cause behind their negative behaviour. Your difficult employee might just need some extra training, a bit of support or some help. Tackling the problem head on means that you can rest assured that you did everything in your power to make the situation right.

  1. Make a plan

Start by having a chat to the employee to find out what the main problem is, this will hopefully help you understand what the problem is and what needs addressing.

You need to come up with a plan of action. There are many options like choosing a training course to support the employee, and to learn the skills that perhaps they are lacking or struggling with.

However, if the problem is beyond this – you might need to consider giving the employee a disciplinary. It’s essential that you get HR involved or seek external advice, to ensure you follow the correct procedure.

  1. Document everything

Rather than letting each incident slip to the back of your mid, you need to document all issues and of course any improvement / progress. This will give you concrete evidence, should you need to take things further if they do not improve or improve to the required standard, plus this can remain on file.

  1. Let them speak

Give your employee the chance to explain why they are making these mistakes or behaving in the way they are. It might be that their workload is too heavy, or they weren’t aware of the deadlines. It could be person reasons or problems at home.

  1. Always be consistent

You must be consistent with your expectations. You can’t be relaxed of some some deadlines and strict on others. Your staff need to know exactly where they stand and what is expected of them.

Also, don’t let some employees get away with certain things that others can’t. This will send out the wrong message and cause distrust & resentment within your team.


Remember, you shouldn’t let one member of your team compromise the workplace dynamic or have a negative effect on morale!

I hope you found our latest blog useful 😊

All the best,

Steve Wyeth