How to Deal with Difficult Employees Effectively

Wednesday, 17 August
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Craftsmen are the most valuable asset of construction companies. These hard-working, highly-skilled, and dedicated professionals can achieve some amazing feats when organized properly. Unfortunately, project managers often have to deal with difficult employees that don’t quite meld with the rest of the team. There are several reasons an employee and project manager could butt heads. Instead of writing off these challenging team members right away, there are some strategies you can take to make the most out of the situation.

Speak directly with the employee. 

Effective communication is the cornerstone of any smoothly operating construction team. Relying on hearsay, rumors, or guesses will only lead to more frustration and confusion. The first step project managers should take when dealing with difficult employees is to simply talk with them. Initiating a conversation demonstrates that you – as the leader of the team – have a vested interest in improving their situation. On top of that, it keeps the issues from getting out of control and negatively impacting the team in other ways.

Try to understand their perspective.

When meeting with a challenging employee, it’s important to try to understand their perspective. No matter how unreasonable things might appear, it’s in everybody’s best interest to hear out difficult team members. Employees are more likely to speak openly and honestly when they feel as though their concerns are being heard. The key is to get to the bottom of what might be causing the performance or attitude problem. Keep an open mind and consider their perspective since friction can sometimes point to inefficiencies within your team.

Draw up an actionable game plan.

Once the issue has been extensively fleshed out and understood, you can go about creating a course of action to remedy the problem. This isn’t about bending over backward to accommodate a difficult employee. Instead, it’s about making an earnest attempt to find a solution that leads to a more effective, productive, and efficient team overall.

Give it a little time.

There are countless causes of a difficult employee. Sometimes, the underlying issue is easy to solve and everything can pick up steam once again. Other times, the problems take a little longer to smoothen out. As long as you have a good understanding of the challenging employee’s frustrations and a plan in place to improve their situation, you might want to give things a little time to get better. Frustrated, challenging, or difficult employees rarely resolve their issues within a few days. Patience might just be the final ingredient needed to turn things around for the better.

Know when to pull the plug.

As the project manager, you must decide whether a difficult employee is worth the investment of additional time, resources, and energy. Not everything is smooth sailing after hiring a new employee, but not every candidate can make the cut. Letting go of a relatively green team member can feel like you’re losing money in the hiring process until you consider the total cost of holding onto a difficult employee in the long run. If the problem is too severe to carry on or the employee refuses help, you’re better off looking for alternatives.

Work with an expert staffing agency.

If you’ve noticed a spate of difficult employees lately, it might point to an underlying hiring issue. One of the most challenging yet crucial roles project managers have is finding the right talent to bring on board. Even a minor kink in the hiring process can allow underqualified, poorly matched, or downright challenging employees to slip through the cracks. That’s why more and more project managers are outsourcing their hiring to qualified and skilled staffing experts. These professionals develop uniform and effective hiring processes to match employers with the perfect-fit candidates, limiting the chances of difficult employees.

Having trouble finding the right craftsmen? You’re in the right place! For decades, the staffing experts at Madden Craftsman have helped construction companies around the northwest hire the best-fit craftsmen for the job. Contact us today to learn more about what we offer. Let’s build something together.

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