smb-tech-trends“Are you sure that’s the right decision?” Have you ever been asked that by one of your small business team? It’s one of the eight sentences that drive bosses crazy writes Geoffrey James in an article of the same name on Others that might ring a bell include “I’ll try to get it done on time” and “Oops, I forgot to tell you about that.”

As James points out, “Being boss is difficult enough without employees adding things that add confusion and misdirection to the process.” His recommendation is to put a stop to the kinds of comments that employees use to make themselves less effective and put more work on you. In response to “Are you sure that’s the right decision,” Geoffrey suggests a simple “yes” stops employees in their tracks and moves the conversation forward.

Even the most talented of employees can be difficult or display inappropriate behavior at times whether they are resisting change, afraid to take on new challenges, caught up in an issue with another team member or being negative.  Whatever the reason, you need to bring the behavior to a halt before it derails your entire team. Here are some recommendations for dealing with difficult employees.

Be direct and assertive: Try to get an understanding of what is causing the problem; but even if you don’t have all the input you need, address the behavior that you find troubling. Keep your emotions in check and keep the conversation non-confrontational. Explain how the behavior or attitude is having an impact on the office. Be specific about what needs to change so there is no question in the mind of your employee about what you expect. Be positive, but discuss what the repercussions are  if things do not change.

Young business team negotiatingAsk for feedback: Don’t try to interpret how an employee is responding to the conversation. Ask for feedback. It also may help you understand why the problem started to begin with.

Keep the conversation private: Conduct the conversation in a private setting – your office or out of the office. You show respect for your employee when you keep the conversation strictly between the two of you.

Have an open door: Your team may be more inclined to talk to you about issues or problems if they know your door is always open and that you are available to talk about problems any time. Let them know that you value a frank conversation and that you welcome them being upfront and honest.

Set an example: Exhibit the kind of positive, can do, results-oriented attitude and behavior that you want from you team.

What have you done to deal with a difficult employee?