Coping With Difficult Employees in the Workplace: Here’s How

An IT workplace should be ideal for promoting a harmonious relationship among employees. However, there are times that no matter how great the rules in the workplace are and how stellar the employees’ qualifications are, there is always at least one who is difficult to deal with. Although they may perform their daily duties, it’s still a challenge to manage them effectively.

Difficult employees to deal with may include an employee who is never around or someone who bullies his colleagues. Yes, employees may differ in personality traits, which can impact the company’s work results.

When there is an employee that is difficult to deal with in the workplace, it can cause decreased productivity, increased stress, negative effects on reputation, and possible expenses on replacing staff.

How to deal with difficult employees

Whenever there is a problematic employee, the best thing to do is address the issue promptly and efficiently. Here are some ways to do that:

Give clear feedback

Giving honest feedback can be a challenging task; however, this is crucial. Make sure to provide clean and specific points of the negative behavior. Let the employee know why the behavior is inappropriate. Help them know how such behavior can be changed to improve work performance.

Criticize the behavior, not the person

When talking to the employee, make sure not to make the conversation too personal. Aim to come up with a solution to the problem and not to worsen confrontation. Focus on the undesirable action instead of attacking the person.

Have documentation of the employee’s problematic behavior

Managers should document every employee’s inappropriate behavior so that they will have a record for proper monitoring. This will also protect the company in case they need to terminate the employee.

Have a joint effort towards a better solution

Both employer and employees need to work together to come up with an efficient solution in developing a more harmonious working relationship in the workplace. Let the negative behavior be discussed properly so that the appropriate actions will be implemented. The employee must also be aware of his/her specific negative behavior, and a chance must be given to improve.

Have comprehensive monitoring of the progress

An integral part of the coping process with difficult employees is to give them time to correct and improve their behavior. Make sure to monitor the progress of the improvement so that issues and positive changes are evaluated. After a specific timeline of observation, have a thorough in-person evaluation to discuss the employee’s improvement progress.

Recognize the employee’s effort to change and improve

Dealing with difficult employees can be both daunting and rewarding. An employee may comply promptly but can also struggle to change the behavior. When managers see that employees are trying to improve their behaviors and start coping well with the other organization members, such efforts must be recognized.


It’s very common for a workplace to encounter an employee who’s difficult to cope with. Thankfully, some ways and strategies can help to improve any negative behavior in the workplace. All these will create and promote better management to improve productivity, boost the morale of employees, and foster an environment where everyone’s happy to work with each other.

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