5 Tips for Managing People Who Are Difficult to Manage

Sometimes the most valuable employees, are the most difficult to manage. Managers who develop positive working relationships with such employees, save themselves from potential conflict, and help ensure the employee fulfils their role in the most constructive way.

The Chartered Institute for Management published advice on how best to manage individuals who are seemingly impossible to manage.  Based on their advice, we offer 5 tips that may help you succeed with your most difficult staff.

1. Listen, acknowledge and act

When in doubt, you can always fall back on this handy management mantra: Listen, acknowledge, and act.  Each element has an important role in mitigating conflict and resolving issues in a positive way.  If the employee hasn’t come to you with a problem, but one clearly exists, seek them out so you are able to listen.  Then acknowledge their concerns and validate their feelings. Use speech such as, ‘If this is what happened, I can see why it made you upset. Let me look into it and we can talk later.’ You do not need to accept blame at this stage.  Simply listen, acknowledge them and stay calm.

If the conversation seems to be going around in circles, find a way to politely end it. If you are emotional, sleep on it and decide what action should be taken the next day.

2. Don’t take it personally or get personal

Difficult work situations are rarely about you personally, it is usually about the situation. It is important not to allow an altercation to become personal (on either side) as it makes finding a solution almost impossible. If it starts to get personal, say something like, ‘Let’s stop here and speak again later.  It is important that we keep things professional.’

3. Always consider cultural differences

We often place candidates at companies that are not in their home country. Different cultures express themselves in different ways, and while an experienced recruitment firm can help get things off to a good start, it is ultimately up to the manager to take cultural differences into account. As a rule of thumb, consider cultural differences before jumping to conclusions and possibly making the situation worse. If you are unsure, speak to your HR team.  And always use organisational policies to help support your actions.

4. Changing body language

The mind and the body are physically locked. When people are angry, you often see them rooted to the spot. To maintain concentration on their feelings, they actually become stuck in one physical position. If you are able to get them to change that position, it will change the way they think. It can ‘unstick’ their thinking. Suggest going out to get a coffee or going for a walk outside.

5. Know the ‘rules’ in your company

Every company has its own policies, both formal and informal rules, and an office culture. It is important that you learn and abide by them. A manager is judged not only on their own performance, but also on how they get the best out of others, within the rules.

About Oliver Parks

Oliver Parks offers search-based recruitment solutions to the technology sector, specialising in the ERP, CRM, CMS, ECM and Business Intelligence spaces. The firm’s multilingual consultants operate in narrowly-defined niche market segments, enabling them to gain extensive knowledge of the people and companies operating in each technology.  Oliver Parks has a proven track-record with more than 100,000 candidates worldwide and more than 300 clients globally.  For more information, please email: info@oliverparks.com