Seven Tips for Communicating with Problem Employees

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					Seven Tips for Communicating with
       Problem Employees

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         Impact Learning Systems International
                    P.O. Box 14110
              San Luis Obispo, CA 93406

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                 Voice: 805.781.3283
                  Fax: 805.545.9075

 Seven Tips for Communicating with
  Problem Employees

             hether you’re a manager, supervisor, or trainer, one of the inevitable aspects of your job is
             the need to deal firmly and fairly with problem employees. Just as there are a number of
             reasons why an employee can become a problem—bad attitude, inability to do what’s
required, unresponsiveness to feedback on performance, and so on—there are various ways to handle
the issues and the employees who create them. Following are seven tips to keep in mind

1. Deal with the issue right away.
    If you delay your response or ignore the issue altogether, you may look weak and ineffective. You’ll
    also send a message to other employees that they too can get away with inappropriate behavior.

2. Stay calm and poised.
    Because you’re the one in the position of power, you’ll set the tone of the discussion. Always
    maintain a professional demeanor and convey the message, “This isn’t working. How can we fix it?”

3. Allow the employee to vent.
    Just as you would an upset customer, give the employee a few moments to air his or her grievances.
    Sometimes this venting is exactly what a person needs to do before calming down and discussing
    the issue more rationally.

4. Empathize.
    Let an upset or disgruntled employee know that you’re aware he or she has strong feelings about
    the issue and that you’re interested in helping the employee to resolve them. Empathizing is not the
    same thing as agreeing. It just lets people feel heard and acknowledged.

5. Focus on the issue, not the person.
    No matter how strongly you believe that the employee’s behavior or attitude is at the root of the
    problem, don’t make the issue a personal one. You want to communicate that you are for the
    employee but against the behavior.

6. Always give the employee an out.
    It will only further upset employees if they feel that they’re being backed up against a wall. When
    working to resolve an issue, be sure to give the employee an opportunity to choose the correct
    outcome of the discussion.

© 2010 Impact Learning Systems International                                 1
7. Focus on a solution.
    When emotions are running high, it’s all too easy to get stuck in a continuous cycle of discussing the
    problem. Once the issue has been clearly identified, move the discussion forward by focusing on
    ways to resolve it.

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© 2010 Impact Learning Systems International                                 2