By Cal Butera
There is no shortage of pet peeves. We all have them. And, as managers, we have a list (or perhaps a staff full) of them.
Yes, these are irritating employee types. These are employees who have done nothing egregious enough to get fired. They just make your days seem a bit longer, and your job just that much harder.
Don’t let a challenging employee infect your entire workgroup.
Got any of these in the office?
1. The Timekeeper. She knows what time everyone arrives and when they start work in earnest. She knows when they leave at the end of the day, when they scoot out for lunch and return. She knows how many times Eddie steps out for a smoke (six; 10 when the weather’s nice) and how long they last (nine minutes). That’s nearly an hour’s worth of breaks on the foul-weather days; an hour and a half when the days are pleasant. You can be sure she shares the data with her co-workers, but when she lets you know about it, she’s crossed the “annoying” line.
2. Mr. Motormouth. He spots you walking toward your office and accompanies you to your door and blabs about stuff he thinks you want to hear: his kid, his car, his weekend, the Mets. It’s harmless blathering, but you’ve got work to do and so does he. When he pops into your office at random times to bloviate, he starts to stick in your craw. The strange thing about him, though: He doesn’t say anything in the staff meetings.
Managers: Do you (unintentionally) enable employees by rewarding negative behaviors? Managers must effectively deal with Challenging Employees.
3. My Little Toddler. Also known as the high maintenance employee. She performs well and aims to please, but not without a lot of care and feeding. She’s in your office. A lot. She wants guidance, assurance, clarification. She challenges policies, points out flaws, is free with opinion. If you want her to do the job right, then “listen to me.” She’s draining. Like your kid, you’re cutting the crust off her peanut butter sandwich and making sure the right colored straw is planted in her chocolate milk. One of these per office is enough.
4. The Stop Sign. He knows his job description and won’t veer off it, no matter how busy your organization gets. He gets his tasks done, but won’t do anything extra. And certainly you can’t add to his load. “Hold it right there,” he says. “You put something on my plate, now take something off.” Voluntarily help someone else? No time. His day is carefully calibrated to accomplish his duties and nothing more.
5. The Redwood. Similar to Deadwood (an employee who doesn’t accomplish much), the redwood has been around for a long time at your organization and there’s just no cutting him down. He’s beloved by those who have the power to get rid of you. He came with the job, has been there as long as the stairwell and you’ve got to deal with him. He’s set in his ways, won’t go any faster, and Excel … what’s that? You fantasize about a retirement party.
Managing & Motivating the most Challenging Employee Types
Some of your employees may require more “managing” than others. Some might enjoy pushing the limits, while others seem totally clueless about the problems they cause.
From emotional drama queens to lazy slackers, all of these aggravating folks can be considered “Challenging Employees” – people who consume an inordinate amount of your time and energy but are not really bad enough to fire.
Tolerating these harmful behaviors is definitely NOT the best solution.