6 Ways to Cope With Disruptive Employees

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Every manager wants to cultivate a productive workplace, but if you have a disruptive employee, this can feel impossible, no matter how hard you try. There are many reasons an employee can become disruptive. They may not feel challenged. They might have issues with other employees. But whatever the reasons, you must know how to deal with them professionally and effectively. 

Listen to Them 

Before marching into their office and causing a scene, any decent manager understands that it is crucial to speak to your disruptive employee before attempting anything else. Often, the employee just wants to be heard, and so sitting down opposite them and asking them about their behavior and performance could help you get to the bottom of any issues. 

This will give them the chance to speak honestly with you and will allow them to speak candidly. You may be able to get to the bottom of any issues before the problem gets worse, and you may be able to solve everything without resorting to more severe measures.  

Know Problematic Signs 

It is also useful to know which problematic signs you need to look for. Knowing these signs after undergoing reasonable suspicion training will enable you to identify what the problem could be, and also allow you to approach the employee in the right way. 

These signs can range from lethargy to being distracted. Your employee may also demonstrate personality changes and they are all signs of problematic signs. While substance abuse, such as drugs or alcohol, are not always the answer, and these changes can come from issues in their personal life, you should also look for signs that your employee may be breaching your company’s code of conduct. 

Treat Them Like an Adult

If you want results, you need to know how a manager should speak to their employees, show them respect, and treat them like an adult. You don’t want to blow up in front of other staff members, and you don’t want to come across like you are attacking your employee. 

Therefore, you must understand the correct approach. Make them feel comfortable, and avoid any outright accusations or blame, at least at first, before moving on to other measures. 

Be Professional 

Professionalism is crucial when dealing with a disruptive employee, and you are likely to be the sole professional party in this interaction. Your disruptive employee may try to get a rise out of you and show you show respect, which may undermine your authority. While it is easy to lose your temper in these scenarios, you must do what you can to avoid it. 

If your employee tries to undermine you, it’s vital to remind them of the possible consequences. You may choose to do this in private or in front of your team, depending on when the incidents occur. This is arguably the most important moment for you to be professional. You want to make the consequences clear without making the issues even worse than they already are. This is only possible by maintaining professionalism. 

Keep Records 

There is the chance that your interactions with your disruptive employee will go further than mere office problems. If you need to take things further, you must make sure to keep records of everything. Noting down the details of every incident will make your position stronger should it go to HR. You will have the information of every infraction, including the date and time, as well as possible witnesses. 

Some cases may come down to a You said, They said, issue, and by including as much information as possible, your arguments will be more convincing. 

Follow The Correct Processes 

The correct processes are an essential element of overcoming and coping with a disruptive employee. Every company has specific outlines that ensure you go by the book when dealing with problems. 

By following these processes, you put yourself in a comfortable position to prevent any issues cropping up later down the line. This could be the difference between getting rid of your disruptive employee easily and needing to deal with payments, including a substantial severance package, which they may not be entitled to depending on the details of their contract. 

Overcoming Problems 

Being able to navigate and overcome problems is the hallmark of a good manager. While you hope that you get along with all of your employees and never encounter any issues, there is no guarantee of this happening. As long as you know how to deal with the worst, you can maintain the productivity and good nature of your workplace. 

 

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Jennifer Evans
President, @B2BNewsnetwork (launched Nov 2014). Content, community and analytics obsessed. Inventor @squeezecmm. Past chair, @itac_online @whiteribbon