Tag Archives | executive mentoring

Difficult employee? Here’s how to manage them…

Do you have a difficult employee that doesn’t do what you ask them to do?

Maybe they’re not returning customer phone calls, not turning up to work on time, or not following company procedures. Behaviour which started as annoying has become untenable.

You’re frustrated and thinking, “I’ve asked them a thousand times! They just don’t care enough.”

Managing a difficult employee can be frustrating, especially when you feel like you’re constantly locking horns.

If you’ve had enough, before taking disciplinary action, ensure that you have communicated effectively what they’re required to do. True communication is what’s been understood, not what you think you’ve said!

Difficult employee, management

There are three reasons an employee may not do what you ask. They are:

  1. They don’t know what to do
  2. They don’t know why it’s important
  3. Yes – you guessed it – they just don’t want to.

Before making the assumption that they’re a difficult employee who just doesn’t care enough to do what you’ve asked, ensure you have given them everything they need to do the task.

Outline what’s required

Make sure the employee knows exactly what you require. You could include a description of the desired result, the best way to do it, the quality you expect, and the timeframe in which you want it done. For example:

“Bob, I’m not sure I communicated correctly what’s required. The end result we need is for the report to contain accurate information under all the headings listed on the contents page. You can get the information from each of the department managers. The report is usually around 20 pages long. We need it to have the formatting detailed in our style guide, and I expect a thorough grammar and spell check. It needs to be completed by 2pm each Monday for me to review before I issue it on Tuesday morning.”

Explain why it’s important

Then explain why it needs to be done the way you’ve asked. You might say:

“It’s important that the contents are the same each week as it provides consistency and allows us to compare the latest weeks’ results against other weeks. Grammar, spelling, and style are all important as it’s a reflection of our standards and professionalism. It must be to me by 2pm Monday or I can’t meet the Board’s deadline.”

The next step is to ensure they’ve understood what you’ve asked them to do, so ask them to repeat it back to you. You could say,

“Just so I can ensure I’ve explained that correctly, can you replay to me what’s required?”

If they leave out anything, such as deadlines, remind them what it is and why it’s important. Ask them if they have any problems doing what you’ve asked:

“Can you see any challenges that might stop that happening?” 

If they say they don’t know how to do something, go over it with them again or make a time to train them. If they need another explanation of what’s required, give one. It’s important that you and your employee are both confident they have all the skills and tools required to do the task.

Now it’s up to them…

Once you have their agreement, let them show you what they can do. If they continue to not do what’s required, you can have a discussion with them along the lines of:

“Bob, last week we discussed in depth what was required, and why it was important, and you committed to doing it, but it hasn’t been done. Can you tell me about that?”

If their reasons are valid, address them and help find solutions. If your employee says, for instance:

“I have two major reports due on the same day, and I’m not getting the information from the managers in time to collate them both by the deadline.”

…discuss with them ways to arrange their priorities to meet both deadlines, or if possible see if one deadline can be changed.

Enforce consequences

If they do what’s asked, they get to keep their job! If they continue to be a difficult employee and give you excuses, let them know that if the task isn’t completed as required next time you’ll have to assume that they just don’t care enough to do it, and you’ll have choice but to take appropriate action (for example, to give them a written warning). And make sure you follow through.

For more help managing your team, download our e-book: The Four Essential Habits of Effective Managers

3 Things You Need To Know About Business Success

Think of the successful business people you know. What makes them successful? Is it their wealth, management ability, respect they get from others, perseverance, determination, or character? People you perceive as successful have something you admire. Perhaps you see similar characteristics in yourself, aspire to have what they have, or want to be like them in some way.

Whatever it is you aspire to, if you want to be successful, there are 3 things you need to know about business success:

  1. Success means something different to everyone
  2. You need to know your values in order to achieve success
  3. Success is a result of the actions you take and choices you make each and every day.

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What is success?

Each person has their own unique set of values and their own definition of success. For some people success means a happy and healthy family; for others it means financial independence; for some it’s quality relationships; and for others it’s about accomplishments.

Achieving what you want in areas you value essentially equates to what success means to you. 

Philosopher Dr John Demartini says to help work out your values, think about what you’d like written on your tombstone – known as your epitaph – a short statement summarising your life. It could be:

  • Loved life
  • Bloomed where he was planted
  • Never gave up
  • Made the best of everything
  • Dedicated her life to others

Interestingly, what you’d like written on your tombstone may not have anything to do with the ideas you have of what success means, such as wealth or health. But having the things you believe define your success, like money and health, allow you to live a life that’s meaningful to you and that’s in line with your values. Financial independence, for example, allows you to give to others when contribution is high on your values list. Health allows you to appreciate the beauty in everything when gratitude is one of your values.

How do you achieve success? 

You achieve success by living your life according to your own values.

Success is a by-product of the actions you take and the choices you make. When you know your values you can prioritise the many possible things that compete for your time. At each and every moment you can identify what is most important to you to do, and define and accept the cost of doing that (yes, there is a trade-off for every choice you make).

Want to train for a half marathon? You may need to go to bed early instead of staying up late watching tv, so you can be up at 5am to run before work.

Want to get a qualification? You may need to enrol in a course and reduce your work hours and income until it’s complete.

Want a more productive team? You might need to learn how to be a better manager. You could choose to read management books instead of novels, meet a mentor instead of a friend for coffee, and attend seminars instead of sporting events.

Those that say business success requires sacrifice usually follow it with a story of someone who achieved it at the expense of their family, friends, or health. Yes, we’ve seen this happen. And we agree that anything you want in life takes effort and involves some sacrifice. The simple fact that there are only 24 hours in each day means that you need to make choices about what’s important to you, and make time for it at the expense of other things you could do.

There’s never enough time to do everything, but when you know your values and stop doing things that aren’t important to you, you make time for things that are.

Does success mean having it all?

Many people believe that balance is the key to living a good life. The idea that you can have equal amounts of time for exercise, relaxation, family, business, spiritual pursuits, innovation, contribution, friends, and fun is wonderful – but not plausible!

At Yellow Coaching, we don’t believe in helping people find balance – but we do believe in helping them understand their values and be at peace with their choices. There is no right or wrong when it comes to values, just choices and consequences.

We ask our clients to list their hierarchy of values from options such as family, health, wealth, lifestyle, life partner, and contribution. We then ask them to assess if how they are currently spending their time is a reflection of those values.

An unfit business owner might list health as number 1, but has not exercised in the last 3 months. An executive may say her children are her main priority, but she doesn’t see them Monday to Friday as she’s at work early each day and home after they are in bed. There is no right or wrong, and no judgement from us! But we do ask them to decide what needs to change – their behaviour so it’s in line with their true values, or how they rank their values at this particular time of their life.

The unfit business owner might choose to prioritise exercise and commit to a program and a goal, or alternatively acknowledge that exercise is not that important to him right now, and he’s okay with the consequences of that.

The executive may choose to commit to a couple of nights a week being home earlier to put the kids to bed, or she could accept that work is her focus right now, and admit that she’s happy with the consequence of that decision.

Whatever they choose, if it’s line with their true values, it will lead them closer to their definition of success and a fulfilling life for them.

At Yellow Coaching, we work holistically with business owners and their teams, and executives and their team members, to find meaning in their work and achieve their goals, both personal and professional. Call us to find out how we can help you and your team.