Even if you have a dream team, being an effective manager has its challenges. When you oversee difficult employees, the challenges grow exponentially. In this expert Q&A, Ms. Luba S. Sydor, founder of Person 2 Person, LLC, shares her years of experience managing difficult yet talented employees.
Q: What can you do to navigate the waters with these talented yet difficult employees?
The reality of this topic is that difficult employees suck the life—and time—out of managers. Every workplace has them. They are drama queens, never come to work on time, they invade your personal space, and they eat their favorite hot lunches at their desks. They never refill the coffee pot, they shout on the phone during personal calls, and they complain about every little organizational change. Difficult employees provide an additional set of problems for any manager.
Many employees who are very difficult, however, can also be exceptional contributors. I call them “high maintenance.” Notice I included “talented” in the title, since an employee who’s just plain difficult without being talented should probably be managed out of an organization.
High-maintenance employees are often perceived as demanding, uncooperative, and arrogant. Yet they can be a company´s most creative, driven, innovative, and best-performing workers. Sometimes the same keen intelligence that makes them talented also makes them challenging. Think Steve Jobs and Bill Gates would have been easy to manage? Think again…