Skip links

How to Manage Difficult But Talented Employees by managing egos in the workplace and Chaos Coming in Between Successful Delivery?

“He is very talented but, he can be quite difficult to handle.” For a very long time, I had heard this statement from a lot of leaders and managers, and could not comprehend what they meant to say. However, there came a time when I understood this statement. I was heading a team, which already had a team leader, which meant I was to head the leadership as well. This, however, did not go down well with the team lead, and he started causing problems and issues. I was at my wit’s end by the end of the first week of the project, as we had not even started off with the project, and were facing conflicts.

That weekend, while sitting in the reading room of my house, I realized I have to do something about it. I can’t take the tantrums anymore but, I can’t cause any hurt either. I will have to tackle it as subtly and carefully as possible. I chalked out a plan for the entire project, brainstormed my ideas with a few friends, and on Monday, I decided to execute my plan of handling this guy.

It did not work out immediately but, with some firm stances and decisions, I made through the project on time, and the team lead who was acting difficult also came around by the end of it. Here are a few things that should help you in case you are stuck in a similar situation. It is not a cake walk but, you will have to try these tactics as many times as possible to win over the situation.

So, are you ready to hear points of wisdom that I am ready to share with you?

⇛ Communication is the key

Before beginning the job or project, sit down with the person in question, and talk to him/her about their attitude and how it can cause problems. If the project is already going on, and the problems have been occurring for a while, make sure you detail out the problems they are causing and how it can hinder the end-result. Make them understand why the company is bigger than their individual attitude or ego.

This was the first step I took the day after the weekend got over. I talked to the team lead, and told him how I understand his plight and situation but, showing attitude and trying to disrupt work cannot be tolerated. If he wants to prove himself or wants to get his position, he will have to earn it. I was understanding but firm with him. I even told him the consequences of not cooperating with the team. With a good long discussion, wherein I heard his point of view, we came to a mutual agreement with regards to the roles and responsibilities.

⇛ Challenge them on the job

People with egos need to be challenged in order to get them working. The idea is to utilize their full potential and make them involved in the entire job. For instance, the person I was finding difficult to work with was an able manager and he could get the team to complete tasks within the timeline mentioned. I allowed him to micromanage the tasks and even empowered him to get things done. I was involved with the major management, and I told him that together we would get the things done. If he ever had issues, he could come to me, else he has the power to sort things out. I simply needed weekly reports from him on the progress. When this was established, it became easier for the two of us to work together.

⇛ Evaluate with precision

You need to evaluate the work of this person in concern with precision and provide accurate feedback. Be direct about how you feel with the person. You should ideally conduct monthly, quarterly or yearly feedback sessions with the person. If you want them to improve at certain levels, make sure you communicate it to them during these feedback sessions. Don’t just tell them where they are going wrong; tell them how they can correct themselves, and how best they should handle the situation.

⇛ Document everything

When you are handling a difficult person, make sure you document every conversation and meeting you have with the person. This will help you understand the goals that you have given them and how much of it they have managed to achieve. It will also help you track their progress. The idea is to assess if the difficult person has managed to undergo some changes with time.

⇛ Tell them what you won’t tolerate

There are people who will procrastinate and others have an ego. You will need to make sure you create the boundaries and have a strategy defined for the difficult person. You should tell them what you won’t tolerate right at the start. Motivate them when necessary and tell them off when they have done something intolerable by you or the team.

Summing up

It is not easy to work with someone who is acting difficult but, you need to make sure you understand why they are doing so. Sit down with them and understand their previous experience, background and mindset before you move ahead with the actual project execution.

If you have trouble managing your team or find that the difficult person is not easy to tackle, be a part of my army building program. Schedule a meeting with me or a phone call today. I will not just help you understand the issues, but also offer a strategy that will keep you and your team motivated through the various projects.



Leave a comment