Relationship management includes "getting things done through
employees." Most employee problems involve attitude or performance. The
motivation behind many problems include the relationship structure of employees,
management and culture.
Few employees choose or want to be perceived as
difficult by their
colleagues, human resources staff or management .
Employee problems include:
Employee considers workplace to
be unsafe or hazardous
Workplace may be uncomfortable or difficult
Employee's health may respond to real or perceived hazards
Acceptable past performance did not increase or lessened
Skills may be more appropriate for a different position or task
Employees lack clear, detailed instructions
Employee lacks needed supervision and may not know what to do
Aberrant performance may indicate mental impairment
Employees believes that high
performance is not achievable
Employee believes that work conditions
Limiting beliefs cause insecurity which deteriorates performance
values do not match those of the work team
Employee's cultural values
are not appropriate for the organization
personality may not be appropriate for a task
Manager and employee have incompatible personalities
Employee is are emotionally immature and act irresponsibly
immature employee cannot control strong emotional reactions
An employee is not accepted by a workgroup or team
cannot adjust to the workplace or corporate culture
faith or religion restricts certain actions
Dealing with employees is an important management function
and a key responsibility of both management and human resources staff. Successful managers
and HR staff
can diagnose, evaluate
and solve employee problems.
Most organizations have some difficult employees
- including problem managers. A good manager can help a problem employee develop
adequate skills, transfer to another location, find professional help, or
get appropriate coaching. Difficult managers may require mentorship or
in Upper Management .
Manage Families in Organizations
Manage Conflict in Organizations .
Entrepreneurial Management in a Bank
Employee Mental Health
Mental health problems are often responses to unhealthy
family relationships. Many employees bring their disappointments and
unfulfilled relationships to the workplace, unconsciously trying to use the
managers and co-workers to resolve family issues. The higher the
responsibilities of the employee - the more likely that an employee's mental
health issues will disrupt an organization.
Employee behaviors such as irritability, chronic lateness
or poor judgment may be linked to mental health. A negative, moody, rude or
arrogant attitude may be legitimate reasons for investigating an employee's
mental health. Severe mood swings, anxiety attacks, substance abuse,
symptoms of schizophrenia or chronic depression require investigation.
. Suicide .
Mental health guidelines:
- Many mental health problems are treatable and, if
treated, cause only temporary disruption.
- Managers who can recognize mental health problems help
employees get needed care and help protect a company from legal
- Create a policy for employees who claim a mental health
- If an employee claims a mental health disability, get
professional legal and medical advice.
Aggressive and Violent Employees
If employees are aggressive and/or violent, there are
heavy consequences of workplace violence for these employees, their
colleagues and their managers.
Often the key issue is a systemic disturbance called "victim
identification". An aggressive employee may have identified with a
perceived victim, either at home or at work, and expresses anger FOR
that victim. Following a lay-off, for example, some employees may
express deep anger FOR those employees who are perceived as victims.
The symptoms are often easy to perceive. Most people
suffering from victim
identification are generally suspicious and seem to enjoy annoying,
tormenting or attacking anybody who can be labeled "victimizer". This
label may include managers and Human Resources staff.
Such violence may be diagnosed as a symptom of
victim identified people can stop their simmering anger, although most
violence may remain in the person's fantasies or be expressed as petty
vandalism. Systemic coaching facilitates a rapid resolution for
identified employees who want to change, and understanding and
forgiveness from the work group.
Prevent Employee Problems
Guidelines for preventing employee problems:
- Relationship diagnosis as a pre-hiring
- Provide orientation for new employees
- Clarify expectations with job descriptions and an
- Describe appropriate conduct and unacceptable behavior
- Train managers to recognize and evaluate employee
- Provide performance reviews
- Document functions and performance history
- Investigate grievances
- Apply fair and objective discipline
- Discharge inadequate employees
Diagnose Employee Problems
Simple discussions may dissolve simple problems. Chronic
behavior or performance problems usually require more attention. Some
questions about common employee problems are:
- Poor performance
Does the employee lack essential skills? What affects performance? Are
there standards or goals by which employee performance can be assessed?
Is the employee generally disorganized? Would coaching or additional
training be useful?
- Work incompatibility
Are the employee's
skills and preferences compatible with their assigned tasks or regular
duties? Is additional training or reassignment appropriate?
Absences - late arrivals, long lunches, and early departures ... Is an employee only occasionally late. Is
important? If lateness is a chronic problem, discuss the potential
consequences with the employee.
- Disruptive or difficult
What is the real problem? Has the employee "space" to express feelings and
Remain positive and focus on the employee's contribution
to the company. Provide constructive feedback.
Evaluate Employee Problems
The following questions help evaluate the
seriousness of an offense and an appropriate response:
- Was the employee informed of the rules?
- Are the rules really rules - or are they just
- Do the rules support an efficient and safe
- Do the rules require reasonably expected employee
- Did an investigation determine whether the employee
violated the rules?
- Did an investigation include the employee's story?
- Did an investigation show that the employee acted
- Was the investigation fair and objective?
- Is this rule applied to all employees in the same way?
- Are there mitigating factors that might justify or
Solve Employee Problems
Most employees want to succeed and want to co-operate with
their managers, supervisors and co-workers, and most problems can be solved
with ignoring, coaching, or mentoring. Unmotivated or uncooperative
employees can disrupt a workplace or an organization. There are four main
approaches to problem-solving problem employees - ignore,
coach, mentor and discipline.
- Ignore is usually better for minor first-time
infractions, especially if the employee is made aware that the manager knows
about the offense. Most employees avoid becoming frequent offenders.
- Coach is useful for important first-time
infractions and for performance problems with entry-level or
non-professional employees. A manager works one-on-one with problem
employees or assigns another employee to work with the employee to overcome
shortcomings. The coach should provide the employee with feedback and
solutions for improving their performance. Systemic Coaching can quickly
change an employee's behavior.
- Mentor is more appropriate for senior or professional
staff. Instead of providing
demonstration and feedback on specific skills, a manager or
designated person can demonstrate and provide feedback on integrity, on
creating an appropriate
attitude for the person's position and organizational culture.
- Discipline may consist of written warnings,
reassignment to other duties or dismissal. Discipline is more appropriate
for serious infractions and chronic problems, such as if policies or important
rules are ignored.