Got Problem Employees?

It’s a common story — “I have an employee who is so good at what he does, but people can’t stand to work with him.”  I’ve heard this over and over.  And usually, the manager or business owner is at his wit’s end.  He doesn’t want to fire the person, but it’s taking too much of his time to manage the chaos caused by this employee.

What’s a manager to do????

I’ve had the pleasure of working with dozens of such cases in the past several years, and I’ve found a few common characteristics:

1.  These problem people often don’t realize they are a problem.

2.  They would “do better” if they understood what “doing better” meant.

3.  They are eager to learn and practice new skills if they are taught in a way that makes sense to them.

If you’ve ever watched “The Big Bang Theory” on television (one of my favorite shows), think about the character, Sheldon.  Sheldon is a physicist, Ph.D., braniac, etc.  He has absolutely no concept of people interaction, tact, or diplomacy.  He sees everything as a science problem — fact based and solvable with logic.  This makes perfect sense—to Sheldon.  To others around him, not so much.

Now, Sheldon is the extreme.  Most people I deal with have at least a little inkling of the value of interfacing effectively with people.  They simply haven’t learned how to do it yet or don’t realize they have the problem to start with. 

I coached one such person, a woman, who was amazed to learn through her 360 review that her colleagues didn’t like her.  She kept insisting that she was doing a good job, she handled their every request promptly and was careful to be accurate in all things.  As long as she thought her co-workers were criticizing her output, she couldn’t hear anything else.  So, I walked her through the outstanding ratings she had received on her review for tasks she performed.  I validated that for her so that she could relax and hear the rest of the story.  It was her “delivery” that was lacking, not the accuracy.  Once she got that and learned some tools to help her deliver more appropriately, the relationships improved dramatically.

Here’s what she wrote about her experience:  “…making one small minor change in how I approached others made all the difference.  In making that one change, it made a complete difference in how I was perceived.  After 90 days, I was reviewed again by the same people and everything turned around.  There was not one negative report from anyone.”

The lesson here is–don’t despair.  We can provide coaching to your “problem employees” and help them accomplish more than they ever thought possible — by working well with others.  Learn more at

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