Dealing with moody employees can be a difficult task whether you are a co-worker or manager. It can often interfere with other workers and the organization’s productivity and service quality. It is important to understand employees have personal lives where there are more things going on than what may actually be perceived. In other words, perhaps there is a reason why a moody employee is having a difficult time. Managers should also be wary of possible stressors in the organization such as cutbacks. This is where some conflict resolution and crisis intervention skills will help.
Establish rapport and a good relationship. Sometimes an employee is at odds with another employee about procedures or how to complete a project. A manager should understand where each person involved is coming from, including the employee who is disgruntled. The employee may have a valid concern.
Identify the major problem or conflicting interests. It is important to keep people separate from problems. This allows you to deal with the problems objectively without damaging relationships. A manager may need to mediate the conflict. When you confront problems in a group, make sure to keep things positive. It is important to hear and listen to what it is the employees are saying.
Listen to concerns. Emotions can get easily attached to work issues whether in a group or just by an individual. Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances outside of the workplace, and it is important for a manager to be sensitive to these issues without condoning the behavior. Perhaps there is a workplace policy or issue that may need to be resolved.
Explore alternatives and come up with an action plan. Talk with the employee about how the issue might be resolved. Perhaps an employee needs a few days off for a personal crisis. In the case of a two employees being at odds, have all employees agree on a course of action and come to a consensus. It is important the manager facilitate the process and sometimes exercise her right to decide on a particular course of action.
Follow-up with employees. Ask them how the plan is working and follow up from there. Continue to build rapport and listen to concerns. If the issue is still not resolved, it may be important for management to take additional courses of disciplinary action.
- “The Crisis Intervention Handbook: Assessment, Treatment, and Research”; Albert R. Roberts; 2005
- Mind Tools: Conflict Resolution
- Mind Tools: Leadership Styles
- Northern Illinois University; Taming the Difficult Employee; Nancy Aldrich, M.A.
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