Doing Something About the Difficult People in Your (Work) Life

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Thanks to Rick Meekins, owner of Aepiphanni, for this guest post:

So…we all know of that guy or that woman who is really good at what he does, who is IMPOSSIBLE to work with. He or she seems to be everything to the Company, whether it is bringing in more business, getting more sales, managing operations or HR or some other function; whenever you see these difficult people coming, your first instinct is to run away.

Regardless of the size of your company, you would probably agree that something has got to be done. You may have even gotten to the point where you say (every day!) “I can’t stand one more day with this guy!!”

Seems like this scenario has three different potential “do the right thing” outcomes.

 1)  You can deal with it. You can continue to be miserable with this person or let this person make everyone around them difficult to impossible. There are a number of articles, including, How to Deal with Difficult People at Work,” that offer tips on how to deal these “dealers of destruction.”

2)  One of you could leave. If it is your Company, it will likely be the office oppressor that will be leaving. But then, who will do their job? Who will be the rock-star that fills the gap? How with the Company continue???

This is a very difficult scenario because you do have to consider the continuity of the business. Consider, however, the alternatives. What if this perpetrator of pain causes you to lose other productive employees? Wouldn’t losing other employees lead to either more work for you? Even if you don’t have to cover for the lost person, it is on you to recruit, interview, screen, hire and train the new employee?

Consider, also that this bad apple of bitterness is disrupting your ability to manage the rest of your staff. A standard is being set – that people can treat people any kind of way and get away with it. This will most certainly lead to a reduction in productivity, which ends up costing you more and eating into your profits.

Forbes offers an article, “5 Signs it’s Time to Fire Your Problem Employee,” that may provide some additional guidance on making your decision.

3)  You can redirect. Like channeling a mighty river to turn the turbines in a hydro-electric plant, you may be able to move the workplace wrecker to another position that may still be productive for the organization but outside of the firing range. Yow. Difficult move. Could this be a win? It is certainly an ambitious move and will take a great deal of commitment. However, you may discover that your office black sheep might actually be a cash cow, given the right environment and tools to be successful.

Sometimes, we, as business leaders, put people into positions in order to do a job, that they aren’t cut out for. As a result, you could end up with an ugly duckling who is simply so stressed out about their position that they begin to take it out on others. Sure. They might be able to get the job done. Sure. They might be competent. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are happy.

Right Employee, Wrong Job? Here’s What to Do” speaks to this idea, around the concept of job fit or job matching. It points out some activities that will help you identify when you may wish to help an employee find a new position, rather than dealing with or terminating them.

Who knew?

Bottom line is: do something. Or perhaps, DO something!

Simply letting things go is the enemy of progress. Lack of progress is the enemy of building something that is extraordinary. And at the end of the day, if we aren’t striving to build something extraordinary, what’s the point?

About Rick Meekins & Aepiphanni:

Rick Meekins is the Managing Consultant at Aepiphanni, the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth. Our entrepreneurial multidisciplinary team works with clients to develop differentiating solutions and provide direction focused on lasting, strategic results.  We exist to help our clients CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses.  If you are seeking advice on how to grow your business, streamline systems and processes, implement software or overcoming challenges to growth, please contact us, directly or submit a request for a complimentary Coffee & a Consult to learn how we can help you CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD an Extraordinary Company.

Photo by Sira Anamwong from FreeDigitalPhotos.net