10 Tips to Help Manage High Performers with Difficult Personalities
Managing high performers with difficult personalities is one of the greatest managerial challenges that leaders face. We see it all the time across every industry and function. Whether it is the rainmaker with the golden rolodex, the genius software engineer, or the prickly neurosurgeon, sometimes we can't live with these people but we can't live without them. So, what can leaders do to bring out the best in these people while minimizing negative impact they have on their co-workers and the organizational climate?
Research conducted by Profiles International shows that today’s workplaces are overrun with “divas” and “jerks”. I’m sure we all have one in our office! Our research undertook the task of understanding the best ways to manage these ‘difficult’ workers. The study, which involved over 700 participants uncovered some interesting findings, which included:
- More than half surveyed claimed 25% of high performers in their organization were difficult to work with
- Sales and Operations were identified as the departments with the highest numbers of difficult high performers
- 72% disagreed that it is ok for managers to give special treatment to difficult characters just because they are high performers
- A shocking 49% of managers could not identify what makes a high performers successful
- 68% of managers did not understand why 'difficult' high performers behave the way they do
- 78% of managers did not know how to manage these employees effectively
However, these issues do not go unnoticed, managers are reluctant to do anything about it, as the cost tends to exceed the benefits. 62% of participants agreed with this statement.
The majority of managers surveyed claimed, they do not use assessments to work with difficult employees. These tools can be very useful in identifying not only high performers, how well the person will fit the job and most importantly these difficult employees.
Chuck Wilson, Senior Vice President of Profiles International, shares how assessments help manage and coach difficult employees -- especially high-performers.
Managing Difficult Employees
For all you managers out there dealing with these Jerks, Prima Donnas and Hot Heads, here are 10 simple tips to managing difficult employees.
- Have a one-on-one conversation with the employee in private
- Consult with other managers and your boss
- Provide the employee with outside training
- Make yourself available to the employee for additional training
- Be sure to outline clear guidelines of conduct for the employee
- Have a discussion about the issue at a meeting with the employees involved
- Schedule a formal employee review, even if one is not due
- Request that the employee to submit reports about how he or she is seeking to change their behavior
- Put the employee on probation for the appropriate amount of time
- For more serious problems, terminate the employee immediately, explain cause and provide pay for any hours worked.
If the person's behavior goes too far, and they remain employed, it could seriously damage staff morale. Do not be too hesitant to let these people go, just because they are high performers. This one person could badly affect the remaining 'well-behaved' employees. These employees are the backbone of your company!
To participate in this study and recieve a copy of results, please click here.
If you would like to help managers in your organization more effectively manage high performers with difficult personalities, we encourage you to test drive our Profiles Performance Indicator assessment - 100% risk free.