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6 Tips for Dealing With Difficult Employees. Are Your Buttons Jammed?

Let’s face it. We have all had that one employee that has jammed every one of our last buttons. Pushing us to the edge as we question ourselves. Asking why we thought getting into management was a good idea. Yeah, that employee. The one that seems to interject at the wrong time. The one that oversteps their boundary disrespectfully. The one that seems to never be happy no matter what. The one that thinks every little, minor, detail is a huge deal. That very employee can make or break you as a manager. Where it is easy to just give up or simply fire them. But as we know, the easy way out is never actually easy. In fact, it can make things worse. That said, that same employee might not get along with us because we might actually see a bit of our old selves in them. So instead of giving up here are eight tips to help you unjam your buttons, and get back to work!

Set Clear Expectations. Avoiding Loose Ends That Can Lead to Misinterpretations.

As a manager, it is sometimes easy to assume that your employee knows what it is you are asking for - however, that is not always the case. We have to remember; there is a reason you are in the management position. Noting that the employee might not think the way we do. Namely, just because s/he processes, information differently does not make them a bad employee. Instead, it means that instead of getting frustrated because they are not on the same page we have to take the time to ensure that there are clear expectations regarding the task at hand. This will allow you to focus on what is most important, the results!

What Jams Your Buttons?

We all have distinct personalities. Afterall, that is what makes us unique, no? Well, so do your employees. Where because we have our own unique personalities and there are some things will drive the living daylights out of us. That otherwise is a non-issue for others. That said, we cannot expect our employees to comply with our line of thought. Instead, it is best to balance our expectations. Being careful in the way we approach our employees. For example, if you see your employe completing a task - taking much longer than they should - it is best that we take the time to explain why it is we are asking them to do it a certain way. Knowing that is not about explaining it as “the right way,” but a more efficient way that will not only benefit the employee - as they have increased their productivity - but also the dealer.

The Know it All.

There is nothing - and I mean nothing - more frustrating than dealing with the “know it all,” but guess what? Sometimes that can be the mindset of the manager, too. Now imagine how the employee must feel if that is how you manage them? Especially if (as mentioned above) everything jams your buttons. One of the best ways to handle this sort of employee is to sit them down. Offering that while they believe that offering their “expert” opinion is both vital and necessary that there is a time and place to offer their ideas.

Think about it. The purpose is not to crush their “go-getter” energy. But rather harness and align that energy into something meaningful. For example, if they are an expert on social media then take the time to work with them - allowing them to assist others. This way their “know it all” effort is constructive and productive. As even other employees can find that mindset frustrating.

The Unmotivated And Disinterested. The Procrastinator. The One That Cannot Prioritize.

The sun could be shining, breeze in the air, showroom busy and they would still find something to complain about. You want to look them square in the face and say “really?” - However, we both know that approach will not work. Deep down inside, there is something that motivates this employee. Finding that source that motivates them is no easy feat. But when you do come across that source of motivation, it will peel back those unproductive layers! To find that motivational “source” you have to sit them down and have a conversation. The way in which you handle that conversation, however, can make or break that employee. Knowing that the goal is not to beat them over the head because your buttons are jammed. But rather, offer them support and encouragement in a meaningful way. Asking the hard question “what motivates you. For some, it is money, success - what is yours?”

If they cannot give you an answer and or are unwilling to make an effort to work with your team, then it becomes time to make the hard decision. That is whether or not to keep them on board. As you know that ill-productivity breeds ill-productivity.  You do not need them walking around playing You-Tube videos distracting your A-team as they are trying to make phone calls. But if you do not give them a chance - trying to work with them - figuring out what makes them want to work harder then shame on you.

The Negative Nancy. Everything is a disaster. Or a Primetime News Cycle. Shut. it. Down.

All they need is a microphone and a TV crew, and they would be the prime time news anchor. You know it is terrible - when as a manager - you purposefully avoid that employee when you come in. Or find every excuse known to man to avoid their presence. Where your eyes glaze over as they spill the beans on what you already knew giving the story a new edge and spin. One worthy of being on ENews. The problem with not dealing with the jammed button. Is that, well, they - the negative nancy - are stuck on their own channel. As a manager - whether you like it or not - have to deal with the situation. As you very well know that negativity can spread like wildfire. And while they might be a good person, the drama is not needed.

As far as handling this employee, there is a delicate balance that is needed. Given that they love negative attention. So pulling them into a “private” meeting gives them a means of creating a new storyline once they leave your office. Knowing full well that they will make their rounds making up a new saga, which was simply a meeting to shut it down. That said when you do speak with the negative Nancy be to the point and honest. Offering that certain conversations are not appropriate within the work-place. And if you hear they are discussing confidential or otherwise inappropriate information, they will be written up, suggesting that not everything needs to be shared. Where if they continue to bring in personal dramas be sure to offer them resources that are available within HR. Offering a solution. Or rather, a more appropriate outlet to discuss their dilemmas.

They can be a great person. It just takes a good manager to be able to differentiate an anomaly vs. everyday behavior. But as the manager, you have to make sure you handle it. Otherwise, they can wreak havoc on the morale of the company. All which can have detrimental consequences to your dealer's overall performance.

The workaholic. So Many Hours. Little Results. What Happened? The Company Martyr. They Do Everything. And According to Negative Nancy, Its a News Worthy Event.

Agh, the employee whose time card looks the like average front-end gross of a new vehicle. The company Martyr. The one who works 65 hours a week, but sells less vehicles than the sales consultant that works 40 hours (which is not limited to just the sale consultants. There are managers who are guilty of this too), thinking that the reason the other sales consultant is selling more vehicles must be because they were given all of the leads. When in all actuality, it is because the sales consultant - who works 40 hours a week - better manages their time. Knowing that just because you work longer hours does mean that they are better or more productive.

That said, as a manager, it is best to pull activity reports from the CRM. Noting how many calls each of them made, emails, texts, etc. Showing the Company Martyr that sales rep B actually made more phone calls, emails, and texts. If that does not wake up Sales rep A, then there are more issues than you thought. But the biggest thing to take away with this is that instead of getting frustrated with the employee lashing out at them. Figure out and understand why they want to spend so much extra time at the dealer? Encouraging them to find a healthy outlet to relieve their stress. This way, they are not only happier but they are more productive.  

So, How to make it All Happen?

So how to keep all of your buttons from jamming? Well, that depends on you - the manager - and how you work with your employees. Where if you ignore the elephant in the room or do not set clear guidelines and boundaries than you only have one person to blame. You. Management is not easy. If it were easy, we would all be managers, no? So before you lash out at an employee, it is best to figure out why they are acting or engaging in a behavior that is otherwise not conducive to the dealer. Taking the time to work with them. As the more effective you are in communicating with your employee the more likely they are going to work with you, bettering themselves. All of which can and will have a positive impact on the dealership.


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