How to Manage the 5 Most Common Problematic Employees

Any executive will tell you that the most difficult part of their job is dealing with employees. Managers must walk a fine line that dances between inspiration and discipline. The longer a person works in a supervisory position, the more they will notice patterns emerge, and be able to recognize typical characteristics of problematic employees. Here are five of the most common, and tips about how to deal with them.

Managing Procrastinators

In your management career, you are almost guaranteed to encounter procrastinators. These are employees who either put off starting a project out of laziness or people who overthink their assignments and can’t get started. Either way, the trick to coaching a procrastinator is to give them specific deadlines for each step along the way.

Managing “Victims”

“Victims” are tricky employees to manage, because they always have an excuse, and nothing is ever their fault. The key to steering employees with a victim mentality is to focus on the result. You can empathize with their circumstance, but always direct them back to what needs to be accomplished to get the job done without getting into the weeds about whatever injustices they feel have been thrown at them.

Managing Delegators

Delegators try to pass their assignments along to others, including those who are on the same organizational level as them. Unlike other problematic staff members, they can usually be swayed by positivity or encouragement. When assigning them tasks, make it clear that they are responsible for them for a reason, and that you are counting on them to bring their specific skills to the table to accomplish the goal.

Managing “Vanishers”

Employees who never seem to be around are incredibly frustrating. “Vanishers” must understand that they are expected to work a full week and be available during work hours. If you have an employee who comes in late, takes long lunches, or leaves early, force them to log their time throughout the day, and make it clear you expect them to be able to account for their time.

Managing Troublemakers

If you have an employee who tries to pit people against each other or the company, you need to deal with them quickly and directly. Allow them to vent about legitimate complaints but make it clear that you are responsible to foster a positive work environment, and unfounded gossip and negativity that poisons the well has no place in your company.

Management is challenging and carries great responsibility. Being able to recognize when employees are causing problems and dealing with them quickly and appropriately is essential to keeping your department running smoothly.


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