From those who dominate discussions to those who cry whenever they're given feedback, there are difficult personalities for team leaders to manage. What are some strategies for managing the sometimes challenging personalities on your team?
- Let's be honest. Everyone on your team isn't going to be easy to get along with all the time. So how do you manage difficult personalities? Whether it's complaining, being inflexible, or impolite, there are lots of things people can do that make them difficult to work with. Difficult behavior can't be ignored. It leads to conflict and decreased job satisfaction. As a manager, you must address it. Here are some tips to help you. Acknowledge what's happening, deal with it discreetly, record some notes for your own records, empathize, separate the behavior from the person, and show grace.
Chances are, difficult behavior is something everyone on your team has observed and they're waiting for you to respond. Failing to address it can erode team cohesion and creep into your productivity. Start by acknowledging what's happening and the impact it has on you, co-workers, and the work overall. Just do a quick review of the patterns and behaviors you personally observe. This isn't something you should discuss with others. Deal with the issue directly by having a discreet conversation with the person.
There's no reason to contribute to the office rumor mill by engaging in negative conversations about employees. It puts them in a bit of an awkward position. On the one hand, they may feel close to you because you're confiding in them. On the other, they may start to distrust you. They may be wondering, if you're sharing delicate information about Jacob with me, what's to stop you from doing so about me in the future? Make sure to record notes of the conversation for yourself.
You can make a private note on your calendar or create a file where you track these types of discussions. Write out your understanding of what took place so you don't have to rely on your memory of the discussion in the future. Hopefully, it won't come to that. But if it does, you'll have a paper trail. This will be particularly helpful if this ends up being a bigger issue down the line. As much as you can, empathize with the employee. Try to get a sense of where they're coming from and what's motivating the behavior.
There's typically some underlying issue, perhaps feeling unappreciated or insecure, that manifests itself in difficult behavior. It's easier to do this when you separate the behavior from the person. Put the situation in context and give yourself some time to get perspective. If you're irritated by the behavior, that will be clear and might unnecessarily complicate things. Try to keep your emotions in check. Finally, show some grace. Whenever you can, give your co-workers the benefit of the doubt.
We all have bad days and manage the stress of everyday life differently. Just because someone is behaving badly doesn't give you the license to do the same. Sticky situations arise in all workplaces. You can't avoid them. It's best to just address them and keep these tips in mind when you do so.
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Managing a team of people in the workplace requires continuous learning for today's managers and team leaders. Learn how to bring out the best in your team, in this course with Kelley School of Business professor and corporate consultant Daisy Lovelace. Daisy explains how to set shared goals, delegate tasks, manage performance, and develop each member of the team by providing feedback and training. Instructor Daisy Lovelace also addresses the challenges and solutions to managing different types of teams: virtual, global, intergenerational, and cross-functional. Plus, find out how to manage difficult behavior and underperformance.
- List the best arrangement for delegating responsibility.
- Recognize the characteristics of the five phases of the team development cycle.
- Explain the importance of taking time to build genuine personal relationships with team members.
- Identify the element that begins and ends the development cycle.
- Determine when to CC someone on a message.
- Recall the benefits of organizing venues for casual or informal contact among virtual team members.
- Summarize the steps to take following a discreet meeting with a difficult team member.