5 Signs You May Not Be Managing An Employee Well

If you have a difficult employee and you are doing these 5 things, you aren't fixing the problem or helping your employee improve.

It can be really hard as a leader to recognize times when we aren't managing a difficult employee (or one of our managers) as well as we should be.

I can easily get wrapped up in how much I love the people I work with. I'd hire them anywhere, and I have. They become our lifelong friends. 

One reason I believed has helped me be successful in leadership is that I have always kept very clear work/personal boundaries for the most part. Probably more than many other leaders you've worked with. In a way, it protected me from getting too involved and kept me separated from a lot of issues I didn't want to cloud my judgment as the leader. 

Even with my best efforts, I have found myself hesitant to confront issues I saw, even minor issues, that could hold back my highest potential employees from success. Often because I didn't want to hurt them or was afraid it would be uncomfortable to discuss, or it felt like it was "too personal". For example, I felt like they had an attitude towards a staff member that wasn't fair, or their approach to duties or tasks wasn't the best or they weren't doing it as well as I hoped they would. 

I mean, is it really necessary to bring up every little thing when I know how hard they try to do a good job? Not only is it necessary for the success of the facility and the culture you're building if you care about their success it's also the best thing for them.

People cannot grow and improve and be challenged if they aren't given the opportunity to work through problems. They'll get frustrated from feeling like they have no feedback. They can sense your disapproval but don't know why. They'll eventually leave. That may seem like a great solution, ignore them until they leave, but the damage to you as a leader, to the remaining team, is too high a price to pay.

Be honest with yourself and ask if you are doing these things with any of your employees or managers.

If so, you aren't doing them any favors.

The truth is if you're doing these things you're also probably doing some of the following;

  • frustrating them
  • confusing them
  • distancing them
  • manipulating them
  • cold-shouldering/ignoring them
  • infuriating them
  • embarrassing them
  • belittling them
  • Preventing them from doing better, growing, or improving the undesired behavior

You're also probably doing the following to yourself as the leader;

  • Creating more problems
  • Adding to gossip and negativity
  • Causing loss of trust, respect, and credibility from managers and employees
  • Losing effectiveness
  • Making your employees wonder if you'll do this to them too
  • Frustrating your other managers
  • Putting yourself in a silo where employees and other managers can't help you or reach you.
  • Creating a team where people don't succeed and problems don't get fixed
  • Destroying your own culture from the inside out. 


So how can you fix it? It's simple, but it's not easy. 

Keep an eye out for more, we're going to go in-depth on the how and why to:

  • Double-check your approach to problem people and situations
  • Deal with issues quickly, authentically, and kindly.
  • Depersonalize the issues when you have to communicate them. The behavior is the problem, not the person.

P.S. Guess who the most common instance these issues are occurring with? 

Friends of the leader, hired by the leader. Yup. It's harder to confront problems with someone you hired and have a great relationship with. Holding back necessary guidance and communication results in passive-aggressive approaches to try to "tell" the person they aren't making you happy without hurting their feelings or the friendship. 

This can even happen with people we've worked with for a long time, have a close relationship with, and really like to work with. We become afraid of what will happen and it paralyzes our ability to be a good leaders to them. We wait it out and try to put enough passive pressure on them to render them ineffective or influence them to quit. 

It doesn't serve anyone well. Great intention, HORRIBLE results.

Have you experienced this from a leader or manager? 

Have you ever had the realization you didn't manage an employee the way you should have, or look back and wish you would have? 

Categories: Career Advancement, Leadership, Operational Excellence