You've found yourself in the position of having to deal with an employee that has a negative attitude, difficult personality, performance issue or some combination of these traits.

The issue is, what do you do next? How do you confront your difficult person without escalating the situation while getting the results you need?

Here's what you need to think through before you meet with your employee. There are two specific steps that you need to take in order to set up your preferred outcome.

Step one is simply to “Identify the issue”. This simply means that you “attack the issue”, not the person. Doing this correctly allows you to bring up factual issues which need to be discussed while being non-judgemental in the process. A good example of this might be, “Ann, I've noticed you've been late three times this week.” “Joe, I see you've missed your project deadlines for the past two months.” These statements are factual, non-judgemental and are not personal attacks. This sets you apart from most managers when talking to a problem employee since most are used to being talked down to as well as given ultimatums. Our strategy is to avoid this type of confrontation while laying the groundwork to develop a cooperative environment to coming up with a realistic solution.

Step two is to simply ASK the employee for solutions! Most managers fall into the trap of telling the employee what to do by “laying down the law”. Generally, this is the beginning of your employing turning the meeting into a “defending themselves” event where very little is accomplished except for widening the gap of disagreement. Instead you should ask questions like, “how can we reverse this trend”, or what steps can be taken to meet these goals in the future?”.

This step begins to put the responsibility for improvement exactly where it belongs, squarely on the shoulders of the employee. The employee is now held accountable for suggesting and implementing solutions to their own problems. Most people are much more committed to improvement if they have input into the solution. It is no different with the difficult employee, by asking them for their ideas to improve they in effect “buy into” the plan much more easily then if they are simply ordered by their manager.

These two steps will begin the process of transorming your difficult person from “employee” to “team memeber” and you from “boss” to “coach”.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Mike Cioppa is one of the most sought after business, management & employee coaches in America.

Dr. Mike has delivered over 1,000 seminars to hundreds of companies and tens of thousands of employees over the past 6 years.