Part 2: How to Manage Difficult Government Employees

 The Performance Institute is pleased to present the second in a three part series providing insight on How to Manage Difficult Government Employees authored by Stewart Liff

 Part 2 of 3: Five Warning Signs of Difficult Employees

Difficult government employees are in fact, easy to identify. Here are some signs to look for. While they are not all inclusive, they are good indicators of where your personnel problems lie:

1: Everyone is Aware of the Problem Employees

That is because they stick out like a sore thumb. For example, whenever I visit a new organization, within a short period time I know who the problem employees are. Why? Because everyone else knows who they are and are more than willing to share this information with you in the hope that someone, anyone will do something about them.

2: Difficult People Tend to be Cynical and See the Worst in Others

Problem employees are usually suspicious of others and as a result, frequently make negative comments about their co-workers. They rarely take the extra step and often see demons around every corner.

3: Difficult Employees are Unusually Critical of Management

It is not unusual for employees to criticize poor management decisions. However, problem employees tend to see every management decision through a prism of negativity and as a result are never satisfied.

4. Troubled Employees are rarely willing to Take Responsibility for Their Problems

This trait is easily detected because difficult people will often have a number of problems, both personal and work related. The employee that commonly is late to work but blames traffic or an alarm clock for not going off is the perfect example of the way a difficult employee thinks.

5: Poor Employees will Subtly Undermine the Organization

Your difficult people are probably actively sabotaging you, but doing it in subtle ways. This is the employee who breaks numerous rules, but always seemingly in good faith and never the same way twice. Looking at the actions of the employee one at a time, they may seem to be innocent, but looking at those actions overall, you can see a pattern of insubordination and sabotage.

The point here is that people who exhibit the behavior described above, are going to be harmful to your organization. It may manifest itself in poor performance and/or behavior, but it will definitely appear in some form and will certainly pull you down.

Go back and read Part 1. 


 Be sure to read next week’s post for insight on How to Handle Difficult Government Employees

View Stew Liff’s full webinar presentation, How to Manage Difficult Government Employees, here.

Register for Stewart Liff’s upcoming April 20-21, 2015 training course “Managing Individual and Organizational Performance” here.

 Stewart Liff is an HRM, visual performance management, and team development expert. He serves as a Fellow with The Performance Institute and is the President and CEO of Stewart Liff & Associates. He is the author or co-author of seven books, including Managing Government Employees and A Team of Leaders

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