Managing employees is a difficult task especially if there’s no continuing growth plan in place. There are endless personality types in any given work environment and each of them will require a different approach and training. While some employees rarely need special attention, others will require a great deal. Consider five of the most common types of problematic employees and the best approach to take with each of them:

1. The Negative Nelly

The Negative Nelly is easily identified by their fixation with the negative things in life. While this type of employee can certainly be a downer at the water cooler, their attitude can also affect productivity and morale. They may be hesitant to take new approaches or risks. To combat this problem, encourage them to keep an open mind yet still allow them to address concerns.

2. The Know-It-All

The Know-It-All is likely problematic for both co-workers and managers. A know-it-all challenges every procedure, rule or thought, and they believe their opinion is the only one that matters. This can be frustrating for everyone on the team, especially the manager. Allow them to make suggestions; however, do not allow them to rule the office.

3. The Vanishing Act

Key traits of the Vanishing Act are consistently arriving late, leaving early or not showing up at all. This employee likely never runs out of excuses and is so consumed with mapping out their next escape that when they are present, they are not productive. Unlike other problematic employees, this one is difficult to address. If after issuing a warning or two the behavior continues, it may be time to consider termination.

4. The Loner

The Loner is productive and gets the job done, yet they keep all interactions with co-workers and managers to an absolute minimum. While this in itself is not a bad thing, it could lead to easily avoidable mistakes and missed opportunities. Encourage the loner to communicate more frequently, whether in person or through e-mail (if this approach is more comfortable for the employee).

5. The Gossiper

The Gossiper knows everything about everyone and they aren’t afraid to share it. They may engage in frequent arguments with co-workers or managers about things they have said, whether related to work directly or in regards to the personal lives of others. It is necessary to address this problem directly and firmly. If the behavior continues, disciplinary action will be required.

Certainly these five problematic employees are not the only frustrating personality types a manager will experience. However, by heeding this advice and utlizing efficient training, a manager will likely be able to eliminate a number of complaints and increase overall office productivity.

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