Managing a Tough Personality? Here’s What to Do

When you have an employee at work who is constantly negative, defiant, and stubborn, it can make your day more difficult. Oftentimes, the employee is demonstrating these behaviors for a reason, whether it’s a fear of change, worry they will look incompetent, or a show of strength.

Whatever the cause, it can make life for you as a manager trickier, particularly if this person is skilled and good at their job. So, how can you manage those more difficult personalities at work?

Here are some tips to help you navigate your way through.

Keep circumstances in mind.

Is the person a new hire, or have they changed roles recently? Has there been major changes or shifts in the workplace, such as new leadership or restructuring? Their behavior could be due to this situation. They are simply adjusting to new responsibilities and possibly feeling a bit overwhelmed. In this case, give them time to adjust to their new job and help to shore up any insecurities they might be feeling.

Make sure they’re in the right fit.

When you promote a highly skilled subject-matter expert to the position of manager, it doesn’t necessarily mean they will have the interpersonal skills to thrive. It’s not uncommon for those who are experts in their fields to resist input and feedback from others, even those reporting to them. When this is the case, consider placing them in charge of a smaller team or perhaps putting them back into a position where they are doing purely technical work instead of managing.

Take their criticisms to heart.

Just because criticism is coming from someone who tends to be negative or more oppositional doesn’t mean they’re wrong. So, take their perspective and feedback to heart. There could be a valid reason as to why they’re not sharing knowledge or offering an opposing viewpoint at every turn. They might be right.

Know when to move on.

There are other cases where it’s time for an employee to move on. If their behavior is having a negative impact on the whole team and they refuse to change, then have a serious discussion with them where you talk about the consequences if they refuse to bend.

The bottom line? There are many reasons why a particular employee might be more complicated, and not all of them are bad. Find out the cause and work together to help them play to their strengths. It will be a win for everyone.

Do you need help filling an open role?

If the situation didn’t work out with a difficult employee and you have a job opening as a result, turn to the team at PrideStaff. As a leading recruitment firm in Phoenix, AZ, we can help you fill a wide range of roles in many fields with the right-fit professionals. Get started now.