Bad employees. They’re lazy, they have a bad attitude and, if you’re a manager, they probably work for you. No matter how great of a leader you are, you’re bound to come across difficult employees. Here’s how to deal with them.
Who they are: The slob
What they do: This kind of employee does great work—when he or she doesn’t misplace it. Sometimes disorganization comes in the form of a messy desk. Other times, it’s forgotten deadlines. Either way, it’s starting to impede productivity.
How to deal: Manage the chaos with constructive criticism. With enough guidance, and maybe a planner, even the sloppiest employees can clean up. One effortless way to organize is with a virtual scheduler (like Google Calendar or iCal), which will remind them of upcoming meetings and due dates.
Who they are: The constant excuse
What they do: They couldn’t make a deadline, but it’s because they had a migraine. They’re an hour late to work, but there was really bad traffic. Some employees seem to screw up constantly and always have a convenient excuse.
How to deal: If the excuses tend to stem from one particular cause, try to work around the problem. If their kids are constantly getting sick, let them work on assignments from home. However, if it seems like the employee in question will do anything to shirk responsibility, you need to be straightforward about how their behavior is affecting the team. Hopefully they’ll step it up.
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Who they are: The brilliant slacker
What they do: It’s bad enough that some employees do just the bare minimum. This type is particularly aggravating because they’re also secretly talented. They could shine, but they’re wasting their potential with half-hearted efforts.
How to deal: The best way to deal with slackers is to challenge them. Assign lazy employees to tough projects that will encourage them to tap into hidden creativity.
Who they are: The superstar
What they do: They might excel at everything they do, but their unbridled ego almost makes you wish they messed up once in a while.
How to deal: Give them space, says Inc. Since their performance is stellar, they don’t need a ton of supervision. By giving them projects that require little interaction, or time out of the office, you can ensure that their attitude doesn’t affect office morale.
Who they are: The backstabber
What they do: They take credit for other people’s ideas. They tattle on coworkers who show up 5 minutes late. No matter how long they’ve worked for you, they have no loyalty to the company or its employees.
How to deal: Get rid of them. Laziness and disorganization can be corrected, but a malicious employee is poisonous to your work environment. His or her spiteful ways could turn coworkers against each other or, even worse, you.
A version of this article was originally published on March 31, 2011.