|Dealing with your 'Nightmare Employee'...|
Mention the phrase 'nightmare employee' (NE) to most managers and their eyes will roll - they know immediately what you mean...
- The individual that can be relied upon to moan behind everyone's back, and yet never address issues directly
- The one who is resistant to every change and new initiative, however small
- The one who underperforms regularly, but always manages to find some mitigating external factors rather than accept the feedback that they are responsible
- The one who shows a hint of potential, has the one redeeming factor that keeps you trying, invites you to feel sorry for them...or issues implied threats about a tribunal.
NEs can have a devastating effect on the rest of the team, taking up a disproportionate amount of time and energy to motivate while hardworking team members get neglected. They get away with behaviour that would not be accepted in others, creating bad feeling. They may dominate meetings with their behaviour or concerns, dominate 'watercooler' conversations and create unrest. Let's be clear - we're not talking about those people who genuinely have concerns or need support and development. We're talking about the lifelong members of the awkward squad. If it's a true NE, people even move jobs to avoid them, and they cost organisations money.
The term 'nightmare employee' turned up in our research, 'Coaching in Context'. Change management was the main people-management issue identified by respondents, with several mentioning the NE as a factor that increased their stress levels during change. But several managers who responded also used the fact they had resolved issues with their nightmare employee as an example of how having their OWN coaching had been performance enhancing and enabled them to deal with their NE in a different way. The managers emphasised how increasing awareness of their OWN behaviour had led to them changing how they dealt with the NE, which changed the dynamic.
It may seem counterintuitive, when faced with someone whose behaviour is unacceptable, to focus on your own behaviour, but often making a change in your own behaviour can lead to changes in others. Coaching provides an opportunity to reflect on how your behaviour might impact on others and our research shows it works, even when dealing with NEs! It's just one of the ways that coaching is cost-effective.
Contact either Sara or Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and a free copy of the report.