Do you get annoyed when employees criticize your decisions or policies? When they don’t make any sense such employees are frustrating.

With frustrating employees, especially if they’re difficult, you have two obvious problems: 1. The impacts on your organization. 2. The behavior of the individual.

Their ideas are often a waste of time and energy – theirs and yours. The impacts are all related to the loss of profit. Toxic employees warrant your best coaching tactics.

Frustrations from dealing with difficult employees coincide with many management issues – teamwork, morale, organizational dysfunction and weak customer relationships.

These issues also translate into an growth opportunity for you – to learn how to enjoy your job managing difficult employees.

Case study confession

As a business-performance consultant, I advise clients to listen and keep an open mind.

Why? I’ve seen both sides of the equation. Some criticism is warranted.

Prior to my consulting career, I was once the employee who consistently came up with ideas to improve operations. With an eye on profits, inefficiency frustrated me.

My enlightened bosses readily accepted my ideas.

However, my ego-driven bosses readily rejected the ideas without considering their merit. It was frustrating to hear the phrases, “That’s the way it is” or “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” Ugh.

But here’s the moral:

While I can honestly say my suggestions were creative and profitable, I was part of the problem. How?

As in any differences of opinion, no person is 100 percent in the right. It might be a 50/50 or 90/10 ratio. The latter ratio was my case as I was too abrupt in presenting or implementing my ideas.

By extension,  your employees can be sophisticated in their thinking with productive ideas, but they can be unpolished in presenting them to you.

Personal lessons

The mistake I made was not learning and using soft skills in order to persuade bosses on my ideas.

Behaving and speaking with finality – as a self-appointed efficiency expert – wasn’t the right choice to make. I learned the hard way the importance of using the tools in the art of persuasion.

So, as an employee, my practice of submitting ideas taught me lessons that helped me later in my management and consulting careers.

For bosses, there is tremendous value in their soliciting ideas from employees as well as using proper listening skills.

For employees, it’s best to adopt the best practices in marketing ideas to the boss.

Respond; don’t just react. In other words, think about what they’re saying before you respond. They just might be your best change agents.

The No. 1 mistake managers make is their failure to listen to employees.

The No. 2 mistake bosses make is their poor interaction with their employees.

Change agents

Ironically, many employees just might be the best change agents.

While a company needs policies and procedures, not all are productive in serving customers or providing protection from lawsuits or regulations.

On the other hand, some policies don’t make sense but they’re not challenged.

When employees question your policies, don’t let your ego dictate how you react to them. Consider it as though they’re merely questioning, not challenging you.

Respond to them. Don’t just react.

In other words, think about what they’re saying before you respond. Give a thoughtful response. They just might be your best change agents.

Seriously, one good idea could be worth $1 million to you.

And if your employees seem too abrupt in asking a question or making a suggestion, consider coaching them. Stellar bosses help employees to grow professionally.

Along the way, count your blessings.

Such employees might very well be your talented change agents. They’re to be recognized. Don’t risk them quitting and leaving only to help your competitor.

The bottom-line: You will enhance your profits if you partner with your employees. Don’t be lazy – respond, don’t react.

From the Coach’s Corner, here are related management strategies:

For Strong Profits, 5 Tips to Develop Employees as Leaders — Strong leaders will help your business grow and enjoy excellent profits. That’s because, as role models, they’re instrumental in helping you develop a performance culture.

5 Quick Management Tips to Motivate Your Employees — A major quandary for managers is to bring out the best in their employees. Every manager wants to do it, but it’s not always easy. What’s the reason? Usually, it’s because employees are disengaged – disconnected from their managers and companies. Here’s how to fix it.

Employees Will Help You in Strategic Planning If You Use 3 Tips — Have you developed your strategy? It’s important to proceed without engaging in self-doubt. But you’re concerned about involving your employees? There are three closely related basics in working with your employees to get the job done.

Advice for Men: How to Manage Women Employees — You must exercise due diligence to motivate talented employees and retain them for an efficient and productive workplace. But many male managers unwittingly mismanage their female employees.

4 Tips to Motivate Employees When You’re Facing Adversity — Effective bosses have antennas to alert them over looming challenges. If they don’t have such an antenna, it’s important for them to develop one for multiple credibility reasons. Even the bosses of small companies can suffer from image problems externally and internally. Either one or both will adversely affect profits.

“I’m not the smartest fellow in the world, but I can sure pick smart colleagues.”

-Franklin D. Roosevelt


Author Terry Corbell has written innumerable online business-enhancement articles, and is a business-performance consultant and profit professional. Click here to see his management services. For a complimentary chat about your business situation or to schedule him as a speaker, consultant or author, please contact Terry.