What to Do When Your Employees are Limiting Your Potential 

Knowing how to handle any issue that appears in the company is one of the many skills that a good manager needs to possess. And part of this is knowing how to properly manage employees who refuse to engage or do their job properly. Fortunately, there are plenty of tactics you can apply in any situation.

What You Need to Do

When your workers are struggling, it’s your responsibility as their manager to handle the situation and guide everyone in overcoming any adjacent difficulties. Here are five things that will help you deal with employee resistance and other issues that might be limiting your individual potential, as well as that of your entire team.

1. Identify the Issues

Establishing that certain people on your team are limiting your potential is an important first step, but you need to pinpoint the exact problems at hand. More often than not, there is something deeper going on than just an employee with an attitude problem. They might be lashing out at work due to issues at home, or they might be going through a rough time.

Furthermore, your methods could also be the culprit here. You might think that you are trying your best to motivate your workers and keep them engaged one hundred percent of the time, but what you’re actually doing might be putting unnecessary pressure on their shoulders and keeping them in a state of constant fear.

When there’s dysfunction in a professional environment, the reasons behind it aren’t universal. There are things that are specific to any situation, and you need to identify them so that you are able to devise the perfect counterattack.

2. Engage Your Employees

A lot of the time, workers lash out or lose interest because of poor management. According to statistics cited by Forbes Magazine, as little as 30% of employees in the U.S. and 13% outside of it feel engaged by the companies they work for. As a superior, it is your responsibility to ensure that that doesn’t happen in your office as well.

There are many simple, yet effective ways to keep your team motivated. Constructive feedback is one of them, and so is lending an ear to their individual needs and goals. Furthermore, by removing barriers between you and them, or not creating them in the first place, they will feel a lot more confident and secure in their position.

3. Change Your Approach

Even though we’re well into 2018, a lot of managers still believe that fear is the best motivator for employees. But that is simply not true. In fact, professionals recently established that it’s just about as overrated as praise. Strong emotional responses don’t make your team respect or value you more.

What they do instead is confuse them and even lead them to feel frustrated with their jobs. In order for them to be engaged and satisfied with what they’re doing and not adopt a toxic workplace attitude, you will need to do the same. If you’re not, then maybe they’re lashing out because that’s what they see you do daily as well. Just think about that.

4. Mediate Conflicts

Personal conflicts between employees sometimes lead to an overall unproductive atmosphere in the office. This prevents not only those engaged but everyone else as well from doing their job properly. Thus, you need to stop avoiding mediation and get on it right away. Unresolved disagreements don’t disappear, they fester under the surface.

Meet with the workers involved in the quarrel, preferably simultaneously. If you find that keeping a cordial atmosphere is hard, you can also try getting separate accounts of the issue, but only if you’re certain that you won’t be inclined to take sides. In such situations, objectivity is your best friend.

The essential aspect of your endeavor needs to be finding a middle ground between the two parties and allowing them to state the course of action they expect. If one or more of them are being passive aggressive about a resolution, then maybe their problem is behavioral after all. But that is seldom the case, which is why you need to pay attention to everyone’s needs.

5. Improve Interviews

Sometimes, your first line of defense against toxic employees is not hiring them to begin with. Most unfit candidates usually go undetected until it’s too late because they are able to conceal certain gaps they might have in training or work ethics. Furthermore, a lot of people are simply unaware that their behavior is toxic, which is why they cover it up so well.

Unfortunately, traditional interview techniques rarely see through it. This is why you need to become a lot savvier when it comes to recruiting new members of your team. Switch up your methods and let all candidates know right off the bat what your demands are. You can even ask some trustworthy team members to observe and provide you with an assessment.

Final Thoughts

When trouble starts bubbling in the office, you need to keep in mind that toxic attitudes might be behind it, but that is rarely the case in reality. Thus, you have to assess the situation closely and understand what the true problem is so that you can find an adequate resolution in the shortest time possible.

Alex Moore is a Psychology Undergraduate with a very particular interest in workplace relations and their impact. He believes that a great leader will always be defined by his followers. You’ll usually find him writing for www.jobapplicationcenter.com

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