How to Handle High Maintenance Employees
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Copyright © 2008 Pat Brill
Have you a "high maintenance" employee....one who demands a lot of your time?
Every manager usually bumps into this type of employee.
The first basic question to ask as you evaluate this person.....are they a
high or a low performer? You may react differently given their performance
levels. High performers you may be afraid to lose. Don't be afraid of losing an
employee if their behavior is not acceptable for the well-being of your team.
If you jump in early with counseling, you have a great chance of helping the
employee change their behavior.
Examples of high maintenance behaviors
-Seeking constant recognition
-Complains about others or the company
-Not satisfied with their responsibilities -Demanding career growth
-Comparing their performance with others
-Challenging you how you treat others vs. them
-Challenges policies or procedures
-Unsure what to do.....constantly seeking your guidance
-You have to watch over them to make sure they are completing their work
-non-verbal behavior such as rolling eyes or sighing
-add your own challenging interaction......
What to do and how quickly you respond depends on your comfort zone and the
culture of your company. You may be more tolerant of demanding employees. Don't
be too tolerant, as an employee who is exhibiting a behavior that is drawing
negative attention is usually seeking direction......this is your role as their
If you don't deal with their behavior, you will give up a lot of your
productive time. The employee will also feel out of control and they will
negatively influence the rest of your team. When you start noticing the constant
demanding behavior, I would suggest that you handle it immediately.
High and low performing employees who are demanding can be handled the same.
As a manager, you may be more tolerant of the high performer. Don't......your
focus should be to eliminate negative behavior that can affect your team and
Some ideas to handle the behavior
Start tracking the behavior(s)....date, time, and specifically what behavior
was not acceptable.
Do some detective work.....what is causing their demanding behavior? Maybe
they do need some recognition, more challenges or additional direction from you.
Sit down with the employee and have an open discussion. Be specific about the
behavior. Be open to their input. If they deny or are defensive, state calmly
that this behavior exists and how can you help them solve their problem.
You could be the issue for the employee....don't take it personally, but
rather as information to solving a problem for yourself and for the employee.
At the end of the discussion, create next steps and set a date to follow up.
Remember, your employees want to succeed and require direction from you.
Those that won't accept your management role and direction are not the right fit
for your team.
About the Author
Pat Brill is the author of the blog "Managing Employees"
http://www.ManagingEmployees.net . You can reach her at
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2008-06-22 22:02:16 in Employee Articles