How to Handle Challenging Employee Behaviors

Bhawna Patkar
3 min readJul 18, 2022


The goal of a great company is to create a culture of civility and respect among its employees. Unfortunately, this can be very challenging when employees display disruptive and inappropriate behavior. This can lead to negative consequences for the organization and its people. In addition to being able to work effectively as a team, regular civility also contributes to the success of a company.

This article aims to help organizations by providing suggestions for managing the behavior of their employees.

Listen to Understand

Most of the time, when an employee is struggling, we stop paying attention to what’s happening around them. We’ve already decided what to think about the individual, and we’re avoiding doing anything to help them. However, the best managers can get very attentive when an employee is not doing well.

Having the necessary knowledge of the situation is the best way to improve the situation. In some cases, listening can help you identify the real issue and come up with a solution. Knowing the tough individual’s perspective can also help you identify the issues that need to be resolved. In addition to identifying the issue, listening can also help an employee feel like they’re being heard.

Focus on Behaviors, Not Character

Instead of judging an employee’s character, focus on the specific issues that need to be resolved. This will help avoid creating conflict and help the employee get back on track. It’s also important to identify the behaviors that are making it difficult to work with them.

As a manager, your role is to support and help the employees who are struggling with their behavior. However, it’s also important to educate yourself about how it can affect the company’s environment and work. Doing so in a non-confrontational manner can help the employee feel valued and included.

Follow Company Procedures and Document

Unfortunately, many managers don’t follow proper procedures when it comes to addressing the behavior of their employees. They may talk to the individuals about their issues, but they don’t record the interactions. Also, if the manager decides to fire the employee, there’s no record of the discussions.

Having the necessary documentation in hand can help support the actions that the manager will take if the situation gets out of hand. Having the necessary information can also help prevent the employee from repeating their behavior.

Maintain Consistency

If you’re uncomfortable with a behavior, don’t be afraid to say so. Employees will look to see what you’re doing instead of what you’re saying. For instance, if you tell an employee that it’s important that they submit a report by a certain deadline, then you’re only sometimes upset when they don’t do it, it creates a lack of consistency that will only encourage the behavior.

When discussing consequences and follow-up actions with an employee, be sure to follow through with what was discussed. It can be tempting to let minor things slide to keep the peace, but over time this can build into a larger problem.

Receive Feedback

Sometimes, problematic behavior is caused by an employee’s perception of their work environment. Feedback can be helpful, as it can help identify areas of concern, such as management style or other issues. Having a safe space where colleagues can discuss their concerns can also help prevent the situation from getting out of hand.

Being able to listen to an employee’s side of the story can also help make sure that you understand what they’re saying. Having the necessary information can also help prevent the employee from repeating their behavior.

Good managers use these strategies when it comes to dealing with difficult employees. Even if the situation doesn’t go well in the end and you have to let an employee go, you’ll still be able to feel content because you’ve done your best to resolve the situation respectfully and responsibly.




Originally published at Vocal.Media



Bhawna Patkar

Bhawna Patkar, founder of Ziphawk Inc. from Saratoga, CA, is a problem solver who never deters from undertaking difficult tasks or helping others.