Saturday, February 8, 2014

9 Difficult Types Of Employees (And How To Handle Them) Part 2

In the first part of this article [9 Difficult Types Of Employees (And How To Handle Them) Part 1] we looked at four talented but difficult types of employee, (based on the negative aspects of Belbin's team roles), that you might face and how to handle them. The first 4 of these talented but difficult types of employee were:
  1. The Mad Scientist
  2. Mozart
  3. Clean Hand Luke
  4. Four Weddings
In this article we will look at the next five:

1. Mr. Inflexible: This is the Belbin 'specialist' gone wrong, big time. When things are good, the specialist is single-minded, self-starting, dedicated and offers skills and knowledge in rare supply, but when gone bad this type focuses in too narrowly on their subject of their choice to the detriment of other areas. You may struggle to get them to input, show enthusiasm for or deliver in areas outside their specialist area. This can make your team or organization inflexible.

How to Handle: If you can accommodate it in your organization and it is beneficial to overall effectiveness move them into a specialist role or area where they can indulge their specialist tendencies – and you may find they work more efficiently as a result. Alternately, give them time to focus on their specialist area but goal them to deliver projects and outputs outside of their specialism.

2. Butterfly: This is Belbin's 'Resource Investigator' gone wrong. Normally, this type is an asset, e.g they are enthusiastic, outgoing, communicative and they explore and develop contacts who can help the project. The trouble is extreme 'Butterflies' may be too transient, lose track of activity and forget to follow up on a lead.

How to Handle: Turn their innate networking activity from a hobby into a vocation (which it really should be) by assigning them measurable goals such as specific resources they need to relocate within a certain time scale. Evaluate the quality/suitability of resources they find and feed that back to them at review time to educate them as to what valuable and effective resource investigation activity is.

3. Win at all Costs: We have all met this type. It is Belbin's 'shaper' gone badly wrong. While the shaper is ordinarily: challenging, dynamic and works well under pressure and they have the drive and courage to overcome obstacles, however, gone wrong they are so driven they can become aggressive and bad humored in their attempts to get things done. They can drive down morale in your team and lower productivity and staff retention.

How to Handle: Build a culture that values not just getting things done but values how it is done. Lead by example and show the 'win at all costs' type they are operating outside the culture. Coach them and goal them and bonus them on both productivity and team morale targets.

4. Analysis Paralysis: This is the Belbin 'Monitor Evaluator' gone wrong. While they can be a great asset as they are sober, strategic, discerning, they evaluate options and judge accurately,  they can be overly critical and slow moving. They can be prone to analysis paralysis and their excessive decision making processes can lead to unacceptable periods of inactivity.

How to handle. Give them deadlines in which to make decisions. Show them the impact of their drawn out decision making in terms of lost output time, increased time to market, lower service levels, etc. and bonus and reward them on faster effective decision making. If their decision making is mission critical to your business, contemplate assigning a mentor or putting them on a targeted training course on decision making.

5. Super Tanker: This is the Belbin 'Implementer' gone wrong. On the one hand they are disciplined, reliable, conservative and efficient and they turn ideas into practical actions, but once they get locked into a particular course they are difficult to shift in to a new direction, like a super tanker is.

How to Handle: Focus them in areas where there is limited unpredictability and where long-range strategies are set and generally adhered to. Coach and mentor them on adaptability and over emphasize the benefits of change. Most importantly, give them some time to absorb the change as once the panic and shock has passed they will be more open to the new situation.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

9 Difficult Types Of Employees (And How To Handle Them) Part 1

No matter the size or type of your business, and no matter how smooth and streamlined your talent management processes you will come across difficult employees. By difficult I don't mean a chronically bad employee, because from a philosophical perspective, they are easy to handle, that is, they need to improve or move on.

When I say difficult, I mean those talented employees who are perhaps being held back from realizing their full potential due to some difficult aspect of their behavior. In these situations you need to harness or minimize the difficult behavior so they can reach their full potential and make maximum contribution to the business.

To that end I have outlined nine types of difficult employees based around the negative aspects of Belbin's team roles – and described techniques to handle them. The first four are below and the next five will appear in a follow up article.

1. Mad Scientist: This is Belbin's creative 'plant' gone wrong. The upside of 'plants' is that they are creative, imaginative and can solve very difficult problems, but the downside is that they can be unorthodox, forgetful and may find it harder to knuckle down and focus on more routine tasks when this is required. They can quickly become ineffective and fail to produce or get things done.

How to handle: Creative types certainly need space to think, so why not allow them 10 percent time to work on new ideas that will deliver a return to your business? But, remind them that they are not Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel; they need to produce now, not in four years, and even Michelangelo had to deliver an ROI. So, to harness and focus their creativity, set and document goals for coming up with creative ideas that could generate more revenue, profits and customers. Make sure to bonus them if these ideas work, but be accepting of mistakes or you will stifle creativity.

Having harnessed their creativity, make sure to set them projects/goals around the routine work with individual project milestones and a deadline to help them focus more on the routine aspects. This should make them more effective and productive by showing them what's needed and by quantifying shortcomings, e.g. project slippage and delayed revenue.

2. Mozart: This is the Belbin 'completer finisher' gone wrong. We know these perfectionist types are conscientious, painstaking and deliver on time, but they can also take their perfectionism to extremes, which has its own problems. They may struggle to delegate, can be impatient or hypercritical of others, and may focus on the last 2 percent obsessively when 98 percent is good enough. Excessive levels of perfectionism can cost your business time, money and team harmony.

How to handle: Perfectionists may not make the best managers as they may be hypercritical of staff. They may struggle with being in charge of big, complicated projects as their perfectionism, inability to delegate and impatience may demoralize the team and slow the project. Try to focus them in on jobs requiring attention to detail.

3. Clean Hand Luke: This is a Belbin 'coordinator' taken to the extreme. They are mature, confident and great team leaders, they clarify goals, encourage decision making and delegate well. Dream employee? What can go wrong? Well, these employees may have fallen out of love with getting their hands dirty and might overly delegate leaving themselves with little work to do, and leaving you with an under-utilized resource.

How to handle: If your management culture expects coordinators to muck in when necessary, lead from the top. If things need doing, yet subordinates are fully utilized and some managers seem to be sitting back and not mucking in, lead by example and role up your sleeves and start mucking in too. Show them that if it's not too menial a task for the director or CEO, it's certainly not to big task for a team leader. This should embarrass them into action and help to change the culture.

4. Four Weddings: This is Belbin's 'team worker' gone wrong. Ordinarily the team worker is a great asset; they are cooperative, mild, perceptive and diplomatic but they can be prone to indecision when unpopular decisions need to be made.

How to handle: Might not be suited to leadership positions without coaching on decision making processes. If they are in leadership positions, this is in some way fixable by coaching in developing a decision-making process. Coach them on how to establish facts, gather opinions, develop a rationale  to make an informed decision. Assign a business mentor who they can confide in and bounce their ideas off.

If you found these tips for dealing with difficult new hires helpful, be sure to tune in for part two of this article to discover more.

Thanks to Kazim Ladimeji / Recruiter / Recruiter, LLC
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