Dear Dr. Lisa:
I have an employee who is a rigid and sometimes angry person. He gets angry really quickly and does not take criticism well at all. For the most part, he does his job well, but when he disagrees with someone, he tends to go off course and the incident gets escalated to me. I can usually resolve it, keeping everyone whole, but this is starting to become a bit of burden. I have tried everything I know to engage him, but he is pretty stubborn. He always wants to do things his way. Most of the time that is okay (my staff members have a lot of autonomy). But, when it’s not okay, it’s a big deal. Do I accept the 80% and deal with the 20% that is not right or take on his anger and push hard for 100%? What do you think?
Managing a Tough One
Dear Managing a Tough One:
You are right! You are managing a tough one. It sounds like this person has issues that extend beyond the job and the way it shows up for you is his lack of willingness to cooperate and take direction in the workplace. This creates a particularly tough environment in a department because your other employees see what he might get away with by being difficult. You owe it to yourself, the other employees and the Tough One to set fair and consistent boundaries for your entire staff. That is a very tough task and you should not go it alone. Engage your HR team immediately and keep them close to you every step of the way. Going forward, your management style should be fair, firm and consistent. Stop allowing the Tough One to break the rules. Hold him accountable. Hold all your staff members accountable. Your consistency is critical. In addition to HR, it would be a good idea to put your security team on notice. I am not suggesting there could be violence, but it is always important to be ahead of the curve with employees who show signs of being on simmer.
Good luck and Be Strong!
P.S. Your theme song is, “Control” by Janet Jackson.