How to Deal With Stiff Staff?


Short Answer: Fire their ass. Okay, don’t! I was kidding.

Lets’ begin with the article.

There are all sorts of people in the office and among them, working with difficult juniors brings lots of challenges for a supervisor to handle. No one likes it, but it is a mental test of one’s leadership skills, who have to manage well and bring out the best in problematic employees while assuring harmony and teamwork amidst colleagues.

Instead of focusing on dealing with them with stubbornness, why not change your strategy and find out why they are “hard” to work with. Is it because they are bad communicators, perfectionists by nature, or only out to make lives stressful for everyone?

Here are two ways to deal with them.

Please get to know them better.

To know the “hard” workers better, you have to spend some time with him/her. Rather than spending one hour talking to the person in each quarterly review, please make a few minutes to drop by his/her desk to mesh in an informal or work-related talk regularly to know that person well.

Make more friends, not foes.

Friendship is created through a shared individual relationship. Likewise, this is how you will develop a good working relationship so that you can better assess the person and evaluate how he’s coping with work. Is she being “hard” because she is not getting adequate support or is anxious due to deadlines? Asking the individual out for breakfast to talk about it privately shows that you care for him/her as your assistant and friend. Be ready to help with difficulties at work. If it’s personal, provide a good listening ear as a companion. You will be much appreciated.

As much as possible, arrange informal gatherings like BBQ lunches for your co-workers so that everyone can participate and bond outside the office setting. You will be shocked that people are more likely to open up in a casual and fun environment. Thus, it is an excellent opportunity to find out about their families, hobbies, faiths, background and interests. You will see the personal side of them, their feeling and their thinking.

People are flattered when someone is excited to know them. Do it regularly as rapport building is an open-ended process. In no time, the “difficult” staff will eliminate their “internal defence mechanism” and will want to support the company as a good team member.

It would help if you regularly celebrated the work well done.

It is human tendency to fall into the trap to punish and scrutinize people who made blunders. When working with “stiff” people, it is crucial to focus on the positive aspects. Reward and praise them based on merits. If you reward and promote good work and healthy behavior, you can bring out the best.

Everyone likes to be applauded and rewarded for matching expectations. It is no different for “stiff” staff. Please get to know them better and reward when it’s due – and eventually, you are less likely to have issues with them.

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