If you manage a team, you know it is an incredible experience absolutely worth having. You work on exciting projects, create a great atmosphere for the people you work with…and yes, there are also less fun moments when you have to manage annoying employees and kick in the problem solving skills.
Well, no one handles problems quite like Ms. Pope, so here are 5 ways to manage annoying employees Olivia Pope Style:
1. Look in the Same Direction
Make sure your team feels connected to a common goal and a common vision. It is vital for everyone to know why you work together. Is the person you are having trouble with well connected to the rest of the team and to the common vision? If not, try some team building activities to make sure everybody is on the same page and focusing on the bigger picture.
2. Do They Know What You Expect of Them?
The person you don’t get along with should have a crystal clear idea of what you expect of them, and you should know exactly what they expect from you. To set these things clear, having a one on one conversation and showing them you have only good intentions can go a long way. Most of the time, people tend to have an attitude when they feel attacked. What do they want to protect with that attitude? Is it their image? Is it their free time? Is it their opinions? Try to understand them first so you can take their fears into account when you interact with them.
3. Make It About Them
Yes, there are tasks to do and you need that person to get the job done, but find aspects in each task that can benefit them directly. You can teach them how to plan a project, give them an opportunity to meet someone, or hone in on a much needed skill. If they understand that working with you means also working on them, they will be more likely to respect you, and to do an amazing job. Being in a leadership position gives you the freedom to create a healthy environment at work and to make that time useful for them on a personal level as well.
4. Hierarchy Exists
All the tips from above will help during challenging situations, but we can’t deny the fact that with some people, it feels almost impossible to find a common ground. Even if you did everything to show them that you only want to see the team move forward, some people will remain disrespectful. In those situations, the best you can do is to keep being a model of what you expect from them and make their attitude seem so out of place that they will feel uncomfortable repeating it in the future. Also, don’t be afraid to remind them that at the end of the day, you are the one making the final decisions although you appreciate their input, ideas, and opinions. No ego involved: that is just how the structure works. If you feel like they would like to manage the team, you can always encourage them to practice being patient, understanding, and efficient; as these are fundamental qualities to master in order to lead a team. Maybe in time they will get promoted, but before that, you’re in charge.
5. Be Open to Feedback
If you are open to receiving feedback, chances are your team will not be frustrated if you allow them to express their feelings (anonymously if needed) regularly, and you show them that your goal is to also improve yourself as a manager.
Even after you implement all of these tips, you will probably still not be best friends with that particular person and that is ok. Focus on the professional aspect of your relationship and on having good team dynamics in general. The idea is to limit their bad influence on other members of your team and get all the work done. Don’t doubt yourself, you can do this!