How to Manage Your Bad Employees

How to Manage Your Bad Employees

For a long time now, focus seems to be more on employers than on employees. There are several outcries towards bad bosses. You even hear things like “people leave bad bosses, not their jobs”. I agree that we have some terrible bosses, but we also need to remember that some employees are nothing to write home about.

When I talk of bad employees here, I’m not focusing on those that have hard times adjusting to company’s demands but on those that deliberately do things that will affect their employers negatively. But because they (the employees) care only for themselves, they are not bothered by the effects of their actions on their employers. To them, so long as their salaries come by the end of the month, they are ok. Their employers can suffer for all they care.

Examples of bad employees include:

a. The Complainants: Of course workers have rights to express their dissatisfaction about decisions of the management that affects them negatively, so long as they follow the right procedures for that. But these ‘bad’ employees seem to derive joy in finding something negative about every decision made by the management. When you give them chance to contribute ideas towards the growth of the company, you will be surprised that they have almost nothing to offer.

b. The Double-Faced Agents: These ones are the green snakes in a green grass. They are so hard to spot. If you have them in your office, you will notice that things are not going well but you won’t know where your problem is coming from. They will befriend you, act as your very good ally, telltale on their colleagues, give you selfish advices on how to run your company, and then, go behind you to kill your image before their colleagues. The worst thing about this type of employee is that both you and your workers will see him as a hero. You may even place him in a position that will give him much authority because you thought he’s ‘your person’. When you discover how damaging he has been to both you and your company and decide to strip him of the power you have erroneously bestowed on him, he will pull all your workers, and maybe customers too, against you. Be careful with all those sweet-tongued staff until you are sure of their motives.

c. The Bullies: Some employers have already met this type of workers. They try to bully their bosses into submission. They use threats, outbursts of emotions, string-pulling and blackmail to get what they want. The bad thing about them is that they get to a stage where they let other employees and customers know that they can bully their bosses. Of course, like other bullies, they test the water first to find out if they can carry out their acts there. So, once you see someone with that trait, do something fast.

d. The Voluntary-Redundant: This group always have reasons for not being in the office. They are so crafty that they give reasons that will touch and melt the hearts of their bosses. But if you really pay attention and study their movements, you will notice that they usually work far less than half of a month. The excuses they will give you is always something between life and death – if someone is not sick, they themselves are sick; if someone didn’t die, they themselves almost met death. In fact, I don’t know how these people manufacture their stories; all I know is that their stories always pull them through. These people are the most unproductive workers I’ve ever known.

e. The Siddon-Look: ‘Siddon Look’ is Nigerian Pidgin coined from ‘sit down and look’ (meaning to be inactive). These employees are different from the Voluntary-Redundant because they (the Siddon-Look) are always in the office. In fact, they come to work early and leave at the right time. Their problem is that they are there not to work but to clock in and clock out. Any duty assigned to them suffers. They may sit on just a little duty and keep shouting “I’m busy” till they clock out. Their supervisors already know them and don’t bother giving them works to do unless every other person is busy. Just ask around for this type of workers and you will be surprised that you have so many of them.

Leaving bad employees in your establishment isn’t good. They can discourage other workers, who really want to work. They can also turn your workers and customers against you, just like the Double-Faced Agents do. And above all, they can destroy your business by conniving with your competitors to sabotage your company. Don’t give them a chance to do that.

Well, I’m not an expert, but I believe the following tips can help you manage some of these bad employees.

  • Tip #1: Document their bad behaviours. Once you suspect truancy in any worker, start documenting what they do in the office. Queries given, permissions taken and untaken, targets unmet, and every other form of irregularities should not be overlooked. This will help you when you decide to dismiss, demote or mete out any punishment on them.
  • Tip #2: Withhold their salaries and other financial benefits. This method works so well with the Voluntary-Redundant and the Siddon-Look. When they know their salaries may not come if they continue to play their ‘smart’ move, they will sit-up.
  • Tip #3: Transfer them out of the branch or section. This method works with the Bullies and the Complainants. When they are transferred to another section or branch, they tend to ‘pipe low’ and study their new environments. Ensure that you notify the section or branch you are sending them to of their behaviours so they will know how to handle them.
  • Tip #4: Invite them to management meeting. I’m not suggesting that they become a part of the meeting. Here, invite them in for a few minutes to have a talk with the management. Let those that complain state their grievances and let those that avoid work be talked to. Use that opportunity to tell them of what you have discovered about their behaviours and your dissatisfaction with their jobs.
  • Tip #5: Demote them. This technique works so well with the Double-Faced Agents and the Bullies. What it does it is that it automatically strips them of all their powers and authorities and brings them under their junior officers. Another good thing about this method is that it is the easiest way to dismiss bad employees.
  • Tip #6: Make them redundant. I like this method a lot. I used it so much when I was managing a school (especially for the Double-Faced Agents and Bullies). It is not easy to pay someone for almost doing nothing, but its worth is seen when the person takes the cue and leaves by himself without raising much dust. This method works well because the bad employee wishes to assume a position of authority and is therefore frustrated when he is starved of information and made to feel incompetent because no work is assigned to him. This method plays on the bad employees’ egos.
  • Tip #7: Dismiss them. Double-Faced Agents should not be given an opportunity to infest your organisation with their diseases before you kick them out. However, you have to be very tactical if he has already formed a gang among your workers and have won the sympathy of your customers. If that is the case here, consider demotion, transfer or redundancy.
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