How to handle a disruptive employee

There’s nothing worse for a team than a disruptive employee who tries to undermine your authority at every turn. One individual working against the group can drain the time of their colleagues and distract management from the issues that should really be being dealt with. That is why it’s essential to identify problems as quickly as possible, to ensure that they can be addressed and resolved – and business can continue as usual.

When an employee’s behavior is identified as being disruptive, managers should go directly to the employee and request that they desist. This behavior could consist of any range of things, whether the employee makes inappropriate comments at a staff meeting, or is inconsiderate of their manager and tries to undermine them at every turn.

The employee should be reminded of the rules of the organization, alerted to the effects that they are having on their co-workers and warned about the consequences that will result if they do not pursue a change in attitude. Perhaps more importantly they should also be reminded that their past successes does not give them cart blanche to do whatever they want to do.  Just because you got some things done in the past is no guarantee that you will have the skills necessary to manage people and take it to the next level.

A serious meeting might prove effective for some employees. Others will continue to test the water. The employees that continue with damaging behavior should be handled appropriately. The consequences verbalized to the employee should be put into effect immediately, if it is clear that they will not change their behavior otherwise. Management may take precautions to remove an employee from a certain office or employee work space. It may be better to separate the employee from the environment that they are disrupting. Before this is accomplished, however, every effort should be made to make sure that the employee knows that their behavior has consequences. Dismissal should be mentioned only as a last resort.

An employee who is not productive should be given another assignment or forced to complete tasks in shorter time periods. Pressing deadlines may cut down on the time that the employee feels that they can afford to waste. This may help them realize that their time within the organization cannot be comprised by disruptions. These employees should then be reprimanded if they do not finish assignments in the required time. This may push them in the right direction before it is too late and costs you a really valuable person who has the business savvy to get the job done and do it well.

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