How does a CEO tackle/handle unhappy employees at work?
“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things”. Well, this may seem easy, but trust me setting the right examples, leading a team, and managing day to day activities is not that easy! When we are working with people in a team, differences are bound to surface, the atmosphere may tend to heat up and members may show signs of strain. Not a pretty picture, right?
Whatever the situation may be, a leader has to ease up the tension, resolve the issues before they explode, and impact the productivity and the culture of the team because success comes when the team works together in tandem, but how can a leader do that?
Here is a complete guide on how to handle unhappy/difficult employees at work.
Keep an open mind: The first step is understanding and accepting the differences: People in a team will have a difference of opinion which is not always a bad thing, it helps you see the perspective of the others, which may have some value to it. So, a leader should be willing to accommodate the differences as well. Hear people out, value their opinion and they will feel accepted in the team that in turn helps build a trustworthy environment to work in.
Not being judgemental: The key is analyzing not assuming the situation. It is easy to assume that the employee is unhappy, however, analyzing the situation is what it takes to be a proactive leader. Take time to assess the situation, talk to the unhappy employees, and offer the best possible solution. You may be surprised to know that sometimes the solution can be simple. Sometimes the cause of unhappiness can be not related to work at all and may be due to personal issues. You can choose to offer help in terms of employee happiness programs, online employee counseling sessions, etc.
Maintain privacy: Take time to personally meet the employee: Meet the employees on a one-o-one basis. Pointing out a difficult employee in a group meeting is never a good idea, take out time and meet the employee in person. Like we mentioned earlier as well, the cause of unhappiness may not be related to work and can be due to any personal situation in life in general, in that case, privacy is the key, based on that you may be able to provide a solution and change an unhappy employee to a happy employee.
Document everything: Sometimes, employees can be difficult, whether the cause of unhappiness is the productivity of the employee or the work ethics, repeated absenteeism, or complain from a fellow employee, it is a safe practice to document the conversations, the emails, meeting outcomes. It may save you from a lawsuit in case you chose to send an employee for a performance improvement plan or employee termination.
Above all, be patient, keep a cool head, and give time to your team members. This reminds me of a famous quote “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way”.