Dealing with difficult employees can be overwhelming and stressful, especially when their behavior impacts the overall success of your business.

But before you label them as "problematic" or "toxic," try using these techniques to navigate the situation with ease.

1 - Assume positive intentions

It's important to not automatically assume that your employee is intentionally trying to cause trouble. Their actions might be driven by factors that they may not be aware of or are unable to identify. By first assuming positive intentions, you can approach the situation with empathy and help them identify the root cause of their behavior.

2 - Get to the root cause

It's important to understand the underlying reasons behind their behavior. Perhaps they are disengaged from their job or facing personal issues. Maybe they're feeling frustrated with their colleagues or are overwhelmed with their workload. By addressing the root cause, you can develop a tailored approach to support them more effectively.

3 - Provide honest feedback

Difficult employees are often unaware of the impact their behavior has on others. It's important to provide them with direct and honest feedback so they understand the situation and have an opportunity to change. This feedback should be specific, objective, and actionable, and delivered in a constructive manner.


Managing difficult employees can be challenging, but it's not impossible. By assuming positive intentions, identifying the root cause of their behavior, and providing honest feedback, you can help them manage their behavior effectively. This, in turn, will create a more productive and positive work environment for everyone in your organization.


If you have any questions about this article, dealing with difficult employees, or any of our related services, please contact one of our HR Consulting experts or complete the contact form below.

Stephen McKee

Stephen McKee

Stephen McKee is a Human Resources Consultant for Avail CPA. He uses over 10 years of experience in HR to help clients ensure their team functions on the highest level while staying compliant with legislation.

Service Expertise: HR Consulting , Business Advisory
Industry Expertise: Non-Profit , Food and Beverage , Small Business

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