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    How to manage the employee you hate

    Face it: you aren’t going to be a fan of all your employees. But how can you find a way to work with them?

    “I CAN’T STAND my employee!” How many of you feel this way? You know it isn’t politically correct to be so frank and honest. But let’s face it… you…HATE… him/her. You dread coming to work and having to deal with such nonsense. What can you do to deal with an employee you hate?

    Can you relate to these unfiltered thoughts going through my brain every single day?

    I want to sabotage him/her. I want him/her to bomb so badly… that I can taste it! This way I can start a paper trail to get rid of them. (It is beyond tempting to go down this path, but I really need to control this perverse thought.) But, let’s face it…I still dream about saying, “You’re fired!”

    I want to gossip about him/her. Nope, can’t do that. I am supposed to be the professional, right? Besides, it would make me look bad. (That would be a mistake for MY career.)

    I want to push his/her buttons and watch him/her E-X-P-L-O-D-E!!! As a boss, I know my employees pretty well. I know what it takes to generate tears. And, sometimes, it feels darn good to press that button. (What a sadist I can be!) Why? Pressing that button will make them remember who is in charge.

    I want to humiliate him/her. This is me being being quite honest here. Sometimes someone just irritates the heck out of me, and I want it… badly. I… want… revenge! It comes from a deep place inside of me that is purely evil. (It is so hard to believe that I could really revel in wanting to hurt someone else, but it happens.)

    I want to make her quit. This way, I don’t have to deal with this smug, obnoxious employee anymore. It isn’t so easy to fire people nowadays. But, if I make him/her mad enough, (s)he will quit. No unemployment. No one to be the wiser that I did this to him/her. (I feel like I should be cackling now like the wicked witch of the west or something!)

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    Wait a second. SNAP OUT OF THIS! This is a bad nightmare. You don’t want to do these things to someone. Or, you shouldn’t. What can you do? How can you get your employee to behave and perform their job? How can you get them to just show up for work on time? (Am I asking too much here?) You are sick and tired of this nonsense. The rest of the staff should not be subjected to this kind of behavior over and over again. What can you do without sinking to such a low level?

    Great question. I believe in communication. But, don’t get me wrong. Communication goes two ways. There are expectations. Do them or leave. I know it sounds a bit harsh, but is it? If both management and the employee are unhappy, sometimes there is only one answer. Since management isn’t going anywhere, it is time for the employee to work on their exit plan.

    Am I opening up a can of worms with this one? I don’t think so. I am just voicing what so many of YOU are dealing with: hating a subordinate. Take the high road on this one. If you are a manager, dentist, specialist or have people working beneath you, then you need to take the legal, ethical and common-sense approach to dealing with this.

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    Document. Document. Document. Keep track of specific incidents. Start that paper trail.

    Let the person know there is an issue. Discuss specific incidents.

    Have a plan of action with the employee. If they don’t want to come to work on time, let them know they don’t have to. Let them know that they just don’t get a paycheck if they choose that plan. Have them sign and agree to the plan of action.

    Do not gossip about this person with anyone in the practice. Go through the chain of command and do this behind closed doors. Make sure no one overhears conversations about this employee. You shoot yourself in the foot when you manage employees and forget you are not one of them. You are management. Management does not gossip.

    Do not sabotage or live in a distorted reality of wanting to fire someone. Keep your eyes on the prize. The prize is not firing… it is finding a solution. Exhaust all possibilities to resolve problems. Firing has an impact on practices. Even if people didn’t like the person, the message you are demonstrating is that anyone can be terminated. Even though that is true, you want a safe, supportive work environment.

    Don’t forget: Being a boss means having to deal with problems day in and day out. How you deal with those situations really marks what kind of a leader you are. I’d love to hear about your experiences with employees you hate and how you resolved these situations. Email me at [email protected]

    Lisa Newburger, LISW-S
    Lisa Newburger, a master's level social worker supervisor, helps audiences find humor in talking about tough topics. Her "in-your-face" ...
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