Sometimes a cat scratching at the door just wants to be fed.
Everybody’s had that one employee; the one who has a problem with everything and challenges every task you give them. They can be stubborn. They could be wrong. And they might even be inhibiting growth at your company.
By this point, you dread giving them even the simplest tasks. After all – the more they push back, the less responsibility you want on their plate. Eventually, this pattern will reach a boiling point, and pretty soon you’ll be waking up in the middle of the night wondering how on earth you’re going to deal with this person.
You think to yourself, “Can I fire them without too much blowback yet? Can we survive without them? This obviously can’t continue unabated.”
But, before you go in ready to fight, it may be worth taking a step back and thinking about just what kind of employee they are.
So, what are they? A pain in the ass? Or someone that feels as though they’re not being heard. Your mileage may vary, but generally speaking these people are worth engaging. Try to get their point of view on something that you might not inherently agree with. Maybe there’s no buy-in from them – maybe they want to be part of the decision-making process. Perhaps they’re uneasy about their position at the company, and don’t feel as though they’re on solid footing, causing them to lash out whenever something is asked of them that’s slightly left-of-field of what they had in mind.
The best way to find this out, of course, is to ask them. Put down the battle axe and war paint. Maybe the time to fight is over, and maybe the process of establishing the peace treaty can begin. Figuring out how to listen to your employees is just as critical a skill as trying to get them to do what you want. Stop forcing your will, ask what the cause of the pushback is, and see if you can find some common ground to engage on to help foster buy-in from them.
No more cold sweats, no more night terrors. Just feed the cat and maybe they’ll stop scratching at the door. And, as always, keep Brewing Your Skill!