Let’s be honest, we’ve all dealt with difficult team members. People who perhaps refuse to stick to their word, show up late all the time, always have something to complain about, or anything in between. They cause unnecessary conflict and altogether stress us out! So, how do we deal with these people? Well, let's establish the common signs of a difficult team member first. 

Common Signs of a Difficult Team Member:

  • Ignoring deadlines and/or timelines.
  • Disregarding suggestions and input from other members.
  • Refusing to work with certain members.
  • Consistently behaving insensitively towards others.
  • Negatively impacting the overall efficiency of the team. 

Dealing with these people can be especially hard because we all know that the foundation for successful teamwork is communication. Therefore, situations involving a team member who is less than cooperative can become particularly frustrating. So, how can we fix this? 

5 practical tips for dealing with a difficult team member: 

  • Do not shy away from the conflict this person is creating. Handle it with confidence. Offer to involve the entire team in this civil confrontation, and set up a time and place as soon as possible. Confronting this person should be done in a neutral location, easily accessible to each member attending.
  • Tap into your emotional intelligence and approach this person with sympathy. Ask them if their actions have been caused by anything going on in their personal lives. If yes, try your best to sympathize with their situation. Next, regardless of whether their situation is personal or not, offer to help. Do they need extra support? A better understanding of what they are expected to be doing? A different method of communication? Is there something you’re doing that doesn’t work for them? Often, you can see a difficult team members behavior turn around just by reaching out and offering to listen to them.
  • Offer to include them in an office event. If you don't have one planned, set up some all-inclusive team building exercises to try and connect with them on a more personal level. Maybe they simply feel left out!
  • If this team member does not willingly highlight their difficult behaviors, make sure you’re prepared to draw attention to them. Explain why these behaviors are causing issues for the rest of the team. 
  • If all fails, take action. Either report this person to your higher-ups or, if you are in a position to do so, you may need to resort to firing them.We always hope that tips 1-4 will do the trick, though! 

Well, that's all for now. Let us know if this was helpful in the comments below! Until next time  😎