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Advice on managing difficult people?

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by Xtina, Jul 13, 2010.

  1. Xtina

    Xtina Songster

    Jul 1, 2008
    Portland, Oregon
    I know there's a book out there all about managing difficult people, but I thought I'd go for some real world advice by posting my problem here.

    I work with this guy who has been a thorn in my side since he got hired. He and I have worked together for about 4 years now, first at one company which he got fired from for being incompetent. Then, I left that company to join a start-up and he got hired there as well (same industry, few people with these skills available). Now, I'm his boss, whereas before, we were equals.

    When he was hired, it was made clear to him that he was to improve his quality of work and that I would have the authority to fire him at any time, but the truth is, I can't fire him and he knows it. The kind of work he does, very few people can do and we don't have a replacement. The problem with this guy, or the current problem (since there's always a problem with him), is that he absolutely refuses to ever do anything I ask of him. This has been the case the entire time we've known each other. I can give an order to everyone on his level, and nobody has a problem complying, but his response to everything is, "how 'bout let's not and say we did?" I can't find any way to get him to do anything I ask, ever, and I really don't know how I can change this.

    The most frustrating thing, besides being openly defied constantly, is that there are so many people out there who need jobs and can't get them, but I'm stuck working with this shiftless, talentless nobody, just because he has experience in the industry and knows the boss.

    Does anyone have any suggestions?
  2. redhen

    redhen Kiss My Grits... Premium Member

    May 19, 2008
    Western MA
    Hire someone to train for his job...
    Have HIM train the person ..
    tell him that your hiring someone else for his job and hes to train them... because just in case he gets sick or something... the company needs a back-up person..
    once he trains the person...fire the jerk!
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2010
  3. smileybritches

    smileybritches Songster

    I guess I would just not give him anything but the very bare minimum to do, why waste your time with him. Spend that time encouraging the people who do a good job and care about the company. Call him on his behavior very calmly, tell him since he doesn't want to be a team player to go play by him self. Does he do enough work to warrant you wasting time assigning him work or can he be overlooked? But thats just me and people like that drive me nuts and I need a job.
  4. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    Create the paper trail by giving him written and verbal warnings. Keep them in a file...you just may find someone to do his job and you want to be prepared for that day. After three such events and no improvement, present this problem to your boss, explain about the lack of work this person is doing and let him handle it.

    If he doesn't do anything at all, you can either keep your file and bide your time, or let it go and concentrate on the other more productive workers.

    Life is too short to do daily battles with morons. He'll probably make upper management anyway and be your boss one day...they always promote incompetence and laziness. [​IMG]
  5. Randy

    Randy Songster

    Mar 12, 2009
    I'm thinking a 2 x 4 and some duct tape.
  6. Beekissed

    Beekissed Free Ranging

    [​IMG] Oh, if only one could do that...... [​IMG]
  7. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Even though you CLAIM that he does nothing, you also say that he's the only one with certain skills/experience so he is invaluable. If he was truly doing *nothing* then it wouldnt' be in your favor to keep paying him. He *must* be doing enough of someting for you to need him around.

    I believe this man is a genious, or close to it. He has mastered the art of being invaluable, keeping his job secure, and being lazy all at the same time.

    It might be kinda fun to work with someone that smart (as an equal, not a boss) because the people I have to work with can't count, add, or read. [​IMG] But it was hard enough to find this job, so I perservere. [​IMG]
  8. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

    Jan 12, 2007
    Land of Lincoln
    Fire his butt out of the door! Not tolerated, that is for sure! He is just wasting your time, the company's time and money and everyone else's. Better fire him before he gets the rank above you.
  9. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    Start the paper trail. Learn how to be assertive in dealing with him. When he says "let's not and say we did" reply "Sorry, that doesn't get the job done. If you are incapable of this task, please let me know so that I can assign it to a qualified employee." [write a memo to yourself about the conversation and copy him and his friend, your boss] And go on to give him a very specific deadline for a very specific task. Use memos and email to give him directives. Be very specific in your requests, and specify required deadlines. Give him enoug rope to hang himself. And in the meantime, be looking for someone who would make a good replacement. Someone with the aptitude and entry-level skillsets, just lacking employed experience.
  10. Andi

    Andi Songster

    I agree with the documentation. If you get the "Let's not and say we did." line, have him sign that that's what his solution is. Do it in a serious manner like you're wanting to document his good ideas.

    He's a waste to the company. If the company's well being means anything to you, you have a duty to lean things up. Nothing personal. Just business. Playing nice isn't always good for the bottom line. Present it as a concern with both pros and cons of this person. Anyone is replaceable. If the company is motivated enough, they will find a replacement. They maybe don't know there's a need to look into it. Just be careful you don't come off looking like you have a personal vendetta against this individual. Why have you waited so long?

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