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Five Useful Strategies to Help You Manage Difficult Team Members



Every business has its share of difficult team members. As a colleague or manager, you might have had the impulse to lash out at such individuals, or walk away from them, but this type of behavior is not conducive to a balanced and productive environment. 

What you must remember is that difficult and annoying does not equal non-productive or useless. Even though a person might be difficult at the workplace, he or she can be part of the elite, of those with impressive business skills.

What is more, thinking that someone is annoying might be a subjective feeling. The same way you find a person difficult to deal with, somebody else might find you just as irritating. Either way, you need to find a middle path so that you can maximize team performance. However, as is with making any relationship work, everyone must actively participate.

Ilene Marcus, a veteran business leader and workplace consultant, has written a new book entitled Managing Annoying People, where you can find tactics through which you can better manage the people and peers under your supervision.

These are the main pragmatic relationship strategies that can be found in her book:

  1. Do not let others steal your energy – try to limit your meetings with those who annoy you. Do not try to avoid them, or tune them out, just smile and stay as positive as possible while talking to them, and then try to ‘create’ a natural exit.
  2. Make your relationship more effective – you should keep the message direct, unemotional and to the point with those who ask for too many details and ask a billion of questions.
  3. Set relationship boundaries – the relationship between managers and employees can be difficult if boundaries are not respected. As a manager, you have to set down the rules and draw a line of intents and expectations which must not be crossed by employees.
  4. Check your nonverbal body language – your frustration and stress can be easily noticed by the others. Although you cannot change the annoying behavior of others, you can still change yours. This way you send a positive signal through which you can improve the effectiveness of the interaction.
  5. Concentrate your attention on producing results – there are those annoying people who always claim that they are very busy, when in fact they have nothing to show for it. You should give them clear directions, determine them to produce results, give them feedback and reward their productive efforts, instead of just tolerating and listening to them complaining about how busy they are.

Dealing with annoying team members might be difficult, but as long as you don’t fight, take flight or freeze, which will garner more tension and stressful interactions between team members, then you will surely create a positive and productive team.

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