By Folashade Adehinle

In every organization, there are employees who have come from different ethnic backgrounds, with different orientations and perceptions. It is therefore necessary to understand how to handle the different type of employees that you may have in your organization.

The Employee who is failing

  • Do not be reluctant to bring it up. Usually the employee already knows and would welcome the opportunity to get it out in the open
  • Help the employee start talking by asking open-ended questions about the problem
  • Coach the employee to solve his or her own problem
  • Be sure the employee is aware of the consequences of poor performance. This may take the form of a verbal warning

The Angry Employee

  • Diffuse the employee – let him or her blow off steam
  • Listen empathetically but don’t evaluate. Don’t get angry yourself
  • Use open-ended questions and reflective listening skills to identify hidden feelings and attitudes
  • Don’t hold a grudge

The Employee Who’s Just ‘Getting By’

  • Performance is not entirely satisfactory but is not clearly failing
  • Use listening skills to focus the interview on his or her feelings about the job
  • Clarify standards and expectations
  • Mutually develop a plan for improvement
  • Reinforce the employee’s strengths
  • Set a follow-up date


The Employee Who Wants Too Much

  • Review the compensation and remind the employee that raises are given for real merit at regular intervals
  • Assure him or her that promotions are also rewards for good performance over a period of time perhaps years. Stress the need for establishing a good track record
  • Make no promises and be sure no commitments are inferred
  • Give him or her a realistic picture of future prospects


The Employee Who Wants to Quit

  • Find out why. Maybe he or she just wants to air a grievance
  • If a real problem exists, mutually explore alternative solutions. Agree on one, and establish a schedule for follow-up.
  • Set up another session specifically for career counseling, and ask the employee to give some thought to career goals in the meantime.


The Employee Who Wants to Improve

  • Mutually develop a plan of action with realistic goals
  • Help the employee identify sources of self-development
  • Establish a regular follow-up schedule and reinforce improvement as it occurs along the way.
  • Coach the employee in areas where improvement is still needed.


The Silent Employee

  • Use open-ended questions to encourage the employee to talk – “What do you think of …”, or “What are your plans for …”, “How do you think we should …“
  • Use other reflective listening techniques to encourage openness.
  • Do not feel obligated to fill silences.


The Employee Who Won’t Agree

  • Ask questions to generate as much data as possible. Find out why he or she doesn’t agree instead of trying to prove him or her wrong
  • Look for agreements in terms of results and consequences, and build on them
  • Restate whatever small agreement is there to keep a positive attitude and let the employee know you are interested in further agreement
  • Do not argue or lose your temper

Be willing to change if you are proven wrong