Have you a “high maintenance” employee….one who demands a lot of your time? Every manager usually bumps into this type of employee.

The first question to ask as you evaluate this person…..are they a high or a low performer? You may react differently given their performance levels. High performers you may be afraid to lose. If so, you need to make sure that their behavior is not affecting the well-being of your team.

If you jump in early with coaching, you will have a better chance of helping the employee change their behavior.

Examples of high maintenance behaviors

-Seeking recognition
-Complains about others or the company
-Not satisfied with their responsibilities
-Comparing their performance with others
-Challenging you how you treat others vs. them
-Challenges policies or procedures
-Unsure what to do…..seeking your guidance
-You have to watch over them to make sure they are completing their work
-non-verbal behavior such as rolling eyes or sighing

...add your own challenging interaction.

What to do

How quickly you respond depends on your comfort zone and the culture of your company. You may be more tolerant of demanding employees. Don’t be too tolerant...an employee who is exhibiting a behavior that is drawing negative attention is usually seeking direction……this is your role as their manager.

If you don’t deal with their behavior, you will give up a lot of your productive time. The employee will also feel out of control and they will negatively influence the rest of your team. When you start noticing the demanding behavior, I would suggest that you handle it as soon as possible.

High and low performing employees who are demanding can be handled the same. As a manager, you may be more tolerant of the high performer. Don’t…your focus should be to eliminate negative behavior that can affect your team and business.

Steps to handle the behavior

-Start tracking the behavior(s)….date, time, and specifically what behavior was not acceptable.

-Do some detective work…..what is causing their demanding behavior? Maybe they need recognition, more challenges or additional direction from you.

-Sit down with the employee and have an open discussion. Be specific about the behavior. Be open to their input. If they deny or are defensive, state calmly that this behavior exists and how can you help them solve this problem.

-You could be the issue for the employee….don’t take it personally, but rather as information to solving a problem for yourself and for the employee.

-At the end of the discussion, create next steps and set a date to follow up.

Remember, your employees want to succeed and require direction from you. Those that won’t accept your management role and direction are not the right fit for your team.

Author's Bio: 

Pat Brill is the author of “The Secrets of a Successful Time Manager” (www.SuccessfulTimeManager.com) and “Manager’s Guide to Performance Improvement.” (www.GuideToPerformance.com) Check out her blog: www.ManagingEmployees.net. You can reach Pat at pat@TheInfoCrowd.com.