5 Tips for Directors on Dealing with Difficult Staff

   So, I recently changed jobs, and I am no longer a supervisor which in a way is a blessing because I no longer have to worry about people calling in or someone having this problem or not liking the way so and so did this and all of the other issues that come along with being a director. However, as I am sitting here working on the duties of my new position I get several text messages from my former employees saying that they really miss me and wish that I was there. I started to sob of course because I really do miss them and all of the kiddos as well. But, I couldn’t help to think about why they missed me so much and what was going on. I texted back to one of the girls and asked if everything was ok and what was the deal with everyone being so upset. She told me that it, of course, wasn’t the same and that the director was nowhere to be found at any time.
I happen to think back to a survey that I had done with my staff a while back about what they loved about their job and what they hated about their job and the one thing that had stuck out the most was that all the staff had commented on how I handled them as staff and held them up to the expectation of a professional. Now I know my blog doesn’t usually pertain to directors specifically, but I thought that this would be a great thinking post for those who supervise staff at least and give some pointers on what will help your team respect you as a supervisor.

The following 5 tips are to help you as a director or supervisor deal with difficult people throughout your school or center.

1. Establish a Zero Tolerance Policy
When it comes to problem employees, your most powerful tool is a zero-tolerance policy. Establishing such a policy and ADHERING to it ensures that you will address inappropriate behavior consistently and decisively.
Your zero-tolerance policy should make it clear that the rules apply to everyone, from executives to janitors. Such a policy calls for you to give all accusations of inappropriate behavior a full airing, even if they are swirling around your star person. The biggest thing that I can say about making policies is to make sure that you stick by them. If you falter one time to any one person, then others will not take you seriously as they know you won’t stick to your guns.

2. Don’t let difficult people set the tone of the center
When you allow employees to run over you as the director or supervisor, then you lose respect and control from all staff members. Now when you have someone over you, it is imperative that you both as administrative staff get on the same page and make sure that you are both together on the issues at hand and have each others back when it comes down to taking care of business. You have to take care of the problem first and foremost quickly. The more you allow it to happen the more it will keep going on, and other staff will follow. Make sure that in your policies you have a well-written plan for issues likes this and what the consequences are. If not it could come back on you and that is where you as the employer keep getting hurt over it.

3. Bone Up on Dealing with Difficult Employees
They can ruin your business and cause many issues for you, your business, and other staff. You as a director or a supervisor have stick to your guns and to your rules and expectations that are written out and signed by each employee. You have to address it. If they see that you are going to address the issues right off the bat, then they won’t cause them. I have had to fire people because they didn’t believe that I meant business. Once I done it once they realized that I meant it and no one else tried it past that point.

4. Don’t wait for things to fester
If an employee asks your help in dealing with a problematic colleague then be prompt in helping to deal with the situation. Dealing with all women, for the most part, I found my self in this situation a lot. At first, I would go back and forth and play the he said she said game and it got old very quick. I found that the best way to handle a situation is to ask that employee if they have tried to talk about the situation with the other employee. If they haven’t I explain to her that it is in her best interest to try to work it out with the other person first. If that doesn’t work, then I will pull both employees together, and we have a conversation together about what is going on where I give both of them a chance to speak their minds and work it out together. I see a big difference in employees trying to take the initiative to work it out with their fellow work mate because if not then they will be forced to work it out with me as their mediator.
This can be very intimidating for some staff, but for others feel that it makes a safe environment where they can get everything out and know that they are not going to be ridiculed for it.

5. Be a Good Listener
As a director, we wear many hats, Including the hat of being a therapist. Our staff will come to us with many different problems and maybe some problems that you don’t know how to handle, but you keep a very open mind and a listening ear. Sometimes that’s all that they need. A good manager never judges when an employee seeks advice on how to resolve a conflict. Instead, they will help subordinates see the problem in a different light. That open-minded approach will serve you particularly well intense, one on one meetings with employees. When you listen, they know you take them seriously, and you respect what they have to say.