How to Handle Difficult Employee Situations

Once you grab that great franchise opportunity and find yourself in charge of not just a business, but the people that you need to help you run it, you will almost certainly find yourself on occasion having to deal with difficult or delicate employee situations. With this in mind, here are some tips to help you sail these difficult waters:

Set firm rules

In order for employees to abide by your expectations, they need to know what those expectations are and what the repercussions are for violating them. They also need to know that rules are made and enforced fairly.

One of the most common means for achieving this goal is by creating an employee handbook, which among other things lays out what is expected of employees and what can get them into trouble. Having new employees sign a paper stating that they’ve received the handbook, have read it and agree to its terms can help franchise owners when dealing with problematic employees, especially should the unfortunate need arise to terminate them.

Learn to recognize traits

Not all people are alike, which suggests that not all employees will be alike. Over time, most people who manage other people come to recognize common traits in people that put them in certain categories, such as those who adopt a negative attitude. Learning how to deal with people that fall into such categories in a general sense can smooth the transition from new employee to successful team member.

Deal with difficult employees

Becoming the owner of a business can be a heady experience, which can lead to power trips, and that can lead to conflicts with type-A personalities—which is unfortunate, because such people tend to make good employees. The trick here is to keep listening, even when you don’t want to, offer feedback and set consequences for undesired behavior. Difficult employees don’t have to remain that way, and sometimes if problems are found early, they can be addressed and resolved.

For situations where that will never be the case, documenting the problem may help and, while dismissing staff is not enjoyable, showing strength and courage when doing so is vital.

Be the leader

Quite often with small businesses, such as with many franchises, having a small number of employees can lead to bonding between both the employees themselves, and between employees and the boss. While this can be advantageous when such relationships lead to strong teamwork, it can be detrimental when it causes employees to begin thinking of you, the boss, as a friend rather than the leader of a business. This is especially the case when differences of opinion arise or when employees begin to take advantage of such a relationship.

Owning your own business can be both challenging and rewarding, and most good managers learn over time that the success of their enterprise ultimately relies on the people who work for them. Thus, it is imperative that owners learn how to manage employees in ways that are good for them, the business, and themselves.

Darren Jamieson is the Technical Director of Engage Web and writes for Minuteman Press on franchising in the U.S. and throughout Canada, Australia and his native United Kingdom. He has extensive knowledge of the franchise industry, and of running a business, having helped many franchise clients through Engage Web.