I had a suggestion for an article on this subject from several PD’s that have walked into hornet’s nests. How many radio stations have we been a part of, where the staff problems got the better of management? The focus was on the employee’s problems and not the sound of the radio station?
From http//:management.about.com highlights the following:
Difficult employees are that way simply because it is a behavior that has worked for them in the past. They may not know any other behavior or they may choose this behavior when they think it will be most effective. You will be successful in dealing with difficult employees only to the extent that you can make these undesirable behaviors no longer effective for them. In many ways, it's like dealing with children. If every times a child screams, its parents give it candy, what will the child do when it wants candy? It will scream, of course. The same is true for the employee who "blows up" whenever anyone disagrees with him. When he does that people stop disagreeing with him and he thinks he has won.
One of the best lines I ever heard from a former VP/Programming of mine regarding difficult morning shows: “I will deal with the radio station after 10a, you are on your own”. Sounds tough and some what juvenile, but sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. Morning show’s need the ego-massage from programming and management. If they don’t receive it, they go looking for it from clients, listeners and other staff members.
Develop a plan You know the value of planning. This situation is no different. You need to plan the timing of the confrontation. You need to select a quiet, private place where you won't be interrupted. You need to decide whether you need to have others, like an HR representative, present in the meeting. Plan the confrontation and then make it happen. When you have prepared, it is time to act. You do not need to act impulsively, but you must act quickly. The longer an inappropriate behavior is allowed to continue, the harder it will be to change it or stop it.
Confront the problem Don't put it off. It may not be pleasant, but it's an important part of your job. It will not "fix itself". It can only get worse. You have planned this confrontation. Now you need to execute.
Deal with the behavior, not the person Your goal is to develop a solution, not to "win". Focus on the inappropriate behavior; don't attack the person. Use "I" statements like "I need everybody on the team here on time so we can meet our goals" rather than "you" statements like "you are always late". Don't assume the inappropriate behavior is caused by negative intent. It may be from fear, confusion, lack of motivation, personal problems, etc. Give the other person a chance to develop a solution to the problem. They are more likely to "own" the solution if they are at least partially responsible for developing it.
Try to draw out the reasons behind the behavior As you talk with the difficult employee, actively listen to what they say. Stay calm and stay positive, but remain impartial and non-judgmental. Ask leading questions that can't be answered in one or two words. Don't interrupt. When you do respond to the difficult employee, remain calm. Summarize back to them what they just said, "so what I understand you are saying is", so they know you are actually listening to them. If you can find out from the difficult employee what the real source of the inappropriate behavior is, you have a much better chance of finding a solution.