7 Problem Employee Behaviors and How to Fix Them

Problem Employee

No matter how thorough your hiring process is, you’ll probably end up with one of these personalities on your team. During her presentation at AAO 2015, Andrea V. Gray, MD pointed out some “deadly employee behaviors”, along with how to redirect them and make them work for you:

The Downer

This is the quintessential negative employee; you can always count on them to find the downside. They also like to paint themselves as a victim—“Poor Me” is their motto. Unfortunately, this personality defect is the most noticeable to patients.

Turn that frown upside down: Downers are usually adept at thinking ahead and identifying trouble spots. Look to them to “poke holes” in new initiatives and create an action plan in preparation.

The Dangerous Duo

Two heads are usually better than one—but not in this case. For these workplace allies, teamwork and loyalty extend only to each other. They gossip, exclude others, and make their own rules.

Divide and conquer: Forming close personal connections is second nature to these employees, so if they’re competent, consider giving them a mentoring role (just monitor them closely).

The Primadonna

This bright, skilled, and often longstanding employee thinks she is irreplaceable and above discipline. Critical and bossy, she circumvents management and does things her own way, regardless of the rules.

Crowning achievement: Channel her desire for independence by assigning a project where she has freedom and a degree of authority under your supervision.

The Draminator

To this employee, everything’s a crisis—and if it’s not, they’ll create one. They escalate small problems by overreacting, getting emotional, and manipulating sympathetic listeners.

Curtain call: The Draminator draws people in by playing on their emotions and solves problems via social connections. Capitalize on this by assigning them responsibility for positive PR for your next big office change.

The Excuse Artist: No matter the issue, the Excuse Artist is always ready with an alibi, extenuating circumstances, and a reason why it’s someone else’s fault. They quickly erode their work environment, fostering resentment among staff members.

Paint a different picture: Creativity is this employee’s strong suit—he just needs to learn how to put it to good use. Assign a task that requires innovation; it will encourage him to be more invested in the job.

The Know It All

It doesn’t matter if they’re wrong—the Know It All is always right. Their superior attitude leads them to become overly critical, rejecting others’ opinions and ideas out of hand.

By the book: This employee loves to be seen as an expert—so make them one. Invest in some continuing education and have him or her teach the staff what they’ve learned.

The Plodder

The carpet in your office may as well be quicksand for this foot-dragging, procrastinating employee. Their workload magically expands to fit the time allotted. But decreased productivity is not only hurting your bottom line—even worse, it’s contagious.

Analysis paralysis: The upside of The Plodder is that they are often careful and deliberate. Assign them detail-oriented tasks like updating your policy manual or the practice’s website.

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