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Your leadership skills are naturally called into action when you inevitably come across problematic employees who, with their difficult personalities, huge egos, and quirky habits disrupt the smooth functioning of your organisation.
While I understand certain grossly unethical habits should never be tolerated, firing difficult employees immediately might actually downplay your skills as a leader.
Not only does terminating employees frequently call into question your own hiring skills and ability to judge character, it also invokes the additional cost of replacing the fired employee, and training a new one.
In my opinion, the real responsibility of a leader in such a situation does not end at deciding whether the employee should be fired or not, but how to view his/her weakness as a trait that might actually help the organisation.
Increasingly, research has shown us that the personalities of employees are gaining credence over their skill sets. Bosses worldwide are acknowledging that working in different or creative ways has helped their organisation gain a competitive edge and help boost productivity.
But what often remains forgotten in such instances is the possibility that certain traits, which are conventionally viewed as negative, also have that same potential in them to lead businesses to greater heights. For example, a study recently revealed that companies looking for a more creative workforce should let their employees cheat.
I am not encouraging leaders to retain employees with bad behaviours. Instead, here are two simple ways you can possibly put their problematic traits to good use:
- Rather than terminating an employee immediately for his/her obnoxious or vain behaviour and tendency to show-off, leverage on such habits by sending that employee on a marketing/promotional tour for your company.
- If your employee has been found guilty of using too much social media during work hours, assign him or her a position which enables them to make your company’s online presence much stronger. If they have been guilty of frequent trips outdoors during work hours, shift their role to one which involves travel and outdoor activity instead of a desk job where possible.
Traits of employees, good or bad, are part of the individual you hired, and by leveraging on the full potential and passion of your staff in the right way, you might be able to convert even their weaknesses into strengths.