How to deal with a difficult employee, player or teammate



frustrating employee

We’ve all been on teams (in sports or professional life) where we have had a difficult employee or teammate. The challenge is that usually these people are integral to the overall success of the team or business — you can’t just cut them or fire them.   Here are 4 things you can do to help improve the relationships and performance of your teammates, co-workers or employees.

1. Positive Touches

Steve Nash during the 2010 season averaged 239 high fives or touches…PER GAME…

”In this case, Nash does seem to build trust and cooperation through his numerous high-fives. Is there any wonder why the Suns went 60-15 with him (and were only 2-5 without) during his first MVP season?”

Count your touches…high fives, slapping a guy on the back or a good old shoulder bump. That’s completely within your control and can have huge affect on your teammates.

When you touch someone there is a transfer of energy and a foundation of trust that is built. It’s why physical touch is so important in a intimate relationship. It helps create an environment of security, community and togetherness. All which are intangible things that move you toward your vision.

2. Praise Over Criticism

The fall of Brandon Jennings rookie year with the Bucks I went to watch some preseason workouts and watch the guys play afterwards.  Scott Skiles was there watching them play, and man, was it brutal. Especially Brandon Jennings — the shots that he was taking would have drove me crazy as a coach. But, Skiles just sat there showing hardly any emotion. That is until Brandon did something well, like trying to get into the paint and make a play. Or make an extra pass to get someone a better shot.  It was only then that Skills spoke up and praised him for making the right play. Why? Because he knew that criticism would only shut him down.

3. Put Them In A Position To Be Successful

As a coach or leader you need to put them in a position to be successful doing the things that you need them to do in order to help move the organization or team forward. Not just a situation where they might have some success (usually a unrealistic viewpoint of their capabilities or skill set). This needs to be a situation where they are performing what you need them to do. If you have a player who is much better as a facilitator than shooting threes put him in that position. Let’s say he’s big who thinks he can shoot, but really it’s hurting the team. But, he’s great a facilitating. Develop a set to put him in the pinch post where he can make plays to his strengths. And then praise them like crazy when they do what you need them to do.

4. Patience

When dealing with a difficult employee or player there aren’t any quick fixes. At least quick fixes that are result in long lasting change.  You have to have patience with positive touches, praise and putting them in a position succeed.  How do we do this? Practicing mindfulness, which places our mind in the moment completely engaged on only the things that we can control. For most people are minds are either in the past, which places us in regret or in the future, which places is in worry or anxiety. We get impatient when we are worried about the future — I.e. This player or employee is never going to figure it out and it will have a detrimental impact on the team or organization. When we practice mindfulness we are practicing the patience to sustain the adversity, stress and challenges that come along with dealing with the talented, yet difficult employee, teammate or player.

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