3 Employee Nightmares and How to Banish Them

Employees can be unwilling to take direction, or tuned out, or avoidant. But then what’s the problem? There are lots of people out there and many of them are looking for a job, right? Just get different people. It seems like a simple solution. 

3 employee nightmares

The cost of replacing most employees is at least 50% of their yearly paycheck according to SHRM. That’s not a cost most companies can afford, especially during the uncertain times we’ve been in for the last year. 

That means organizations must find ways to get the most out of their potential. It can be an absolute nightmare, if you aren’t equipped for it. Here are three coaching nightmares and how to address them:



The issue: These folks can be seen from a distance, sometimes putting on an impressive sight. They appear to be getting things done; but nothing seems to be actually happening. When it comes time to find out why, they disappear or deflect onto others. 
The solution: Accountability. Set those meeting dates concretely, give them deadlines, and, most importantly, follow up. When they know they’ll have to explain their progress (or lack thereof), it's much more likely something will be done. Track updates to focus areas carefully.


The issue: This strong personality can really suck the life out of their coach. They tend to talk over their manager and refuse to accept criticism or suggestions, often assuming they know best. That makes it extremely difficult to get them in line with any organization goals or correct issues. 
The solution: “Are you independently wealthy?” It sounds like a bit of an odd question, but it’s very poignant and gets attention. This tactic can help them realize their place within the company, not above it.


The issue: You think they agree with the direction they’re given. They aren’t disagreeing anyway. Actually, they don’t seem to be saying much of anything. Opposite the Vampire’s strong personality sits the Zombie, a shambling shell that may or may not get where you need them to go. 
The solution: Ask them to wake up. Managers that are dealing with a Zombie should use clarifying questions to bring them back to life. Ask for details, plans, ideas, and insights. Don’t accept head nods or monosyllabic responses. Be sure to pause after asking a question and let the silence hang there until the employee speaks up. 

If these solutions don't get the point across, it may be time to escalate to a job-threatening focus area. Be sure you check with HR. They’ll be able to give guidance on framing and delivering the message. 

Gary Markle is speaker, consultant, author and CEO of Catalytic Coaching, Inc., and is an investor and business partner at Energage, a Philadelphia-based employee survey firm. Energage is The Washington Post’s partner for Top Workplaces.

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