How to Deal With Employees That Take You For a Ride
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You’re in your office and you get a call from your client. It’s criminal what is done to them, and they are hurtling fireballs across the phone. You duck behind apologies only to realize that there’s your soldier with a gun in his hand, all locked and loaded. You take it from him all prepared to return fire. You’re now back, in the line of fire, your gun aimed at the client’s face thinking to yourself ‘this is a baddddd idea’. You pull the trigger anyway and thank heavens there’s a resounding click. Nothing happens. Your soldier mistakenly loaded it with blanks. Are you frustrated already? I can already guess the choicest of words on the tip of your tongue.
This person is just one of the few types of bugs in your system. As with any system, you need to first identify and then take corrective measures. I’m going to list down a few types that I have encountered over the years as well as the measures that I took to ensure balance in my organization.
The Sub-Par Soldier
This one shone through the interview, showing promise at first and then flat-lining in a couple of months after the probation period. These guys are difficult to spot and show their colours over time. They will pour all 40 per cent of their effort into their work and act like it’s their 100 per cent. The situation sucks since you can’t even fire them without a solid reason. As an entrepreneur, you can’t be expected to spend your time correcting their mistakes. This person also fits the ‘soldier’ metaphor I mentioned in the beginning. The best way to deal with them is to assign menial, repetitive tasks that require little to no effort (they will still only give their best 40% to it) and avoid giving them client assignments. In time, these bad boys will decide to quit by themselves.
Some things just aren’t meant to last. The same applies to people, in a way where you can already make out that they won’t stay with your organization to see the year through. This person is usually good at their job but have their priorities all jumbled up and want to do multiple things at once. They’d refer to this practice as ‘experimenting’ while you’d most definitely find this frustrating. You see this person excel at their assignments and would love for them to stay. Putting effort into making them stay is like moving a mountain, for a mind made is a mind unchanged. It is the duty of a good leader to promote the potential of their followers, but an entrepreneur’s job is a difficult one. My recommendation, promote this person’s potential but don’t force it. Find a replacement when you know for sure that experimenting is not your business.
The God Complex
‘Little lizard why do you sit on that crack on the roof? Come and explore with us.’
‘Are you kidding?! If I don’t hold on to this crack, the whole roof might collapse!’
Wild Wild Country aside, Osho saw the world for what it really is. This type of person is a real pain to deal with. You’ll find them existing in the management or administrative sector at most. All you wanted to do is delegate a few tasks that would be redundant to your current priorities and would enable you to run your organization smoothly. This rain-cloud comes along thinking they’ve figured out the reason this organization runs and it’s them. Annoying beyond measure, but totally deal-able! Just once, assign the same tasks to a responsible someone else in their department and watch as their ego crumbles. A smart one would apologize while the other one requests for a notice period. Give it to them.
‘I can’t… I have…’ Scam
These ones absolutely enjoy their time away from their desks and will come up with the most creative excuses for the same. They crave for paid leave to fulfil their misguided sense of ‘wanderlust’ and expect more of it than company regulations would allow. They are also the ones that come up with bus tickets or fuel bills collected over the month that ‘need to be reimbursed’. The most creative reason I’ve read so far goes like – ‘I can’t come to the office today, my building is flooded to the knees’ with a WhatsApp forward pic of some generic road filled with water. The person taking the picture clearly waded through hell for it. Probably some poor reporter doing their best to get a story during last year’s monsoon. Get rid of this one instantly. They drain your patience and your hard-earned money.
The Memory Loss
No, almonds won’t help them. Why? You’ve been ghosted, that’s why. No notice period, no letter of intimation, won’t pick up calls or reply to emails and texts. It’s like they don’t even remember ever working with your organization. . It’s worse than a breakup; you spent 9 hours a day together! Unlike your Ex, this person usually disappears a day after they receive their salary. There’s really nothing to deal with here. The most you could do is blacklist them on jobs and social platforms and wait for a call from the next office that they’ve decided to ghost. You’d be itching to do them this small favor.
Oh, your poor admin (unless they’re the one). There’s the stupid one who goes after other employee’s personal belongings, and then there’s the smart one who you’ll catch only when you notice a surge in cost on office supplies. I’ve faced them more than once to know that no amount of warnings will help here. These guys have a tendency to be afflicted with ‘the memory loss’ real quick, and I learnt this at the cost of a laptop. Fire them on the first instance that you catch them before they get too bold for their own good.
IC – Intellectually Challenged
These guys are the best. It’s funny to watch really. They have a tendency to deploy your resources to the best of their ability, for themselves. Misguided ambition, after all, is the worst kind of ambition to have. They prefer climbing the ladder of success over anything or anyone else. It looks like the person struggling constantly to make a wide berth for themselves on a local train during peak hours. For those of you who haven’t gotten the reference yet, please Google the memes as I have. There’s actually a good solution to this. Ambition is a good attribute to have as it fuels performance. With the right guidance you can get this person to perform excellently.
The Conveniently Narcissistic
This is the Sub-Par Soldier with an attitude. “I need ‘x’ to perform well” or “I’m getting a headache from working so long, I need a break…” it just goes on and on. They need stuff to perform and have plenty of reasons to justify failure that make it the company’s fault. Their problems are endless and their tone urges sympathy. Easy façade to see through, as long as you take the time to actually evaluate their reasons. But do you really have the time? While the Sub-Par Soldier actually feels the hurt, these guys don’t care at all and would rather stay for the money and the benefits. What’s more, they tend to make others feel the same around them on account of the sympathy they generate. Don’t let them germinate, in my opinion.
Truth be told, you will find a little bit of all this in every single hire. It all boils down to the Entrepreneur to hold the fort despite such hurdles. We’ve all been there, we were all employees at some point of our lives and we know what it takes to be one. The most that you can do is overlook up to 20% of these qualities in a person until it does reach a limit where a decision needs to be taken. For a successful employer, every win is credited to their employee and every loss is their own fault, and that is the bottom line. After all, the buck ends with the entrepreneur; employees can surely afford to have PMS.