Managing high performers with difficult personalities is one of the greatest managerial challenges that leaders face. We see it all the time across every industry and function. Whether it is the rainmaker with the golden rolodex, the genius software engineer, or the prickly neurosurgeon, sometimes we can't live with these people but we can't live without them. So, what can leaders do to bring out the best in these people while minimizing negative impact they have on their co-workers and the organizational climate?
Research conducted by Profiles International shows that today’s workplaces are overrun with “divas” and “jerks”. I’m sure we all have one in our office! Our research undertook the task of understanding the best ways to manage these ‘difficult’ workers. The study, which involved over 700 participants uncovered some interesting findings, which included:
More than half surveyed claimed 25% of high performers in their organization were difficult to work with
Sales and Operations were identified as the departments with the highest numbers of difficult high performers
72% disagreed that it is ok for managers to give special treatment to difficult characters just because they are high performers
A shocking 49% of managers could not identify what makes a high performers successful
68% of managers did not understand why 'difficult' high performers behave the way they do
78% of managers did not know how to manage these employees effectively
However, these issues do not go unnoticed, managers are reluctant to do anything about it, as the cost tends to exceed the benefits. 62% of participants agreed with this statement.
The majority of managers surveyed claimed, they do not use assessments to work with difficult employees. These tools can be very useful in identifying not only high performers, how well the person will fit the job and most importantly these difficult employees.
Source: Profiles International