You may have encountered someone in a personal relationship that you consider “high maintenance.” There are certain traits that can tip you off to a high-maintenance individual, and many of us choose to avoid that type of person altogether. But in the workplace, sometimes working with high-maintenance, or needy, employees is an inevitability.
Needy employees can be managed (and your sanity saved!).
You may be tempted to avoid needy employees altogether, but unmanaged needy employees end up being negative, productivity killers. Keep your sanity, and office productivity, at normal levels and use these five tips to help manage needy employees:
- Keep an open door. Nothing is worse than avoiding a needy employee, or making yourself totally unavailable. Needy employees often need to vent, or need advice and guidance to proceed on a project. Make yourself available to needy employees, so that you can provide the information needed to do their jobs.
- Take the time to understand their nuances. Every person is unique, and to get the most productivity out of your employees, you should take the time to understand their nuances and personality. An employee who comes off as “needy” may be very strong in one area, but might just need a little extra push in another. Understand the unique needs of your employees, and you can head off potential issues by taking advantage of each person’s strengths, rather than dwelling on their “neediness.”
- Define expectations and standards. Many needy employees can flounder when in a situation where there is a lack of defined expectations or standards. Set clear goals, expectations and standards for all your employees to meet. In particular, pay attention to how needy employees respond. Typically, with a defined set of parameters, needy employees are able to perform at their peak ability.
- Give needy employees some control. Once you’ve established some standards, provide your employees with some authority to carry out their jobs. Hesitancy to make a decision can sometimes be based off of an uncertainty whether they actually can make that decision. Be clear about how much control and decision-making you allow your employees, and then let them run with it.
- Deal with it. At the end of the day, some employees’ needs are different than others. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, where needy employees are making it difficult for you (or the rest of your team) to perform you job, take a deep breath and deal with it. All people are different, and some respond to workplace situations in different ways. If needy employees are still productive members of your team, you might just want to ignore the fact that they are needy, and instead be grateful for a productive team.
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