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3 min read

3 Tips on Managing Difficult Employees

Profitable Tradie

Team members…You wouldn’t have a business without them.

But it can be really frustrating when you’ve got one or two team members who aren’t up to scratch.

Maybe it’s someone onsite or in the office.

Either way, it’s really negative.

And it can drag the whole team down.

So today I’m sharing a few things that I’ve found helpful, and a lot of our Million Dollar Tradie Members have found helpful when dealing with difficult team members.

Because sometimes the person’s no good, other times there are other things affecting their performance.

So before writing someone off, here are three things to think about.


1. Clarity

Are they clear on what’s expected of them?

It helps to have a job description that outlines the role, the responsibilities, and the Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s).

You can set KPIs for each role by writing down five ways you’re going to measure their performance.

If a team member has been failing to complete a certain task, has it actually been made clear to them that it is their responsibility?

And do you have systems in your business, things like checklists, written procedures for the office, and pre-job checklists and quality assurance process for on-site?

Having these tools available to your staff can make their lives a lot easier, helping them perform their best, which then makes your life easier as well.

Finally, have you figured out what their learning style is? Some people learn visually, some aurally, and some learn by doing. If you’re not communicating on the same level, you’ll end up repeating yourself and going around in circles to get your point across.


2. Ability

Do they actually have the ability to do the job you’re asking them to do?

Do they have the knowledge and the skills? If not, they might need some form of training to get them up to speed.

Otherwise, maybe they just aren’t capable of picking up what you’re asking them to do.

In that case, we might need to take a look at our hiring process and ask whether there was more we could have done to weed out applicants who weren’t really up to scratch in the first place.

It could be that we didn’t advertise broadly enough, cast the net wide enough, to reach the best applicants.

Or maybe we could’ve sorted through the applicants more effectively by doing short phone interviews to make sure we sat down with the best applicants. And so on.

Having the right person for the right role is crucial.


3. Willingness

Being clear on their role and having the ability to do their role might not be of any use if your team member isn’t willing to do their job properly.

Maybe they’ve got a motivation problem or a bad attitude.

Maybe they really are just a bad apple.

The last thing to think about is this:

What is this person’s situation – is there something going on in their life?

Maybe they’re struggling with some family issues, relationship issues, or physical or mental health issues.

And it’s worth considering this because you might be dealing with a diamond in the rough, or a top performer who’s just having a bad run.

So simply checking in and taking a minute to ask how things are going can make a huge difference.

Stand by someone during a trying time and you could earn the loyalty of a fantastic employee.


So before you write off a team member, ask:

1. Are they clear on their role?

2. Do they have the knowledge, skills, and ability to perform the role?

3. And do they really lack the willingness to perform the role or is there other stuff affecting their performance?


To your team’s success,



P.S. Whenever you’re ready… here are some ways I can help you grow your Plumbing, Electrical or Similar Service Business:

Join the Profitable Tradie Chat Group to connect with other Plumbing, Electrical and similar service business owners. It’s a private Facebook group where you can ask questions about client and staff hassles, pricing, choosing job software, systems etc. – Click Here

If you’d like some help to improve your business and find out more about the Profitable Tradie system that's helped 1354 trades business owners improve their profit, get more time and make their business less reliant on them - Click here to fill out a quick survey and book a Free 15 Minute Call. This is a chance to make sure our system will definitely help your business and we then can then talk next steps.


Author bio

Tony Fraser-Jones, Managing Director at Profitable Tradie

Tony, an experienced businessman who has spent the last 11 years building Profitable Tradie and working with over 1354 businesses to specialise in helping Plumbers, Electricians and other tradesmen make more profit and create freedom from their business.

Our clients have labeled me as “_the person to call when you’re sick of thinking small._” The challenge I set for myself and you is how to continually be thinking about playing a bigger game. Better results always start with bigger thinking!

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