Claire Ferguson of Mediacom has some sage advice on dealing with difficult people in the workplace, and explains why you should always take a probation period seriously.
“My best piece of advice on managing difficult individuals is ‘try not to react emotionally’, but it's hard to do that, because clearly you're still talking about people.
You'll find it easier with practice…probably. But always keep a view on the bigger picture i.e. the rest of the team, the impact on the client, or the impact on the rest of the company - perspective is really key.
And always have a wingman, where you've got someone to back you up, if you're in a performance review, for example.
Also - and I've made this mistake a few times - nip it in the bud quickly. So a probation period should always be a probation period for both parties.
One of the biggest issues in business is that people don't take a probation seriously. They assume when they’ve got the job that's that. And often if you've been looking for an individual for a long time in a particular post, you're just so relieved to have somebody through the door that you think it's all done.
Actually, taking that probation period really seriously is probably the biggest learning that I've made in my career, because it just saves you so much emotional trauma for yourself, and whoever that person is, in the long run.”
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About Martin Baker
Martin Baker is the founder and chief executive of Clear Lessons, The Charity Learning Consortium and the Clear Lessons Foundation.
He’s an advocate of collaboration in the L&D industry and is proud to support the unique research of Towards Maturity as a founding Ambassador.