Understand Why They are Difficult Subordinates | Emeritus India

Understand Why They are Difficult Subordinates | Emeritus India | Leadership | Emeritus

Understand Why They’re Difficult

Some subordinates at work are difficult to deal with. But have you figured out the reason behind such behaviour? Without diagnosing the reason behind their non-supportive behaviour, you won’t be able to tackle the issue. Dive into this article to get more detailed insights on how to deal with difficult subordinates.

Three Reasons for Difficult Subordinates

Mike Figliulio manages at thought LEADERS LLC, a training and leadership firm. The lifestyle coach has also authored several books on leadership and communication. He points out three prime reasons why certain subordinates are difficult.

1. Skill

Some people in the workplace want to do well. But they might not possess the relevant skill set required to get the job done.

2. Will

On the contrary, some people have the potential to do the job. However, they lack the willpower and determination to do it. They lack the motivation and excitement that push them toward giving out their best efforts.

3. Behaviour

Behavioural issues are also common behind certain subordinates underperforming inside an organization. It’s all about the personality traits of some people. They might have the potential to get the work done. However, they might have a back-stabbing and vindictive attitude. Even if they want to do the work, their functional behaviour might hurt their day-to-day interactions with their colleagues.

How to Solve the Issue and Get Your Subordinates to Perform Well

Now, you know the top reasons your employees might be underperforming. Remember that sometimes a combination of the three factors can also make a person underperform. But how will you eliminate the issues affecting your subordinates and get them to deliver performance according to their fullest potential? Keep reading to find your answers:

1. Solving the Skill Issue

You can always talk to them about the performance gap whenever an employee faces skill issues. When you confront them, you will hear a lot along the lines of “I wanted to, but I don’t know how to.” Once you help such employees acquire the required skills, they will shine bright. You can hold seminars and training programs to ensure your employees have the right skills to perform everything easily.

2. Solving the Will Issue

Will issues appear in employees over time? You will understand that it’s a matter of will when you suddenly notice that one of your best team members starts underperforming. The person might have proved in the past that they have the required skills to excel at their job.
But if you notice a gap or drop in their performance, you must ask them what’s wrong. When someone hits a low in their personal life, it often reflects in their professional lives. They might not be in the right headspace to leverage their true potential at work.
But sometimes, you might figure out by talking to them that they simply lack the motivation to do their job. They might no longer feel challenged or excited about doing what they previously loved. These people might no longer feel inspired to do their job.
As a senior authority at an organization, keeping your subordinates motivated falls under your responsibility. Holding pep talk sessions and providing the best organizational environment enables your subordinates to do their best. But at times, all your employees need a pat on the back or public recognition of the good things they are doing to feel motivated.

3. Solving the Behavioural Issue

When it’s people’s behavioural issues causing a downfall in their performance, you will realize it by talking to their colleagues and peers. You might know that they snapped at a client or verbally abused another employee when they had a clash of opinions. Confront them directly; if they are unwilling to modify themselves, it might be best to let them go.

Documenting facts is crucial for solving performance issues of your employees. You need to show subordinates where they have been underperforming to get them to improve.
Suppose subordinate A has suddenly started being inconsistent with their performance. Talk to them about how they never failed to meet deadlines, but they have been missing them for the past five or six projects.
Suppose subordinate B has walked out of a meeting because someone else had a better idea than them. Ask them directly why they left that particular meeting.
When you document instances that exhibit a lack of performance on behalf of your subordinates, you will find it easier to solve the issues. Your employees will clearly understand what you are talking about and can provide a justifiable explanation. It will ensure that you and your employees can reach a suitable solution together.

Follow Emeritus India to Get the Best Guidance

Emeritus India has multiple resources for you to navigate through the difficulties associated with managing subordinates. With unlimited tips and success from experts, you can get closer to the path of success.

About the Author


Emeritus brings you the latest learning trends, in-demand skills, and research across the most sought-after professions. Discover the benefits of lifelong learning with us.
Read More About the Author

Learn more about building skills for the future. Sign up for our latest newsletter

Get insights from expert blogs, bite-sized videos, course updates & more with the Emeritus Newsletter.

Courses on Leadership Category