One of the greatest challenges many leaders face is managing difficult people.

What do you do with an employee who does not work well with the rest of the team? And what if this person is someone who gets the job done?

This person might be referred to as a “hot dog” or just as someone with a bad attitude. Your first instinct might be to get rid of this person.

Unfortunately, it is not that easy to get rid of people anymore. Some companies are dealing with unions, others are family businesses in which the person is a family member or it could be someone the company cannot afford to do without.

Here are four suggestions to help you deal with difficult people in your organization.

1. Communicate, communicate, communicate. It is very important to let people know where they stand. This can be done with a meeting to focus specifically on the problem.

Another way of doing this more discretely is through a performance evaluation. This gives you the opportunity to share your feelings with the individual without just focusing on the problem.

2. Work through a friend. When dealing with difficult people, trust could be an important bridge to get through to them. A friend can sit down one-on-one and give specific examples of how the person’s comments or actions were out of line and even hurtful.

A person who communicates genuine friendship can make the difference in someone whose behavior has always kept others away.

3. Take responsibility. You, as the leader of the company, are responsible for each individual. Don’t expect the problem to just go away. To be part of the solution, it is important to take the necessary steps to get it resolved and follow through.

4. Work around the problem. If you have exhausted all other alternatives and the person has not indicated any willingness to change, isolate the person. If the problem is limited to a few people, find ways to keep the person away from them. Reassign duties or territories or whatever is necessary.

Managing a difficult person is rarely easy, especially when the person is a contributor to your company’s success. Don’t wait to deal with that person, as that will just lead to more problems.

Dealing with difficult people is part of business but it shouldn’t become a distraction to you or the rest of your team.

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