Dealing with Troublemakers at Work  


When we are tasked to be the manager of a specific organization, the job description entails managing the people as well not just the monetary investments of the company. We can handle the toil but it is challenging to manage our people knowing that they are from different backgrounds. No matter how we dislike managing people, we have to carry it out because it is part of our job.


There are different types of people in a workplace. Some are kinder than the others but there will always be troublemakers. These troublemakers may not be pulling our hairs or stealing our lunch but their mere presence in our workplace can make us dread going to work – it is the worst feeling. Their personalities are toxic enough to give us stress and affect our performance.

Before filing for a grievance or totally firing the troublemaker, there is still something that we can do to manage these kinds of people. We should at least try and give them chance – unless they had several chances in the past. Here are some pre-emptive things that we can consider as managers:

  • Minimize contact: As managers, we want to be approachable and authoritative at the same time. We do not want to be lenient or too strict. The best thing to do when encountering the troublemaker is to minimize the contact we have with them. The contact should be purely professional and do not engage to any conversation that can give that troublemaker ammunition against us.
  • Maintain integrity: Many people see us as model and if we engage in the troublemaker’s games, we will lose our integrity. Many people might even think that we instigated everything. We should not be tempted with their fight.
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  • Treat them respectfully: If there are many complaints against the troublemaker in the office, the least thing that we can do is treat them respectfully at the same time ask where the hostility is coming from and try to resolve it with the team. Let the troublemaker know that his/her actions against his/her co-workers will not be tolerated. Avoid lecturing or threatening the troublemaker because he/she may see it as an opportunity.
  • Establish good communications: Good communications is important. We have to be pleasant, take interest in the lives of our employees, give credit where it is due and respond to their request of assistance. If we act this way, our employees will follow our example and if the troublemaker will attempt to slander us, there will be no audience to back her.

It is challenging enough to manage an organization here in Singapore let alone deal with the troublemakers. However, we have to help these troublemakers before we decide it is hopeless.


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