How to handle a Disgruntled employee


disgruntled employeeThere is a big question about employee engagement in our companies. The figures do not show a very uplifting picture. Worldwide research shows that 1 in 5 employees has emotionally dropped out of their own organization. So no involvement, no connection, no development, growth and therefore returns.

But there is hope, as we can do something about it. In this article, I will list 4 golden tips on how to handle disgruntled employees, get people connected again, not only with each other, but also with the manager and with the organization.

However, I will start by giving you an insight on the various reasons that employees are being disgruntled. And in case you would be totally fed up with the corporate jungle already, please check out my perfect escape route at the end of this article.

1. Inconsistency / frequently changing priorities 

Good employees find it very annoying that their management does not really know what they want, nor have a clear goal in mind. Even after specifically asking the questions. As a result, they become demotivated and they are annoyed by the ever-changing plans.  Employees hang their heads every time a new initiative is introduced that deviates from the already drawn-up plan. Management’s indecisiveness will have devastating effects on the organization.

2. High standardshigh standards

Often the performance of good employees is examined with very close scrutiny. Measures will also follow quickly if they do not meet expectations. This should not be a problem in itself. High performers are critical of their own functioning and their surroundings.

But they also expect this from their management and towards the entire organization. A company can only achieve top performance if every employee is measured by the same standards.

So, when some staff would be treated differently, like with more leniency, be assured that the good ones will get annoyed.

3. Job content does not match expectations

Very good employees want to be able to do what they do best and not be used for many other tasks. They consider themselves Mustangs and get frustrated when they think they are being used as golf carts. They withdraw from their assigned duties and responsibilities. There is a clear lack of follow-up to their responsibilities. General complaining about anything and everything. Nobody wants that, so management should have a clear view of how to use their staff best. This is just a matter of good communication.

4. Under-utilizing they’re potential

ford mustangSame as above: If you are (or think you are) a Mustang, you don’t want to waste your time doing insignificant work or performing on a level under par.  They would then perform tasks that are not their responsibility. They get in the way of everyone. People start to work on their own and this in a way that disturbs others. This will then go from bad to worse. And again, it will be easy to find out what is wrong and then adapt.

5. Having favorites in the workplace

Good employees strongly believe in precisely executed top performance. In fact, it’s their air and water. If you ignore such results and start picking out favorites within the company that essentially don’t deserve it, they will revolt. They will clearly feel undervalued or put on the same level as all the others. Your best employees will be gone before you even realize it.

So, how do you get your employees in a new direction? Here are 4 golden tips.

Tip 1. Do not shy away from resistance

Employee dissatisfaction can be annoying, but at the same time it is a relief, namely, dissatisfied employees are at least not indifferent. At least not yet, that indifference is indeed lurking when the prevailing dissatisfaction is not dealt with properly. You just have to be aware

The pitfall is to label dissatisfied employees as dissatisfied people, who are “just that way”, unchanging. In doing so, you brush aside the potential value of their thoughts and deny their (albeit unpleasant) invitation to contact.

Make sure you don’t let the prevailing negativity influence you. Invite the disgruntled employee for a sincere conversation, showing an interest in his / her thoughts. Show where these thoughts already tie in with what is happening or will happen, where they can add something valuable and where they simply don’t add up.

By showing genuine interest, someone feels valued, part of the group and perhaps most importantly, part of the solution.

Tip 2. Get to know your people

Gone are the days of lifelong loyalty to one employer, most people are committed to their careers, not their companies. That is why it is important that employees feel that they have the opportunity to contribute with all their knowledge and skills so that people feel valued and will stay.

In addition, employees want to be able to develop, they want to feel that there are opportunities for growth and that they can seize opportunities that suit them. Certainly young employees, certainly the highly educated ones. Regular personal contact is essential for this.

It is not necessary to have an in-depth conversation every week but develop sensitivity, alertness, to see or create opportunities for different employees so that you can provide them. Know who can shine in what and what someone else wants to learn and work to make that happen. This way people are inspired to connect with the work they do.

Tip 3. Let go of control

loosen reinsA direct result of sincere contact with employees is that you create an atmosphere that makes connection possible and in which people give each other something. It works to discover common values, between employees and between employees and the company. Discussing personal and collective goals makes people feel seen and appreciated and that there is a future ahead of them. This requires managers to be able to let go of control, to loosen the reigns.

The worse it goes, the more likely people are to tighten those reigns properly, but that only creates more resistance. Working together successfully means trusting each other, and trust can only build when you connect and get to know each other.

By making personal contact, showing genuine interest and connecting, you know exactly what you have to offer and you know what you can rely on. Trust is the best sign of appreciation.

Tip 4. Accept the vulnerable feeling

This one may not be that easy, but still works miracles. Making contact, showing that you do not know or master everything, asking what ideas dissatisfied employees have, noticing where opportunities lie for others, it can feel as vulnerable. Sometimes something (or a lot) will have to change to work that way together and that makes you hesitate, that is again that natural resistance to change. Take the risk and build mutual trust.

Ultimately, that connection offers the freedom and security that the entire team needs to be able to grow. An excellent breeding ground for a new foundation.

The impact of connectedness can be immense!

The impact of engaged and connected employees can be immense. The American Gallup Institute has beenconnected emplyees researching employee engagement and commitment for more than 25 years in more than 65 countries.

Their research shows that the increase in employee engagement leads to a growth of 20% in productivity. In addition, the chance that a connected employee will leave the company is 87% lower than an employee who is not engaged and/or connected. In other words, committed employees contribute more and stay longer!

So, here it is for all employers to see the huge benefits of happy employees. But hold on a second. Why are there still so many disgruntled employees? There is an important task here.

The other side

On the other hand, as few as 10-15% of managers have what it takes to make a difference in creating an enjoyable working environment and happy staff. What about the rest of the people? Well, they suffer in one way or another, some more than others. To them I can tell you that there is a way out!

In fact, anybody with a job should prepare an escape route, a sort of backup plan in case something goes awfully wrong. Therefore start making money on the side, start blogging or internet business. Don’t know how? Anybody can do this with the right help.

Check out my full review of the best and most popular, scam-free internet business support program in the world, by clicking here. Any questions? I am gladly prepared to respond to all your questions within 24 hours, depending on which time zone you live.

2 thoughts on “How to handle a Disgruntled employee”

  1. Thank you Jerry for highlighting so many challenges that employees face in the workplace due to incompetent managers. Definitely, every employee needs an escape route in preparation for the rainy days. The Covid-19 induced lay-offs have left many employees like me, exposed and without any fallback. l regret slaving away my time building other people’s dreams instead of building my own business and becoming my own. l hope it’s not too late.

    • I think it is never too late to start your own business, you can never start it too soon. This also goes for the people with a job, as so many times trouble will start. This time it was the Covid-19 measures, next time it will be a bad boss or a bad working environment. This is why I am proposing this escape route for any employee, but especially for the disgruntled ones.


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