How to Manage your Difficult Staff with a Team Building Day

February 8, 2023

How to Manage your Difficult Staff with a Team Building Day

Learning how to manage difficult staff can be a daunting task. Whether it’s revenue or morale, a difficult employee can have a detrimental effect on the entire team. Managers have spent countless hours trying to motivate, engage and manage their difficult staff members – without any luck. However, with the right tools, leaders can effectively learn how to manage difficult staff members. Below is a step-by-step guide on how you can manage difficult staff members.

If you are looking to learn how to manage difficult staff members, contact us today and we can provide a quote on workshops and activities that we recommend for your unique team or follow the steps below and learn how to manage those difficult staff members. 

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Step 1: Listen & Observe

What are the issues plaguing the difficult staff member(s)?

Learning how to manage a difficult staff member is draining. If you spend your energy trying to fix the issue the difficult employee creates, before you have learned its origin, it would be like placing a few band-aids over a twisted ankle. We know that you are eager to fix the problem but before you do so, you must be patient, listen and observe. You need to have an open conversation where they feel comfortable enough to speak honestly.

When managing a difficult staff member, it is also important that you observe them - their interactions with their co-workers, and how they respond to situations. Give each difficult employee a week or two of time to observe. By learning how to manage difficult staff members by listening and observing, you will have the knowledge necessary to best manage the difficult staff member(s).

Step 2: Identify

Once you have information from listening & observing it is time to identify the key issues.

Now that you have all the information, it is time to link behaviour with issues. For example, if you observe that your employee is often seen alone, not chatting to other team members, only finishing their sections of work, and not offering to help others, they may not understand teamwork.

Another example is that they don’t perform well under pressure. Maybe they don’t have the organisational tools to prioritise. Maybe they lack motivation, have trust issues, don’t communicate well, or show up late, whatever it may be, there is always something you can identify to help manage your difficult staff.

Step 3: Relate & Create

Relate the issues identified to create a team-building activity day that addresses those issues.

Not a Team Player? = Aqueduct

Learn how to manage difficult staff and encourage teams to work together by building a working Aqueduct! Broken into teams your delegates are given a limited number of resources to construct a section of a working Aqueduct. Once the teams are almost finished, they pool their remaining resources to finish the task at hand. This event requires all hands on deck! It can be facilitated indoors or outside making it the perfect solution. Along the way, managers will learn how to manage difficult staff by encouraging a one-team mentality!

Perform poorly under pressure? =Productivity PUNCH

Productivity PUNCH gives you the tools to manage difficult staff members with a guidebook to establishing excellent time management in any team. Learning how to manage difficult staff can put a strain on your time management. Productivity PUNCH will provide you and your team with the skills required for increased productivity. Even difficult staff will have no excuse but to utilise the evidence-based formula. Productivity PUNCH will tackle procrastination, prioritising, new projects, effective meetings, collaboration and deep work.

Creative block? = Shark Tank

Learning how to manage a difficult staff member could be as simple as allowing yourself the time to brainstorm and research new methods. If your staff aren’t innovating new ideas, you may not be giving them enough space to be creative. Creativity only occurs where space allows for it. Many entrepreneurs and creative industry professionals set aside time in their schedules purely for brainstorming. Your team also need the chance to flex their creative muscles! Your employees (yes even the difficult ones) are on the front line of the business and therefore can come up with a variety of solutions to issues or even a new product or service.

How to motivate difficult staff = Lego Serious Play

Lego Serious Play will help to manage difficult employees by getting them back on track for success. Lego Serious Play is a unique event that will demonstrate how workshopping issues and setting goals can help to manage and motivate difficult staff. This event can be tailored to suit the specific needs of your team. Whether you are looking to create new ideas, set goals, or workshop issues or manage difficult staff Lego Serious Play is a great option for any team.

Difficult staff creating a disconnected team? = Charity Event

How do you manage a difficult staff member? You break down the barriers that they have placed around themselves. Difficult staff can create emotional barriers between themselves and others, leaving the whole team feeling disconnected. By hosting a charity team building event like Bike Brigade or Helping Hands, you offer your team the chance to build meaningful connections. By offering a heart-warming and unique shared experience, even a difficult staff member can see the positive impact.

Appreciation is another positive effect of implementing a charity team-building event to manage difficult staff. Difficult staff often feel undervalued in a self-preserving way, but by the team demonstrating selflessness, the difficult staff member will feel a sense of pride and appreciation and start to break down the barriers that exist between them and others in the team.

How to manage difficult staff members? = Take our Positive Leadership workshop

Managing difficult staff is a challenging task. They seem to take up way too much of your time and energy. Without realising it you have soon neglected your key team members! Get back to basics and extend your wealth of knowledge with our Positive Leadership workshop. Providing you with a new suite of tools to manage difficult staff members. This workshop uses evidence-based research to apply a strengths approach to team motivation and grow emotional intelligence and self-regulation - learning how to manage difficult employees along the way! This workshop will examine exactly how to manage difficult staff.

Build a Stronger Team = Fun Team Building Activities

How do you manage difficult staff members? Well, it would certainly be easier if your team had a solid connection. You can use it to manage difficult staff members, break down barriers, and make them feel like they are part of one big team! There are a variety of ways you can build a stronger team, but, if you want to manage difficult staff members, a great place to begin is with a fun team building activity.

Pair a one of the workshop style events with a fun activity and your difficult staff will become great team players! A few activities recommended to pair with a workshop is a Survivor-style or Amazing Race event where teams compete in a series of challenges - designed to test their creativity and teamwork skills through hilariously fun problem-solving challenges.

Step 4: Take Stock

How did you learn to manage difficult staff?

Now that you have taken the most important steps to manage difficult staff members, it is time to evaluate how well it was received. What went well and what didn’t? It is most important that you reflect on what was received positively. Did they enjoy giving back to those less fortunate as a team, did they enjoy the change in leadership tactics, did they participate more in fun challenges when building a stronger team?

Step 5: Repeat

How to continuously manage difficult staff.

As new team members come and go, you are bound to manage difficult staff at some point in your career. The important thing is to remember that not everyone will respond the same to an experience. The great thing about our Lego Serious Play workshop is that it can be adjusted to meet a different goal each time. If you noticed that your difficult staff members responded well to Lego Serious Play in the previous quarter, but they seem to be slipping back into old habits, you can re-do the Lego Serious Play and tackle another issue or set new goals. If they responded well to the Amazing Race, you could implement a monthly games afternoon.


If you are still hoping to learn how to manage difficult staff members, we can provide a quote on our workshops and team building activities that are tailored to your unique team and situation – providing the tools necessary to manage difficult staff members.


Contact us today!

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