Managing the ‘Very’ Difficult Employee

'Problem' Employees

A new study, by Susan L. Ettner, Joanna Catherine MacLean, and Michael T. French indicated that:

  • 18 percent of adult men
  • 16 percent of adult women

have personality disorders that adversely affect how they think and act in the workplace. The study examined personality disorders through face-to-face interviews using standard diagnostic tests.inflatable water slide canada

The disorders may cause a person to interpret memos in distorted ways, envision non-existent conspiracies, interpret innocent comments as personal insults, or refuse to accept simple changes in procedures.

The most prevalent personality disorder is obsessive-compulsive behavior, followed by general antisocial behavior and paranoia. Companies should note that once personality disorders are diagnosed, they are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act and other state-level legislation.

Organizations might use their employee-assistance programs to help individuals identify their problems and seek treatment. Supervisors can also redesign such individuals’ jobs and tasks so they “fit” what they are capable of doing. However, supervisors may eventually need to meet with their legal department to determine how much variation from the norm they find acceptable.

Human Resource Executive Online (06/20/11) Cappelli, Peter

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