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Seb Anthony

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Help with a difficult person


I have a specific problem with an engineer under my control and I was hoping you could give me some advice or point me in the right direction to get information that may help.
Briefly, the engineer in question uses every conceivable excuse not to carry out his normal duties. He is a particularly good engineer but uses his technical knowledge to disguise his abject laziness. He is also extremely unhelpful, bordering on obstructive.
I have no reasonable explanation for this behaviour but can only add that there may be a certain amount of resentment on his behalf over my position.

Any ideas?


Jennifer Topping

2 Responses

  1. Issues
    Hi Jen

    I am a management tutor and come accross this situation quite often.
    It can seem all consuming when you are at the centre of it but with a little thought and communication it can be overcome.

    If you liken it to school, a student mis-behaves and after only a short time becomes branded as a problem pupil and you bet, they behave like a problem pupil!
    It is no different in the work place – we are all kids with wrinkles!

    I have recently had a management student ‘sent’ to me because thier behaviour was seen to be difficult but they are fab at thier job. After much discusion during workshops it became obvious that this ‘difficult’ person had been branded the problem pupil. It turned out that my student was a victim of bullying in the workplace and like school, staff had ‘ganged up’ and were making her life a misery by with holding info that she needed to do her job etc…

    I guess what I am trying to say is that there is a reason why your guy is behaving as he is. My advice would be to try and talk with him and if you think there is no room for discussion beween the two of you, maybe you could enlist the help of someone third party – HR if you have this facility.

    Find out what it is that is making him unhappy but be very careful how you broach this and keep ownership of what may come from this, the last thing he wants is to be told that ‘everyone’ thinks the same as you.

    Use a counselling approach and you should if you try and keep trying get to the bottom of it. Just remember he has feelings too – clearly.

    If you would like to contact me to discuss please feel free [email protected]

    Good luck

  2. Information available
    Hi Jennifer

    I have some information on how to manage difficult people – particularly around understanding why they might be difficult in the first place!

    Please contact me if you’d like to receive this – [email protected].

    Best wishes


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