The Biggest Employee Problems:

In a recent survey I asked what are the biggest problems that you are having with your staff. I want to thank those people that were brave enough to share their stories and problems. For your reading pleasure (or horror) I wanted to share these back with you. I will keep this post updated with the best stories I get so please carry on sharing in the comments below. Just reading these stories reminds me of some of the pains I’ve gone through managing staff. It’s not all about the pain though. I have got some positive experiences to share with you at the end and a technique that many managers have found to be helpful with these problems.

The most common issues are long-standing endemic performance problems like poor Matt and Tania have experienced:

Don't let employee problems get to you!

Don't let employee problems get to you!

“My staff does not take deadlines seriously. When they miss it, it is simply extended until the project is finished. This causes a lot of conflict especially for the admin team”


“Poor performance seems to be the norm: laziness, using of company time for personal reasons, more than two hours of lunch break etc.”

- Tania

Painful stories - but the accountant in me is also alarmed at the time and money this is costing. So I looked for some research on how much underperformance costs and most of the studies said between 10 and 50% of your payroll cost.

It also seems as if managers are constantly dragged in to resolve conflicts and disputes:

I think poor Scott is beginning to feel like he doesn’t have time to do his work because he spends his time on “school ground duty”:

“As Administrative Manager for a professional services firm, I supervise a team of eight EA's and one Receptionist. I have received numerous complaints from the staff about one EA. The complaints include her air of "superiority" with the other EA's because she works for the Managing Director”

- Scott

And there are the managers getting pushback and resistance when they try to fix things:

Like Karen and Kate are experiencing:

“Most of my staff thinks that using a feedback tool to monitor their work is considered micromanaging. Should I still continue using a feedback tool? How should I give feedback so that it won't sound like I'm micromanaging?”

- Karen

“However, feedback seems to be a problem as I sometimes see her crying after I give feedback, and I can’t handle the stress or this negative energy that it brings during our session. I do mention positive things that she does.... The negative ones seem to be always magnified...”

- Kate

I don’t know about you but having employee performance communication turn into one of those long emotionally loaded sessions like Kate experiences is one of my top management dislikes.

Managing staff is clearly making us age faster (maybe this is why I lost my hair?!).

I wonder if John still has his because his staff is clearly stressing him out:

“once I’ve cooled off (I’m just so pissed right now…)."

- John

And there were several managers who tried something that didn’t work and then stopped trying like Dante:

“Hi, I have a staff member who is constantly the subject of complaints among team members: bad manners, not returning calls or emails, sloppy work etc... The former manager was avoidant (sic) of any conflict so she never addressed this behavior. I tried to address this problem once (I was not studying any feedback tool then) and while she seemed to be better temporarily but then falls back to her old ways in just a few days.”


So there you have it - a selection of everyday problems that make the life of the manager so hard. I have many more to talk about but I wanted to give you a good representative sample of some of the common issues that managers just like you are experiencing. Personally I have also witnessed situations just like these:

  • Poor performance costing time and money,
  • Emotional conflict during feedback and, 
  • Resistance to change.

Perhaps sharing these problems will make you feel a little better about being a manager. As I keep on saying managing staff is really difficult, so you can be glad that if you’re suffering, you’re not suffering alone.

Of course tea and sympathy isn’t the point of Manager Foundation. The point is how to “Make ManagingEasy”. 

To help I have a series of articles about common employee performance communication mistakes that we make which are causing these problems. 

I've also made the program. It shows you how to improve employee performance in just an hour a week, including proven techniques for employee selection, motivation and retention.

But if you are the type of person that likes to go straight to the solution then I have also got something for you right now: 

If you are a manager who has similar problems to the above and would like to know how to fix the above problems then you need to read about Inspiring Performance Communication.

At the heart of the problem is our approach to addressing employee performance issues. Employees don’t want feedback - feedback immediately conjures up images of being wrapped on the knuckles for poor or unacceptable performance. Employees want inspiring performance communication.

But Inspiring Performance Communication isn’t for everyone because it does take a few hours to find out what Inspiring Performance Communication is and how to adapt it to your unique situation.

But once you know the Inspiring Performance Communication technique you can avoid those long employee performance discussions because it only takes a few seconds to apply. You may feel a little awkward as you practice the technique until it becomes natural. If you’re not prepared to try the above then the technique is not for you and you should look for another solution and you may as well stop reading now.

Like I said in the beginning, there are some positive experiences from the Inspiring Performance Communication technique that I can share…

"It’s a simple technique that produces immediate results, even if you’re not a manager"

- Tim K.

For the Inspiring Performance Communication solution to improved staff performance, this is the link...


Do you know that regular, high quality one-on-ones with your employees are the single easiest management practice. Weekly one-on-one meetings are also the ideal forum to give your employees performance communication. Do one-on-ones right and not only can you can take care of almost all your management responsibilities in one go but they will also deliver you to manager Nirvana . It almost seems too good to be true – which could be why some managers don’t believe in them.

The reason why not every manager believes in one-on-ones is because not every manager knows how to do fast, high quality one-on-ones. As with anything in life, do it wrong and you're simply not going to see the results. But do it right and one-on-ones will change your life and deliver you to management nirvana. 

And the reason why bosses and employees have poor one on ones is simply because no-one shows you how to have high quality One-ones. I know none of my my bosses every taught me this skill and clearly no-one ever showed them either. What I do with Manager Foundation is that I show you the real world boss skills that you need but they don't teach you in university. That's why I made a mini-course on one-on-ones (including a one-on-one template with a one-on-one meeting agenda) which will show you 3 Easy Steps 2 1 on 1's. What I expect you'll find is that you already know some of the content on some type of level but maybe you're not putting it into practice. This will help. As I say this is essential for new managers and helpful for experienced managers.


Do you have any questions, comments or tips about improving employee performance? Help the rest of us out by sharing in the comments below.

Boss Camp

The research indicates that most bosses are disliked and most employees don’t respect their bosses. This is why it’s so hard to motivate your staff. This isn’t someone else’s problem it’s the problem that you have to face every day as boss. WWW.BOSS.CAMP is about tried and tested, ethical management techniques for the every day manager like you and me. So that instead of worrying if your employees like and respect you, you can worry about where to put your world’s best boss mug. The program includes topics such as:

  • How to motivate employees,
  • What are bad employee motivators,
  • What you must do as a manager but isn't on your job description,
  • How leaders get power.