Dangers of not confronting a problematic employee

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Within an organizational setting, conflicts are due to emerge from time to time. However, in most cases, most of these conflicts are traced/linked directly to certain employees. This is to say that they are mostly the source of conflict in the workplace (Katz & Flynn, 2013). If this is the case, it’s always recommended to confront them head on about their actions as opposed to avoidance. When avoidance is done it can create problems in the workplace. For instance, problematic employees create a hostile working condition for other employees.

The other employees are therefore stressed which affects both the productivity and quality of work produced. Also, employee turnover is affected in that effected employees will tend to find healthier working environments where they aren’t conflicted/disturbed by the problematic employees (Katz & Flynn, 2013). This may cause the company to lose some of its most talented and qualified personnel all because the management/supervisor chose to ignore confronting the problem employee

Most of the problems in today’s work environment are done through use of teams. When one of the employees becomes a constant headache, divisions within the team arises .Members are forced to pick sides not for the achievement of goals of the company; but in the basis of who is right and who is wrong. Once this occurs the team can no longer deliver on their projects, stay positive, productive or communicate effectively which creates an unhealthy culture in the workplace (Katz & Flynn, 2013). Lastly, lack of confrontation on the wrongdoer will lead to unhealthy confrontations.

Within a company, there are healthy ways of resolving conflicts which are often a success. However, once there are unresolved and bottled feelings, it will blow up as two opposing parties confront one another and often in negative verbal arguments which can lead to physical confrontations. Therefore, by confronting the problematic employees, abuses, fighting, further arguments, conflicts etc. are avoided.



Introduction: New Research on Managing and Resolving Workplace Conflict: Setting the Stage. (2016). Managing and Resolving Workplace Conflict, ix-xxxi. doi:10.1108/s0742-618620160000022001

Katz, N. H., & Flynn, L. T. (2013). Understanding Conflict Management Systems and Strategies in the Workplace: A Pilot Study. Conflict Resolution Quarterly30(4), 393-410. doi:10.1002/crq.21070


Also read: Conflict Management: Difficult Conversations with Difficult People

Not confronting a problematic employee

Problem employees are not only irritating but may also be financially draining for the business. They surface in most workplaces, from startups to established companies. A problem employee is not just between one employee and another. When one person makes life difficult for other employees, it becomes a major distraction (Woodcock, 2017). The air of dissent caused by problem employees affects everyone and can have a significant impact on the organization if they are not handled early. The following risks can be realized if a problem employee is not confronted.

Failure to confront problem employees erodes trust in a team. Problem employees are not able to meet the deadline (Dyer Jr., 2015). Problem employees produce below-par work that fails to meet the expectations of the team members. This reduces trust in a team since members can no longer rely on the problem employee to accomplish team objectives.

Avoiding confronting problem employees also reduces the teams’ productivity (Woodcock, 2017). Problem employees don’t only fail to meet deadlines, but they also make it difficult for the other employees to complete their tasks. Problem employees don’t work well with others. They find it difficult to form a positive relationship with their fellow employees.

Avoiding confronting problem employees affects team decision making (Dyer Jr., 2015). Problem employees fail to take responsibility and blame others around them for their poor outcomes. In decision making, taking responsibility for one’s decision plays a crucial role. It is the only way an individual can learn from his or her own mistakes. Besides, when a problem employee is not confronted, other members of the team tend to give up and might leave the company (Woodcock, 2017). Because of the adverse effects resulting from ignoring conflict, employees are bound to seek for more comfortable workgroups.

Another risk encountered when a team leader fails to confront problem employees is that team reputation goes down (Woodcock, 2017). Since productivity would be probably low, it will be seen like it is a group of lazybones because of just one person. Other team’s attitudes towards the team will change as well as that of the bosses. If it were a sensitive team, the brand of the company would weaken as customers will tend to find alternative providers who offer high-quality products and better customer experiences.



Dyer Jr, W. G. (2015). Team building. Wiley Encyclopedia of Management, 1-2.

Woodcock, M. (2017). Team development manual. Routledge.

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Last Updated on August 20, 2020 by Essay Pro