Inevitably, managers will encounter a number of problems with employees that have an impact on the productivity of the workplace and harmonious interactions with each other. These problems tend to fall into a few categories that recur in almost every work environment. Although you can’t avoid all employee problems, you can deal with them effectively and minimize the lost time, stress and frustration that these problems often cause. Here are five of the most common problems and what you can do to manage the issues.


Every manager has encountered the Negative Nelly or Ned that finds the down side of every problem and every solution. These individuals may not even be aware of their attitude because it has become a habit of their personalities. You can generally help these individuals to be more self-aware of their negative attitudes by having a one-on-one talk with them about their work, their goals for the future and how they can contribute more effectively to work tasks by developing a more positive outlook.

Frequent Absences

The problem of frequent absences comes up regularly in all work environments. Some employees may be dealing with personal issues, are a bad fit for the company or simply do not like their work. You can manage these problems effectively by identifying the problem, document interactions with the employee regarding correction of the problem and institute concrete policies, such as three-tier disciplinary actions to ensure that issues are managed, and all employees are treated fairly.

Boredom/Lack of Motivation

The bored employee is a particular problem because often these individuals have a variety of skills that could be brought to their work if they only felt motivated to do so. Often, taking an interest in these employees can have a beneficial effect on their attitudes. Managers that take the time to ask how these individuals are doing, inquire about interests and involve them in setting work goals can often see a turnaround in their outlooks.

Conflicts between Workers

Two employees that simply do not get along is a common problem in many workplaces, one that creates a feeling of tension and discord that spreads through the workspace.

Getting the two parties to talk together is the most effective route to developing a better understanding. However, this is not always successful. The manager may need to arrange for the two parties to work away from each other in order to preserve an amicable environment for the other employees.


Workplace bullying should never be tolerated and can leave the company open to legal problems if the behavior progresses to violence. A good manager should be connected enough to notice this type of behavior occurring the workplace and should make his or her presence evident in order to help limit it. Individuals with professional training in leadership, such as through a master’s degree, know that managers must take the leadership in documenting these incidents and imposing disciplinary action.

These five employee problems can affect productivity, as well as the entire work environment. Good managers learn to deal with these issues diplomatically, always keeping in mind that some individuals need more guidance than others. If you are able to identify the problems and implement solutions on a case-by-case basis, you will be able to handle any issue that arises. Employee problems are often an opportunity to provide leadership in areas that sometimes go unnoticed.

About the Author: 

Dixie Somers is a freelance writer and blogger for business, home, and family niches. Dixie lives in Phoenix, Arizona, and is the proud mother of three beautiful girls and wife to a wonderful husband.