How do I deal with borderline aggressive staff?

How do I deal with borderline aggressive staff?

July 18, 2015

At work, there will be times when you hire someone with qualities such as:

  • being able to lead the team
  • make decisions
  • handle difficulties

and they then turn out to be borderline aggressive. You wanted confidence, what you appointed was aggression.  But they were fine at interview. At interview they wanted to put across how useful they were going to be to you, how you would be hiring someone motivated to get on with the job, and someone who would not require a lot of supervision.  Once appointed that veil slipped and they became difficult to work with, frequently upsetting the other team members and making you question what you were thinking when you recruited them.

The way to handle these people is performance management. Informal performance management can work when we sit down with individuals with a coffee and speak honestly about how we see their performance. Lots of constructive feedback about what they are doing positively and negative and what we want them to change. They may need assistance from you, a reworked job description, guidance as to how we treat others etc.

We document these conversations with a file note afterwards, recalling what was discussed and importantly what was agreed. Someone who is being borderline aggressive may not recognise what how they are coming across.  Your job is to help them to understand. Their job is to change. To them they may being confident. We recommend you use negative feelings assertion when giving feedback, “When you do X we have seen that it makes others feel Y”.

If informal strategies don’t bring about the improvements you seek then formal capability action would be the next stage.

T: 01527 909436


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