How to Deal With Needy Subordinates
Dealing with needy subordinates is a difficult task for most managers. Few managers handle the situation really well, and many of them try to avoid it. These managers, to be specific, just avoid giving attention to such subordinates, unless it’s absolutely necessary. In such case, if they are absolutely required to work with a needy subordinate, they will either delegate the task to someone else, or just ignore the needy subordinate. In such cases, they try to put the needy subordinate in a situation where they have to figure out the problem by themselves.
As a manager I have learned to identify needy subordinates and to deal with them accordingly. Needy subordinates are usually one of three types:
The Pleaser, the Challenger and the User.
- The Pleaser is full of gratitude and dedication but is almost paranoid in their eagerness to please. They can be a total nuisance because they are always asking if you’re happy with their work.
- The Challenger is the one who tries to make your life harder. If you ask them to do something they will say it’s not possible and ask you to do it your way instead.
- As for the User, this one is your typical backstabber who tries to ingratiate themselves to your superiors by showing you up.
Here are five steps to help you deal with the needy subordinate at work, even if it’s your boss:
- Learn about the needy person’s underlying motives.
- Try to teach your needy subordinate about being more self-reliant.
- Be cautious about getting too close to the needy subordinate.
- Set clear boundaries with the needy subordinate.
- Don’t avoid or isolate the needy subordinate at work.
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