Although all businesses need consistent policies and procedures in order to succeed, most organizations violate their own rules when faced with very difficult people who happen to be necessary for success. I call these people and situations “special cases.”

To read the rest of this article from the Denver Business Journal, see: Deal with difficult, but necessary, people at work

Special cases are often:

  • Creative geniuses - like scientists, artists or software developers - whose bullying, abusive behavior must be tolerated because only they can create the product that everyone else depends on.
  • Relatives who company founders insist on keeping.
  • A leader’s favorites or special “pets.”
  • Individuals who dedicated their lives during the initial development of a company, but now their behavioral quirks, obsessive interference in all operations or lack of a specialized skill diminishes further contributions.

The value of these special cases to the leader, the company and the rest of the staff must outweigh the problems that result from the amount of energy it takes to deal with them, their high salaries, influence on leaders, insistence on doing things their way, jealousy created if they flaunt their special position or the decrease in productivity, morale and teamwork they can cause.

If they disrupt operations or refuse to be contained, then they must go.

In order for the company to run smoothly and effectively, accommodations must be made on both sides and some effective working agreements must be honored.  See the original article for details.

  • There will be only a few special cases and they will be known and recognized.
  • They will be a fairly constant factor.  Leaders should not vacillate between keeping them and wanting them terminated over specific situations.
  • The company can afford the money, time and energy.
  • Leadership will develop a plan to minimize their secondary effects.  Managers and other staff must accept the arrangements or transfer.  Employees who deal with these difficult people may need “hazard duty” pay.
  • Managers must be allowed to handle special cases. Leaders must push complaints from the special case back to the manager.
  • Special cases must accept limitations on their unique treatment.

Employees who are so aggressive and litigious that management is afraid to apply the standards must not be allowed to stay.

Also, leaders must search for replacements while they’re tolerating these poor attitudes and behavior.  People will put up with great difficulties and inequities as long as there’s light at the end of the tunnel.

Creating special cases means that not everyone is being treated identically.  But that’s the way of the world –- certain individuals get unique treatment.  That’s how we treat our own families, friends and those we depend on.  Sometimes it’s even necessary for our companies to thrive.

Often, individuals need coaching and organizations need consulting to help them design and implement a plan that fits the situation.  To get the help you need, call Ben at 1-877-828-5543.