3 tips to managing difficult employees without it affecting your own mental health

As mental health awareness week draws to an end for another year, I thought I would put thoughts to paper in respect of something, I personally feel, gets left out of this important discussion – the mental health of managers. So here at my thoughts.

For business continuity and success, managers need to manage its people to ensure compliance of process and policy as well as overall profitability. This can come into jeopardy when mangers are unable to manage an employee due to being afraid of the words “stress”, “depression” and “anxiety”. Over time, with a difficult employee, it can lead to the manager suffering from poor mental health themselves and an inability to effectively manage people.

So here are my 3 tips to avoid this:

  1. Identify the medical impairment. This morning I was listening to a doctor on radio 5 and she highlighted that when discussing mental health, we should not forget to distinguish between temporary episodes of poor mental health such as anxiety and clinical conditions such as bi-polar and schizophrenia because the coping mechanisms are very different. So, it is essential, at the earliest opportunity, you sit down with the staff member in question and discuss their medical issue, asking then to explain how it impacts on their role and how you can help them.
  • Obtain medical evidence. Often, it is very difficult for people to identify the reasonable adjustments required to deal with a medical impairment so again, at the earliest opportunity, either request medical evidence from their GP and/or make a referral to Occupational Health (OH). This will allow reasonable adjustments to be identified at the outset.
  • Assess whether the ‘reasonable adjustments’ identified are viable by obtaining legal advice. This is crucial, the medical professionals/OH may have identified adjustments which would not alleviate the disadvantage caused to the employee (an obligation under the Equality Act 2010). If that is the case the business has a legal obligation to communicate with the employee as well as review whether there are other more suitable roles available within the business. Knowing that you are complying with the law will reduce the risk or threat of a grievance thus reducing the stress on you.

If you need help and advice on dealing with this topic, please do not hesitate to contact us on 0113 350 4030 or at hello@scesolicitors.co.uk.

If you have enjoyed this article and would like to be kept updated on HR and Employment Law issues please subscribe to our monthly newsletter.

SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment law and litigation practice based in Leeds which advises clients nationwide. Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here

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