Managing The Independent Employee Effectively

Different employees naturally have different personalities. Some are easier to work with than others. One type of personality that can be difficult to work with is the employee who likes to go their own way, do their own thing. And this can be disruptive for the manager of this person.

This independent streak can manifest itself in different ways, depending on the personality of the person. Some people can be argumentative; others simply tune everything out. If you are a supervisor and you have an employee like this, here are some ideas on how to handle them.


The Independent Worker

The independent employee is someone who is not afraid to confront a superior about a plan or directive. In fact, it’s something the person enjoys doing because it shows his autonomy. This kind of employee is eager to give their opinion about things and does not care how others feel about it. Authority does not impress them; in fact, quite the opposite. They enjoy being argumentative and can be very stubborn in their opinions. They don’t care if that makes them unpopular.

This kind of employee has a need to dominate or command a situation. If they feel that anyone is trying to limit their freedom, they becomes adversarial. They are proud of their independence.

To deal with an employee like this, a manager needs to help the person understand that their behavior is very detrimental to their career and could prevent them from achieving their career goals.

The manager can help this employee by turning arguments into conversations on how to solve problems. The manager should encourage proper behavior by responding and listening when the employee is relating in an empathetic way to others. The manager needs to help the person understand that although they  may see themself as independent, others may see them as difficult to work with.

What the manager should not do is let themself be cowed by the employee. A manager should never change plans just because the person is not happy about something. And finally, the manager should never allow themself to be drawn into arguments.

The Worker Who Likes to Be Alone

These are people who simply enjoy working by themselves. They don’t go out of their way to talk to co-workers. They eat lunch alone. They try to avoid meetings whenever they can. They are most likely introverts. They enjoy working things through on their own. They like people, just not the effort it takes to be sociable.

In dealing with people like this, a manager needs to emphasize the importance of working with others and how this can improve performance. The loner needs to understand that with more people, there are more ideas and perspectives that can be provided. The employee also needs to understand that their behavior can be misconstrued by co-workers as rudeness.

Although managers should not stifle the autonomy of these workers, they should set clear expectations about communicating and working with others, and then follow up to be sure the employee is complying. The manager should also help the employee with suggestions on how to go about interacting with others and what approach they should take.

The manager needs to explain the importance of interaction to the loner and how it can improve the functioning of the team or department.


Why should your company work with Insurance Relief?

Insurance Relief is a staffing expert, with a broad range of experience in the insurance industry, working with brokers, carriers and third-party administrators. We take the time to thoroughly evaluate our people and work closely with them to ensure they perform well. Our efforts have been recognized with Best of Staffing awards. Give Insurance Relief a call today for this position or one of many others available.