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How to deal with troublemakers

Dealing with troublemakers can be very annoying and at times frustrating, as they tend to disrupt the work atmosphere and affect others’ performance. Here are some tips on dealing with troublemakers.

Dealing with troublemakers can be very annoying and at times frustrating, as they tend to disrupt the work atmosphere and affect others’ performance. Here are some tips on dealing with troublemakers.

Identify the troublemakers

The first and the foremost obvious thing to do is to identify the troublemakers at your workplace. Some people openly harass other coworkers in the office just to spoil others’ work and grab attention for themselves. It is very easy to spot such people and once you do, make all efforts to stay away from them. However, some people are very sneaky in their trouble making. They are skilled in disrupting the working environment without letting anyone know that they themselves were responsible for it. It will take some time to identify such people, but once you are able to single out the troublemakers in your office you can take concrete action against them. The best course of action is to stop giving them the attention they want and it is more than likely that the trouble making will stop.

Do not react

You should try to find out why that person behaves in such a way. There could be many reasons for his troublesome behavior. Some people feel that only by interrupting others during presentations or speaking out in between meetings will they get attention and praise from others. What they don’t realize is that this does nothing but give them negative attention. The best reaction towards a troublemaker is no reaction at all. When they realize that no one is paying attention to them, the trouble making may stop. However, even if the troublemaker turns more aggressive, you don’t have to react to his actions. Stay calm and don’t give any emotional responses as you will only end up fueling his negative energy.

Document all trouble making evidence

Once you have identified the troublemakers at your office, your next step should be to document all incidents of trouble making. Note down all minute details such as the date, time, project, nature of disruption, name of the troublemaker, and also names of other coworkers who witnessed the incident. For example, if the troublemaker interrupts you while you are giving an important presentation or is interfering in your working space such that you are not able to concentrate on your work, you need to note all these incidents carefully, including all minute details. You can also take help from your coworkers as obviously the antics of the troublemaker do not affect you alone. Having more people on your side, who are also ready to stand as witness, when it comes to confronting the troublemaker, is always advantageous.

Speak with the troublemaker

Your next step should be to speak with the troublemaker and let him know how his behavior is affecting your performance. You can use the document evidence as proof to show him how and when his trouble making has caused inconvenience to you and other employees. You can also schedule a meeting with the Human Resources department of your office and show them the documented proof of his unprofessional behavior. If the troublemaker is your subordinate, you can make him understand that such behavior will not be tolerated. You can also give him a warning saying that his behavior will be monitored for a period of time and if he does not mend his ways, strict action will be taken against him.


What do you do if even after interacting with the troublemaker or raising your concerns to the Human Resources, there is no change in the troublemaker’s behavior? If you are the troublemaker’s colleague you can ask your manager to either change your project/department or his. If that also does not seem to work, considering options outside is also not a bad idea. On the other hand, if you are in a superior position, then you have the option of terminating such an employee as you can not afford to let his behavior negatively affect other employees’ performance. However, always remember to keep this as a last resort, only after having tried all the above methods to deal with the troublemaker.

Dr Prem Jagyasi

Dr Prem Jagyasi

Author, Publisher & Global Speaker at DrPrem.com
Dr Prem is an award winning strategic leader, renowned author, publisher and highly acclaimed global speaker. Aside from publishing a bevy of life improvement guides, Dr Prem runs a network of 50 niche websites that attracts millions of readers across the globe. Thus far, Dr Prem has traveled to more than 40 countries, addressed numerous international conferences and offered his expert training and consultancy services to more than 150 international organizations. He also owns and leads a web services and technology business, supervised and managed by his eminent team. Dr Prem further takes great delight in travel photography.
Dr Prem Jagyasi
Dr Prem Jagyasi
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