So you didn’t read our earlier article ( on how to form an effective team and now you’re stuck with two or three employees who drive you crazy. While you might be feeling crazy, you certainly don’t want to ruin your relationship with them as they’re contributing to your business in some ways. Follow these three proven tips to deal with your own Troublesome Tim.

1. Pick your Battles

You probably learned this one growing up. Back then it meant not asking your parents for anything one weekend so you could go out the next, and to be frank in this context it’s pretty much the same. Focus on what you really need from your employee — if you need this troublemaker to finish a project that’s vital to your business, then show case that as a priority by giving them some license to miss some meetings or come in late to work. Prioritize what’s important so what needs to get done still gets done.

2. Set Positive Incentives

Take out your best employees to the nicest restaurants in the city, give a hefty bonus to your employee of the month, whatever. Just make sure there’s some reason or motivation for your average employee to be better. Find out what motivates them and then try to use that to make them a productive member of your team. Everyone has motivations, so it’s just up to you to find theirs.

3. Talk to the Them

Finally, and most importantly, talk to your employee. However, you need to make sure you do this constructively! Don’t go up to them and tell them everything they’re doing that makes you want to fire them. First, make sure they’re aware of the expectations you have for them at your company — if you haven’t already done that when you hired them (tip: if you didn’t, start doing it for the next hires you make). Secondly, if they’re not fulfilling those expectations right now, try to help them to make a plan of action to fulfill those expectations. Third, if there are problems with this employee, out of their control or not, try to work around them to make them the most productive they can be. Remember, you don’t want to have a revolving door of employees, which is why you can’t just go firing everyone. If you happen upon a less than stellar employee, make them a stellar one. Or, if you have to let them go at least make sure you put your best effort into trying to keep them as when they leave your office, they are less likely to speak out against your company and taint it.