Managers have to deal with a wide range of issues, from late projects to machinery not working correctly. Still, the last thing a manager needs is needy or immature employees.

How to approach an immature or needy employee

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Needy or immature employees take up valuable time. If the employees go unchecked, they could become a serious problem. It's not that the employees shirk their work, instead, they're not as efficient as they could be and create potential bottlenecks.

Treat the cause not the symptom

Just because an employee is needy does not mean he or she isn't a good fit for the job. The needy or immature behavior could stem from a past job where their manager micromanaged. The employee could also lack confidence in their own skills or abilities.

As a manager, you need to address the root cause of the needy or immature behavior. If the cause isn't identified and fixed, then the behavior will continue, the employee will never grow, and the issues will increase.

Communicate openly

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Once the root cause has been identified, talk to the employee about their behavior. Remember, the manager needs to come to the employee from a point of empathy. Don't embarrass the employee or make them feel unnecessarily uncomfortable. And don't act impatient or dismissive.

For example, ask the employee something like, "How can I better support you?" The employee should leave this meeting feeling more confident, and like the manager heard him or her.

If the lack of confidence causes needy or immature behavior, open the conversation differently. Sensitivity is still important. Start the discussion by observing there were moments where the employee seemed like they lacked confidence. Then say, "I don't want to get in the way of you reaching your potential. How can we work to correct this?"

Allowing the employee to talk through their insecurities will create a trusting environment, where the manager and the employee can work together to correct the problems.

Actively listen

After asking the initial questions to get the conversation started, take time to hear what the employee has to say. The manager has the responsibility to actively listen and come to a real solution. If you don't give them the attention they need, then the meeting is wasting both the manager's time and the employee's time.

Solutions to needy or immature behavior

Connect

Sometimes employees feel ignored. Coming to the manager frequently can be an excuse to get more one-on-one time. If that's the cause of the needy or immature behavior, make it a point to spend time connecting with the employee. This doesn't have to be formal, either. Just stop by the employee's desk or cubicle and chat for five minutes or so, showing interest in their work or personal life.

Praise

Lack of confidence can stem from an employee receiving little praise and reassurance. Managers need to remember to give praise for a job well done. This praise could even be for just making a deadline or getting a project done quickly. The praise doesn't need to come with a lot of fanfare or commotion. A simple "thank you" and "great job" can do wonders for a needy or immature employee.

Give support

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An employee could be struggling with a particular project or aspect of their daily tasks. When this comes up, you need to do everything in your power to help. Give the employee the tools to either gain more training or more education. Do whatever it takes to build up the employee's confidence.

Set boundaries

If none of these solutions work, there might be a need to speak more directly and set boundaries with the employee. It doesn't need to be a harsh conversation, but you should be clear about your schedule and availability.

If they want to meet with you, say, "Sure! I have 15 minutes to talk to you" or "I am on my way to a meeting, can we table it for this afternoon?" This way, you're not brushing off the employee, but setting clear expectations about your time.

Having a needy employee affects the productivity of two people. Once the needy or immature behavior becomes disruptive, it needs to be taken care of quickly. The faster it's addressed, the better.