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American Association for Physician Leadership
American Association for Physician Leadership

The Problem Employee: How to Manage the Employees No One Wants to Manage


Healthcare executives must keep their problem employees in line (and keep turnover to a minimum) or fire them without incurring legal consequences. Yet, it is difficult to know how to bring problem employees back into line and to minimize and contain the damage they do. Many healthcare executives find the task to be a challenging, time-consuming, and vexing test of their leadership ability and patience.

The Problem Employee presents complete, clear, how-to-do-it strategies for managing problem employees and delves into 17 of the most challenging and diabolical problem employees that healthcare leaders are likely to encounter. This is the book healthcare executives will need whether they find themselves supervising a toxic, untrustworthy, pessimistic, burned out, lazy, overworked, cliquish, or childish employee -- or whether they manage a prima donna, a drama queen, a bully, a gossip, or even a slob.

What this book will do for you:

  • Provide an at-your-fingertips ready resource that you can use today and tomorrow. Read individual chapters right away to help you manage your current problem employee. But also use this book as a career-long on-the-shelf reference that you can return to again and again as you (or one of your direct reports) encounter new and different types of problem employees.

  • Teach you a tailored approach to managing the most common types of problem employees. There is no one-size-fits-all cookie cutter strategy that will work with every problem employee. This book takes a deep dive into 17 different types of problem employees. You’ll learn what’s behind each problem employee’s unique behavior -- why a gossip gossips, a bully bullies, a prima donna is a prima donna, and a drama queen is a drama queen. Most importantly, you’ll learn how to tailor your management strategy according to each problem employee’s needs.

  • Boost your confidence. Managing problem employees is a difficult, sometimes confusing, and often lonely task. The Problem Employee will help you to feel more confident because you will know what to do (and not do), when to do it, and how to do it, step-by-step. As well, each chapter includes a bonus feature that will give you examples of policies, helpful tips to share with your employees, or lessons about the variations in problem employees that often crop up.

  • Teach you how to manage a star performer. While we can’t classify star performers as problem employees, they do require special care and handling. This book includes a bonus chapter that addresses the special challenges of managing star performers. It also teaches you how to minimize jealousy and resentment from the rest of your healthcare team.

If you’re a healthcare executive or leader who manages even one employee, The Problem Employee is for you.

About Author(s)
Table of Contents

Laura Hills, DA, has accomplished many things over a distinguished 40-year career but defines herself first and foremost as an educator. Her passion is to teach professionals how to build better relationships, communicate more effectively, and lead others. She is well known for her programs, books, and articles, and notably, has been the staff development columnist for The Journal of Medical Practice Management since 1998.

Dr. Hills has grounded her work in a rigorous academic foundation. She holds a Doctor of Arts in higher education with a focus on adult learning and leadership and wrote and published her award-winning dissertation on leadership legacies. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland, with her husband, Cornell Hills, and is the mother of three adult daughters.

For over 45 years.

The American Association for Physician Leadership has helped physicians develop their leadership skills through education, career development, thought leadership and community building.

The American Association for Physician Leadership (AAPL) changed its name from the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE) in 2014. We may have changed our name, but we are the same organization that has been serving physician leaders since 1975.


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AAPL providers leadership development programs designed to retain valuable team members and improve patient outcomes.

American Association for Physician Leadership®

formerly known as the American College of Physician Executives (ACPE)