Every dealership has a needy employee (or two or three...). You want to be there for them and answer their questions, but you have your own work to do. How can you balance the situation and avoid frustration for you or your employee? Journalist Rebecca Knight outlines some strategies in this article for Harvard Business Review

1. Reflect on the source of the neediness.
The first step in dealing with a team member who needs extra handholding is to figure out what’s driving the person’s neediness.The cause might be “insecurity” or lack of confidence. Or, it could be that they haven't received enough direction on how to do a task. Your ultimate aim is to come at the problem from a point of empathy.

2. Talk to your employee.
Next, talk directly to your employee about your observations of the behavior. Don't be impatient or angry. Simply and objectively bring up your concerns about how they are doing their job.

3. Listen.
Once you’ve said your piece, listen carefully to how your employee responds. Does your employee require more direction? A deeper relationship with you? More training? Or something else altogether? For instance, try praising and reassuing them; offer more support; or set new goals.

4. Set boundaries.
If your employee continues to take advantage of your open-door policy, begin to set clear boundaries. For instance, set aside a limited time to answer their quesitons or a schedule to meet with them. 

Here are some basic principles to remember when dealing with a needy employee:


  • Reflect on the cause of the neediness.
  • Talk to your employee and brainstorm ways to fix the problem and help them gain confidence in the workplace.
  • Model healthy boundaries. You’re not helping your team members grow if you’re constantly available.


  • Lose sight of the fact that your role as an owner or manager is to create an environment that’s energizing for your team. Be supportive.
  • Neglect to connect on a human level with your needy worker. Just five extra minutes per day can make a big difference.
  • Ignore a situation that doesn’t improve. If the neediness impacts the employee’s work performance, it may be a sign that this person is not up to the job.

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