Attention managers – and management wanna-bes: if you want to keep your career moving forward, you need to learn to identify and deal with problem employees. Here are 3 signs you’ve got a bad apple in your bunch:

  • They issue ultimatums, like saying, “If you don’t pay me more, I’m gonna quit.” Management expert Matthew Swyers says that ultimatums rarely resolve differences. More likely, they’re a sign of a bad fit between employer and employee. Plus, ultimatums undermine your authority. So, if an employee keeps saying, “Give me a raise or I’m leaving,” it’s probably best to let them go.

  • They’re always complaining. Gary Topchik is the author of Managing Workplace Negativity. And he says a good employee isn’t afraid to point out problems – but they always have a potential solution. But people who criticize just to criticize, and don’t come up with a constructive way to fix the problem, will drag down the company’s morale and trash worker productivity.

  • They pass the buck – and always blame somebody else. Human resources specialist Roberta Matuson says that people who say, “That’s not my job!” or “It’s not my fault” have no interest in being part of a team. And even if they’re top performers in one area, their refusal to help – or to accept any blame – will only breed resentment among their coworkers.

Bottom line: If you’re a manager, and workers in your department are always issuing ultimatums, constantly complaining, or never helping out when deadlines loom, it may be time to let them go.