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Respect, Disrespect, and Insubordination In The Workplace

If you are a new manager, you might run into some staff members who don’t respect you. They might have been a candidate for the job you now have or favored a different person. If they have been with the organization for a long time, they may feel like they have outlasted previous managers, so maybe you won’t be around long enough to impact their work-life significantly.  They can try to wait you out or make you miserable. Other employees may feel that they simply know more than you and expect to be consulted on important matters. 

While all employees want to be respected, they must also realize that they need to give respect. 

Leaders should model respect and hard work. Most staff members will take their cues from the boss. As an effective leader, you might have to take the lead and show more respect at the beginning than you get. 

Some people are natural complainers, and there is nothing you will ever do about it. As long as they are doing what is expected of them, you have less of a problem than you might imagine. Some people are just unhappy. Let them know they are being heard, but once you decide or assign work, the. It’s time to move on. 

What should you do if a person bad mouths you behind your back?  Tell them what you’ve heard and ask if the rumor is true? Ask why they are saying what they are? After you’ve listened to their issue, it is appropriate to tell the person that once a decision is made, they need to comply, and complaining won’t change anything other than make them miserable. 

I believe in addressing personnel issues when they occur rather than let them linger. 

There is a difference between an employee who is a complainer versus an insubordinate. 

If behavior crosses that line, then you need to sit the person down and describe why insubordination will not be tolerated. Ask why the person is not following your directives. If the person tries to blame you, turn the conversation back to the problem. This is not about you, and it is not for them to assess your performance. Make it clear that as their supervisor, it is your role to make assignments. Your job is to make sure that work is completed and it is your role to evaluate the work of the staff. Ask what they will do to comply in the future. Let them know that you want them to succeed but that there are consequences for noncompliance. Describe their behavior or performance in neutral and non-emotional terms. Make clear what compliance looks like. Try to describe it in measurable words so that there is no future debate about if success is reached. Make sure that you establish a timeline for when you will again meet.   Follow the meeting, commit the conversation to writing and consulting with your Human Resources Department, so workplace procedures are followed. Your documentation will be valuable should you need to pursue this matter in the future. 

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