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How to deal with a disrespectful employee

by on
in Leaders & Managers,Performance Reviews

Q. One of our employees constantly twists everything I say around to make the situation seem worse than it is. For example, when I put her paycheck on the counter because she was doing something, she told others that I threw it at her. She has lied about many incidents. I have spoken with her several times and indicated that her actions are unprofessional and disrespectful. This is not good for my reputation. I need a solution. —S.W., Texas

A. First, it’s best to approach this situation with an open mind. You’ll be more successful if you recognize that you and this employee have different viewpoints, and that you both may be “right.” Taking this mind-set before you do anything else will help you hear the employee’s point of view.

Meet with the employee and ask her to describe her expectations of you as a leader. Listen carefully, take notes and let her know that you’ll make every effort to live up to her expectations. Then, ask her to describe examples of when, in her mind, you’ve lived up to her expectations as a leader and when you haven’t. Next, share your expectations of her and describe specific examples of when she has lived up to your expectations and examples of when she hasn’t. In areas that she fell short, give her examples of how she might have handled the problem differently.

If, after your discussion, the behavior continues to occur, conduct an investigation and, if warranted, use your organization’s progressive discipline process to correct the behavior.

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