Dealing with Disrespectful Employees

Instructor: Beth Hendricks

Beth holds a master's degree in integrated marketing communications, and has worked in journalism and marketing throughout her career.

Disrespectful employees can create problems with workplace morale and job productivity. In this lesson, you'll learn more about handling disrespectful employees quickly and effectively with action steps you can put in place immediately.

A Disrespectful Situation

You've called a meeting and, as it's starting, you look around the room and notice an obvious absence: Rebecca. For weeks now, you've struggled with Rebecca as a member of your team. She's blown off a few appointments, has been disagreeable with her fellow co-workers and has seemingly ignored a couple assignments you've sent her direction. Rebecca has stopped responding to emails, shows up late to the meetings she makes it to and spends the entire time looking at her phone and rolling her eyes when she thinks you aren't looking.

Looks like you've found yourself in a tricky situation with a potentially disrespectful employee. Dealing with disrespect in the workplace can leave you feeling frustrated and cause problems with employee morale, work productivity and even the bottom line. What you need is a plan for dealing with disrespectful employees so you can address the problem quickly and effectively. This lesson will give you some tips for how to bring resolution to the problem of disrespect in the workplace.

Dealing with Disrespect: An Action Plan

Every manager is bound to have to deal with a problem employee from time to time. Handling that employee in the proper way is what separates a good manager from a so-so one. Here are some ideas for handling an employee who has turned disrespectful.

1. Remember the why. Why did you hire this person in the first place? Likely, because they were the best fit for the job. Remember their professional abilities and remove your emotions from the equation. Remind yourself of their capabilities and separate the professional from the personal.

2. Assess yourself. Is it possible you're contributing to the problem? If you're setting unattainable expectations, changing your mind often or unknowingly offending your staff, use this as an opportunity to examine your own strengths and weaknesses and tweak where necessary.

3. Address the disrespect promptly. The best way to handle a disrespectful employee is quickly, coolly and privately. That means that you should arrange a face-to-face discussion, maintain your composure and do it discreetly.

4. Talk, but also listen. No, really listen. Certainly, ask questions and discuss the problems at hand in a non-confrontational way, but ask questions that will allow the disgruntled employee to open up in a way that they feel comfortable expressing their opinions and feelings. It may help you see things from a new perspective.

5. Validate the employee's feelings. You may not necessarily agree with what they've expressed, but by letting the employee know you're listening and taking things to heart, you can create a more open working relationship and environment.

6. Implement an open door policy. Let your employee know they can come to you at any time with problems, concerns or frustrations. Being available helps your employee see that you're willing to listen and address problems as they arise.

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