Insubordination of employees – Advice??

posted 2 years ago in Career
  • poll:
  • Post # 16
    2398 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: October 2016

    It appears as if your employee has a valid concern. I can only assume you’ve left on time while your people were forced to stay on previous occasions (otherwise, why would she make the CORRECT assumption that you planned to leave at your usual time). In any event, as a long time manager, I would never leave my team to work late while I went home. That’s not leadership. Its not insubordination for her question this behavior.

    Post # 17
    76 posts
    Worker bee
    • Wedding: September 2015

    One thing I wanted to add was that previously my team had a manager with a style similar to yours.  She would demand that we do things but she never wanted to take on any of the tasks herself, then she would leave the office while we were all stuck staying behind.  She lasted a little over a year and our entire team hated her.  Like literally we referred to her as the old hag.  You dont want to be your team’s old hag!  You have to make your team feel valued and appreciated.  As a manager it is SO important to treat people with respect and not get a big head because you are the manager. As someone else said, you lead, you dont dictate.  

    Good luck to you Bee.  I hope you use this experience to reflect on what kind of manager you want to be.

    Post # 18
    6391 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: November 2009 - New York, NY

    bridetobe2018 :  “Working hard just means you are a “grinder”, that doesn’t mean you have any idea how to effectively lead people.”

    Exactly.  Managers are not measured based on how hard we work; we are measured according to the results the team we lead put together.


    Post # 19
    47206 posts
    Honey Beekeeper
    • Wedding: November 1999

    While your employee certainly seems to have behaviors that need to change, you also could benefit from a change in attitude and behavior.

    If you sent out the email re the mandatory overtime on the same day as you expected the employees to work it, how can you possibly be surprised that it was met with resistance? The people you manage have lives outside the office. Failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.

    You also have to realize that your early arrivals are invisible to the staff. When they come in, they have no idea if you have been there two minutes or two hours.

    If it wasn’t important enough for you to stay and pitch in, that is the message you communicated, not the one in the email.

    Post # 20
    671 posts
    Busy bee

    Lily_of_the_valley :  it’s cute that you think being salaried means you’re exempt from overtime. It means you are in the trenches with your people without the expectation of extra pay. That’s. What. Leadership. Is.

    Respect is earned, and your Busch-league behavior (no advance notice of overtime? not staying late!?) is exactly why you aren’t getting it.

    Read some management books and buckle up, buttercup – if this has you crying for disciplinary action, you’ve got a tough road ahead of you.

    And yes, I manage people. I don’t ask anyone to do something I’m not willing to do myself.

    Post # 21
    900 posts
    Busy bee

    I have been managing a team for about 8 years now.  This is the wisdom I have to share- some I learned the hard way, some came naturally:

    1. Managers serve the people who work for them, not vice versa.  That means you as the manager should be the first person in the door every day and the last person out the door.  What if they have questions and need your direction to complete their work?   Being a manager is about being a visible servant leader, not being the “hardest worker” there.  Work skills probably got you promoted but people skills will ensure your success as a manager. 


    2. Managers are responsible for managing the team’s workload, not dictating it.  If your team truly is drowning, you need to be coming up with solutions, not dumping last minute OT on them that likely could have been avoided.  It’s a good idea to have a team meeting early every week where every team member can share what they’re working on and what support they need.  If you show them you care about their workload and actively help find solutions 99% of the time, they’ll respect the 1% of the time that there really is a major fire drill. They’ll be loyal to you and all chip in to get the work done because they know it was out of your control that time.  Employees like consistency, not chaos.


    3. Know what motivates your team and use it.  If you’re dumping last minute OT on your team and they will all be working late, order in some pizzas and at least show some appreciation.  Or tell them it’s ok to come in 30 minutes later tomorrow if you have that latitude.  Or bring bagels and donuts to thank them tomorrow. Or send a genuine thank you email.  Whatever makes them feel appreciated!! 


    4. Regarding your “insubordinate” employee, it sounds like she doesn’t respect you but I’m not so sure that you’ve given her a reason to earn her trust and respect.  You’ve got to find a way to hit “re-set” with her and this seems like a good time. I don’t know that I would directly reply to her email but you have got to start modeling manager behavior if you’re going to lead this team successfully!  I’d take the weekend to brainstorm, maybe go to the bookstore and browse management / leadership books, and come in on Monday with a new game plan.  Your team is a direct reflection of you.  


    5. Managers are salaried employees. Managers tend to make a lot more in the long run than their employees who are OT eligible.  When I was a new manager, I had a long time employee on my team who actually made more than I did. I mentioned it to my boss once and he said, “don’t focus on where you are today, because she has no more wage growth potential and you as a new manager have unlimited potential.”  Within a 5 years, I was making close to double what that girl was making and she was still at the same rate because she had maxed out the pay scale for her position and had no upward mobility.   Just food for thought…..



    Good luck!


    Post # 22
    7384 posts
    Busy Beekeeper
    • Wedding: June 2013

    Sorry bee but in this instance alone, I’m on her side. She could have approached it better but I have had managers in the past who never seemed to put in as much time as we were expected too and it was really bad for morale. Not to mention, it was really frustrating coming across a question that needed answering just to find that he had already gone home (while everyone else was still there).

     It also sounds like you just let them know today that there would be mandatory OT today and tomorrow? If that’s the case, I would be very annoyed at the late notice. It’s only four employees, could you not have approached them each individually to make sure their schedules were clear? Just some food for thought as you move forward with your role.

    If she is consistently late and does not finish her work on time, I do think she should be disciplined but I also think you should step back and take a look at how you are managing your team.

    Post # 23
    6100 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: September 2016

    Check out the book The Dream Manager. It’s excellent and inspiring. It really taught me a lot about being a manager and also about what makes me want to be an exemplary employee.

    Post # 24
    2595 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: July 2015

    You do first need to address if this is a valid concern or if she’s just playing up. Now, I assume you’re in the US? Your contracts work differently than in my country, so:

    Is it written on their contracts that OT is an expected part of the job?

    If so, what does it say about required notice to inform your team of OT?

    Is OT putting them over their legally advised hours under US law? Do you even have that? Have these people opted out so that they can work as much OT as they see fit?

    If your office needs sudden and immediate OT then that sounds like poor planning. Of course, it can’t always be avoided, but if it’s common then where does the need come from? Do you need to get the lines of communication open with another team or manager etc?

    Can you foresee the need for OT coming, and warn your team accordingly?

    This woman is pushing back in an unprofessional manner. Maybe she doesn’t care. But you have to find out WHY she is pushing back – that’s your job. Call her in for a one to one. Mention the incidents of lateness and her unprofessional attitude. Ask her where this is coming from. She may have a sick family member, or an illness, maybe she’s stressed, maybe she’s just sick of cancelling her personal plans because of poorly planned OT. You don’t know! Take it from there, if there is something wrong then see if you can alter her hours for a short while, if say, she is taking a relative to an appointment before work which leaves her late. Make reasonable adjustments if necessary. Document the meeting, the concerns, and the solution. Give her a timeline in which to improve or reassess. Book another one to one.

    If she’s just being rude and unprofessional for no reason then put her on performance procedure where you check in with her performance and work level.

    I will say that you come off in this post as not caring one jot for your employees. Perhaps you’re just stressed and frustrated, in which case I appreciate that. Feel free to vent. If however, you just see these people as puppets there too do your bidding then no wonder you are getting push back – people can tell if they’re appreciated or not. 

    Sure, a job is a job and we’re there to do what we’re paid to do. But that doesn’t mean that some respect and appreciation doesn’t go a long way. You say you work twice as hard and that’s why you’re manager (congratulations on the promotion) but as a manager your job is to care for both the business needs AND your employees which is a very different ballgame.

    Post # 25
    1176 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: March 2011

    I’m always first in, last to leave.  Always.

    Post # 26
    2595 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: July 2015

    karen12 :  As a manager, I assume? Just that that’d help.

    Post # 27
    1176 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: March 2011

    howdoyoudo :  I’m not currently a manager but I was at my last job.  But now because I’m salary plus commission I am exempt from overtime pay.

    Post # 28
    2595 posts
    Sugar bee
    • Wedding: July 2015

    karen12 :  Thanks, that’s useful. I can’t believe people put in extra hours without the pay – it hardly makes management a desirable option. I find the US working culture horribly capitalist and I hate that people are treated so poorly…It just garners an unhealthy attitude towards work or people who actually believe that work is the be all and end all. I’m not trying to be offensive, I just can’t imagine having to put up with being treated like a battery.

    I think it’s a spreading problem. We need the companies to treat us like the people we are. Work to live, not vice versa. I have a strong work ethic but I do try to stay within my hours wherever possible. That’s both as an employee and a manager. If the work is so great that one has to exceed their hours on a regular basis then you have a staffing issue.

    Post # 29
    200 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2011

    For real?  This girl is not the boss.  She’s the employee.  She doesn’t get to question the boss.  Am I just old?  Is this some kind of Millennial thing to think that you can call out your boss and not get in serious trouble?

    Post # 30
    596 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: May 2017

    OP you don’t sound like a great manager.  

    Firstly, why didn’t you manage the work load appropriately?  I can understand their frustration being given one days notice for mandatory overtime particularly considering the work could have been foreseen as it was quarterly. 

    Again, if they have mandatory overtime it doesn’t look great to the team or do anything for morale so see their manager swanning off on time every day while they have to stay.  You might not get paid overtime but a manager’s salary is higher and comes with the understanding that the hours are typically flexible depending on the team’s needs.

    Your title makes you sound like a dictator. An employee getting frustrated at the office dynamic is not something to punish, it would be wise to address these concerns as i’m sure they are shared by the rest of the team.  

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