Insubordination of employees – Advice??

posted 2 years ago in Career
  • poll:
  • Post # 31
    560 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: May 2015

    ohitsheragain :  I definitely agree that the e-mail was inappropriate, BUT I do think that it’s good that OP now knows that her subordinates have noticed/are holding a grudge about something so that she can address it.

    Being a manager is often about leading by example. While I don’t think you necessarily need to stay late and work OT every day that your subordinates do, OP, I do think it’s good to show them that you will and that you show appreciation for them putting aside plans to work overtime. 

    I’d be pretty pissed too if I had to cancel plans last-minute to work overtime and my boss was waltzing out at their normal end time.

    Post # 32
    596 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: May 2017

    ohitsheragain :  Not sure why you have to make the patronizing ‘Millennials’ comment, but it’s common sense that running a business like a dictatorship and refusing to listen to concerns is not a smart business move. 

    Happy workers are productive workers. 

    Post # 33
    671 posts
    Busy bee

    ohitsheragain :  I mean, yeah if you want to throw it back to 1860 (year before the Emancipation of the Serfs), questioning the leader is unacceptable.

    But I can’t say either my parents or grandparents (all politicians/execs – yes, including the ladies!) would agree with your assessment.

    As someone pointed out, unquestioning loyalty is what dictators demand, not what ineffectual managers deserve.

    Post # 34
    900 posts
    Busy bee

    ohitsheragain :  Not a “Millennial  thing”..and I’m not a Millennial.  Most large companies encourage “360 degree feedback” where feedback comes from peers, subordinates, and managers.  My company has been doing formal 360’s for at least 15 years (before the first Millennials entered the workplace) and is consistently recognized as a “best” company to work for.


    As a manager, if I had an employee who was clearly so pissed off at my actions that s/he fired off that email, I would want to know.  OP is making some classic new manager missteps and it honestly sounds like if this employee hadn’t sent the email – causing OP to start this thread – she would still be completely blind to what is going on in her own team.   This doesn’t mean the employee isn’t in the wrong though – you can’t just show up an hour late with no explanation and not fill out a PTO form (if that’s the policy re PTO), but the feedback on poorly managed workload is more than valid.

    Post # 35
    1001 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: June 2012

    Also wanted to add – PTO for coming in an hour late? Is this a regular thing or policy at your company?

    I’d be PO’d if I came in an hour late on occasion due to an appointment (or you know, just life) and was told I had to use PTO instead of making up the time. I get half days and all that, but an hour here and there?

    I mean, I get if this is an issue with her and you’re trying to prove a point, but is there a reason she can’t come in a bit later on occasion and stay later or through lunch some days? 

    Post # 36
    2401 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: October 2016

    ohitsheragain :  I’m in my forties. You get to call out your boss if they’re managing at a low level. The company won’t succeed without good managers and employees who are motivated to succeed. You sound like you’re my dad’s age (70’s) with this mentality. Status quo is status no, in my book. Treating employees like drones is not going to inspire high quality work. A manager’s job is to very tactfully Balance the needs of the workers with the needs of the company. 

    Post # 37
    671 posts
    Busy bee

    Also, OP, a quick look through your post history shows your own entitlement (repeatedly wanting to go to HR over not getting PTO when you want it) re: manager/managed interactions. Interesting that you seem to demand of your people what you didn’t give your managers yourself.

    Post # 38
    1994 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: April 2012

    If you are salaried that means you stay until your job is done. Hours don’t matter. End of story. Honestly most companies utilize salaried employees and let the hourly employees leave so they don’t have to pay overtime. You shouldn’t leave on time using your salaried position as an excuse if your employees are staying. 

    Post # 39
    9607 posts
    Buzzing Beekeeper
    • Wedding: July 2016

    ohitsheragain :  maybe.  As a millenial, I have no frame of reference.. but I know that telling your manager when you’re frustrated and why is allowed as long as it’s done privately rather than as an outburst in front of your colleagues (which she did).  Especially if you feel they’re asking unreasonable things from you or creating a bad work environment unintentionally.  As far as I’ve ever been told a good leader will take that constructive criticism and fix the problem, rather than punish the messenger.

    Let’s imagine for a second that what OP typed in the first paragraph about the employee didn’t poison the well–i.e. that we assumed she was in on time, did her work on time, etc..  Now re-read her email. She did not name call, she did not say that the work was stupid, she didn’t even say that she wouldn’t do it (which would have been actual insubordination).  She pointed out to her manager that she (and potentially her colleagues) feel overworked and unsupported.  She said: “it would be appreciated if we knew that you were also sharing the burden”.  

    Now of course, we need to put her back in context–any employee who is in fact coming in late, not completing assigned work and abusing overtime needs to be disciplined and perhaps even let go.  I have to say, if it’s true the employee behaves this way, this email from her employee was kind of genius–she now has a paper trail establishing that the amount of work may be too much (to the point she and her colleagues all feel overworked, that the manager doesn’t have a good grasp on what is on their desks, and that mandatory OT is frequent) and that she doesn’t in fact enjoy OT so how could she be abusing it.  

    Post # 40
    890 posts
    Busy bee
    • Wedding: City, State

    A supervisor/ manager needs to manage the workload.  Not seeing mandatory OT coming is a huge failure on your part.  Employees do not have to disclose their after work plans, as it is none of your business.  Not giving them enough time to plan is a huge red flag that you aren’t capable of allocating resources appropriately.

    In addition…. this employee likely isn’t emailing you JUST to communicate with you. This employees (and others) might be emailing you for a paper trail that they can take up the chain. If this is typical of how you manage your staff, you might be setting yourself up for a fall.

    Post # 41
    7852 posts
    Bumble Beekeeper

    That girl’s email was completely unprofessional and inappropriate. She’s gonna hold herself back if she continues showing her temper like this…it’s not a good look.

    THAT SAID…I agree with pp that she probably has a point. I have worked as an hourly employee whose manager would go on 3 hour lunch breaks and then leave at 4pm while I was drowning in work for him. It is a total morale killer…the knowledge that you’re busting your ass getting paid a fraction of the salary as your boss while they are barely keeping their seat warm in the office very quickly fills you with fury and resentment and kills your desire to give it your all. However, I would never in a million years have dreamed of emailing my boss to tell him he needs to work harder than he is…that’s a surefire way to get on your boss’s bad side and self sabotage opportunities for advancement. Risky AF. 

    I have also worked for a wonderful manager who would 100% be with us in the trenches whenever shit got dicey. That job was a much more boring one than the one with the 3hr lunch break manager, but I was so much happier in it. I felt supported, like I was on a team and my work mattered and was appreciated. By staying there herself and working hard alongside the rest of us plebes in crunch times, our manager showed that she knew what she was asking of us and was grateful for it.

    As an employee, especially a low level one, feeling valued is so important. So I would take a long hard look not at what you’re actually doing, but at how what you’re doing is being perceived by your subordinates…and see if it’s time to make some adjustments.

    Post # 42
    1001 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: June 2012

    Also wanted to add – keep in mind that people leave managers, not companies.

    I actually loved my last job and company, would have happily stayed there for years. Got a tiny promotion (yay) and my new manager was a total bitch on wheels. Ran me down, was awful to everyone, and her attitude was that she was right, you were wrong. Every time. Basically said I didn’t know how to do my job and didn’t know anything, despite me getting very nice reviews and remarks from my previous managers and that she would “help me” out. Like F**** I wanted HER as a “mentor”!!!! I took the Nope Train to Fuckthatshitville. I decided that my self esteem and pride was NOT for sale.

    I quit without another job lined up (had a bunch of interviews, one which worked out. The manager is a human being, not dictator. A very nice one at that). 

    Before I left, I looked it up out of curiousity – NINE people left under her in a year. I brought that up to HR in my exit interview and told the to check it out. They were very interested in hearing that.

    Post # 43
    6334 posts
    Bee Keeper

    Not to mention that I am the manager and will assign work as I feel appropriate.

    Lolol Girl, thats a power trip if I’ve ever seen one.

    Post # 44
    1921 posts
    Buzzing bee
    • Wedding: October 2017

    Salaried employees typically earn more per hour in this scenario. I’m also salary, originally coming from an hourly position, and yes I work more hours than before (all OT is not paid, and I’ve put in several weekends). However, I still get paid more than I did before, unpaid OT and weekends included. Plus, when I worked in my hourly position, OT was restricted, so I never could get much more than 40 a week anyway.

    My manager is here before I get here, and she leaves after I leave. She is a workaholic, and it’s how she got her position. She’s respected because of it. I would never be willing to work the hours she works, so I would never accept a promotion for a job like hers. Do I like being required to work excessive hours and weekends and not get paid for it in any way? No. Do I like my hourly salary? Yes.

    I’m sorry if my post seems irrelevant or convoluted. I’m just trying to explain why your argument of being salaried is not enough to justify not helping your employees or working extra hours. You also did not give enough notice for the OT you expect. You posted this post on a Thursday, meaning you told your employees on a Thursday that OT would be required of them the next day, a Friday. Many people have weekend plans and family things that happen on the weekends. To expect them to drop that with such little notice is disrespectful.

    Post # 45
    1497 posts
    Bumble bee
    • Wedding: September 2015

    Like the first response to your OP, I also read the Ask a Manager blog a lot.  The blogger, Alison Green, would likely say that there are two separate issues here and you should handle them separately:

    1) Does your employee have a point?  If so, how do you address her point?  

    Because if the things in her e-mail are true, then a good employee could have just as easily have had the same complaints and sent that e-mail.  It’s still possible for a bad employee to be right.

    2) Does your employee have performance issues?  And if so, how do you address them?

    Even if she had never sent this e-mail, the performance issues that you raised–showing up an hour late, not completing assigned work, etc.–still should be addressed. 

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