Insubordination of employees – Advice??

posted 2 years ago in Career
  • poll:
  • Post # 61
    651 posts
    Busy bee

    Yikes. If you have any shred of morale in your department, you are going to lose it soon acting like that. I have been a manager in a job where overtime is required a few times per month, and I never would have sauntered out at closing time while the hourly staff bust their asses trying to get everything done. I would stay, get it done, and provide drinks and snacks. I had 100% satisfaction rating among my direct reports for several years running and I tend to believe that’s part of the reason why. 

    I did go in to that job replacing a manager who definitely did not have a great rapport with her staff, and that was a big reason why. She expected far too much from staff who had far too little support, and never worked her full hours. I was like an alien to the staff when they realized I was part of the team and not just someone who sat fiddling at their desk a few hours a day and came and went at her leisure. 

    If longevity is important to you, get that morale up and be a good team player, or you’ll suffer through your time with the team. Not to mention you won’t have great employee retention, which causes businesses to suffer in other ways. 

    Post # 62
    4060 posts
    Honey bee
    • Wedding: August 2012

    I agree with PP that the email wasn’t professional.

    However, that being said if you were on my ass about PTO for an hour and meanwhile demanding mandatory overtime with no notice (which to me shows you can’t manage workloads very well), and strolling out at 5, I would have a hard time respecting you as my boss. It doesn’t sound very much like you see your employees as people. You expect all of this of them, but what exactly are you giving them in return? You leave bc you’re not paid to stay, and don’t seem to have empathy for the fact that they have lives (and appointments). I would never work for someone like that.

    Post # 63
    437 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2017 - State Park

    I’m confused about how saying, “Hey, I was already busy and now you’ve piled on more and I’m not sure you’re considering everything here, and gee are you going to pitch in as we all stay late with little notice on a Friday” qualifies as insubordination. In the slightest. It’s communicating. And workplaces run well when there is open communication.

    I am quite sure from the language you used, OP, that you are being shown exactly as much respect as you are giving. 

    People don’t work for companies. They work for managers. It sounds like you might lose your staff. 

    Also. Yeah. Why was it a surprise on Thursday that there was work to do to close the quarter. This is the last week of the quarter everywhere for everyone. I know sometimes things get busier at the end of a quarter so there’s a lot to process… so there should be less other work on the desks of your employees. But the end of September isn’t a surprise. You should have been able to AT LEAST give more notice about mandatory over time, if not prevent it. 

    Why does she have to use PTO if she’s staying late? That’s micromanaging AND not cost effective. 

    Youre conflating issues. Sounds like, yes, there are legitimate issues with the employee. That doesn’t mean she can’t equally have legitimate issues with you.

    Post # 64
    200 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2011

    dgirl715 :  I totally get what you’re saying, and there are of course 2 or more sides to every story.  But even if the employee was extremely frustrated (we’ve all been there!!!), adults in the workplace have to figure out how to control themselves.  Part of professionalism is “complaining” in a way that produces the desired result, which this did not – her boss just got pissed.  It doesn’t matter how frustrated you are, or what the boss is doing wrong in your eyes, you can’t lash out at your boss and not expect repercussions.  That’s why I’m so surprised everyone is siding with the employee.  OP very well may be doing things wrong, I have no idea.  Regardless, the employee’s approach was wrong.

    Post # 65
    200 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2011

    camenae :  Yes exactly!  Usually when I’ve left jobs I’ve been sweetness and light.  Paste a fake smile on my face and I’m out.  But once I burned the place down in my exit interview – my manager called me a liar to my face and I had fucking had enough.  (On a Monday he says “don’t send that DHL, the email scan was enough.  Tuesday he says “why didn’t you send that DHL?”  Me:  “you told me not to less than 24 hours ago.”  Him:  “no I didn’t.  You’re lying.”  Me:  “I quit.  BYEEEEEEEEEE.”)

    I had plenty of good references from that job after 16 years – I didn’t need that motherfucker.  So I went on blast about everything that was wrong with the place.  *shrug*

    What I’m saying is, if you’re prepared to deal with whatever happens, then sure!  Say whatever you want (in writing, no less) to your boss.  Apparently everyone on the Bee will feel sorry for you, but bosses in the real world won’t.  She would have done much better being diplomatic.  You don’t get to throw a temper tantrum at work – an adult needs to do better.

    Post # 66
    200 posts
    Helper bee
    • Wedding: July 2011

    saratiara2 :  Agreed that the last-minute OT requirement is not cool.  I wouldn’t have done it – I have a life and plans that can’t be changed on a dime.

    But she has no right to question her boss’s schedule.  Period.  The boss has a right to question HER schedule (and sounds like she’s not doing a good job frankly, between the OT thing and the hour of PTO which is just petty and micromanaging).  The only person who has the right to question OP’s schedule is her own boss.  And if that person doesn’t have a problem with it, oh well!

    Post # 67
    38 posts

    Lily_of_the_valley :  I am an Executive level manager with several people I manage and I think you are in the wrong. Salary or hourly has nothing to do with it – I am usually at work early and one of the later ones to leave. If something happens last-minute and we have to cram, my team understands I put in just as much work, so they don’t take it out on me, it’s just part of what we have to do & we work together to get it done. Do you perhaps feel you get special treatment for being a manager and that is why you get to leave at a normal time each day? Is anybody else on your team combative like this employee? If I were you, I’d have a 1:1 with her to see exactly what can be done so that you can work together more effectively. You might be unknowingly acting in a way that is rubbing your team the wrong way and making you come off as entitled or like you don’t work as hard as they do. You don’t owe her anything, but it might help to show her the assignments you have on your plate & why it may not be so easy for you to step in and help them with theirs all the time. I will add that I’ve never had to say, “because I am the manager…” My team respects me and never questions me when I assign something, even when it might be hard to pull off at such short notice. Always remember that you only get respect by giving respect.

    Good luck…

    Post # 68
    5894 posts
    Bee Keeper
    • Wedding: April 2013

    Lily_of_the_valley :  Yikes, she sounds like a handful.  I do think, OP, that people are being a bit hard on you.  You gave the context that the employee is problematic in a lot of ways.  And while I don’t that her email was insubordination, it is rude and isn’t reflective of someone who is really trying to help.  

    That said…you cannot be running out the door when your are asking everyone to stay late.  And late notice mandatory OT is not super common in a lot of companies.  If it is in yours, I’d work to try to shield your team from that, or create opportunities for those who want the OT (a lot of people do) to pick it up.

    I think with this type of employee you have to be fair but firm.  (With all employees really, but she’ll really test your limits.)  I’ve been a manager for a long time and, luckily, haven’t had a lot of people like this myself, but am in HR so have helped managers (and employees!) through situatoins like this.

    If it were me I’d probably d a few things:

    1. In response to this particular email: I’d be receptive, but not a doormat.  I’d change my plans for tonight and stay late so that you are there in the trenches until the work is complete.  It seems like is an important show of solidarity right now.  I’d thank the person for her candid feedback, and I’d ask her to come and talk if she needed help re-prioritizing the other items on her desk (I find more junior staff members often need help with this).  
    2. With this employee in general: I’d be very firm with her, and others, on hours or other key performance elements.  I’d put some practices in place to make sure that she was very clear on expectations and had clear followup and accountability on her tasks.  It sounds like she’s really trying to have it both ways (I assume coming in late was just plain old being late, not a pre-planned appointment, for example), and you can’t let her do that.  It’ll set a terrible example on the team and will drive you crazy.  To me, it sounds like she’s either sour that you got promoted or she’s jsut a crappy employee.  Either way, it’s possible to turn it around.  If it never turns around, she’ll probably quit if you really try to make her work and don’t accept excuses.  And if she doesn’t you can go down a path of termination.
    3. Since you are a new manager, I’d try to find a more experienced manager in your company to act as a mentor.  It’s SO helpful to have someone in your orgnaization to talk these things out with and bounce around ideas.  There is so much to learn as a manager (it’s a whole new job) and it’ll take years.  Think of this experience as a good one for your ultimate growth path as a professional.  On top of this, there are tons of great management books to read.  I like “First, break all the rules” and “multipliers” myself, but there is no end of good material out there.
    4. Make sure you are creating forums to hear feedback from your team.  It may be regular 1:1 meetings, team meetings, or other options.  You want to feel clued into your team’s workload, morale, goals, etc.  I really think that regular 1:1 meetings are essential for this.

    Good luck! Not a fun problem to have to solve bee!

    Post # 69
    2813 posts
    Sugar bee

    Lily_of_the_valley :  We can only form opinions by information given, and from your post – the impression of you as a manager is not a great one. With a good leader, mandatory OT should not be a common thing, and even if needed, employees definitely should not be told about it that day – that’s disrespectful. And even more so, their manager should not be running out at 5pm (no matter how early you get there), leaving their team to work OT. Your attitude comes across very unapproachable and dictator like, I am the boss and hollier than anyone. Also your previous posts are all about running to HR for petty things. And why in the world would anyone need to submit pto for an hour appointment?!! Idk, it doesn’t sound like you are a good fit as a leader. Her email also wasn’t that bad, she was communicating her (most likely) valid frustrations, but you made it seem like it’s so unacceptable- probably how dare her question you or offer constructive criticism. 

    Post # 71
    1580 posts
    Bumble bee

    Lily_of_the_valley :  I always thought salaried was because the expectation is the employee will work as much as needed to get the work done.  IMO you should be there if your employees are asked to do overtime.

    Post # 72
    1182 posts
    Bumble bee

    There’s two separate issues here. 

    Firstly, you’re her manager and she is totally out of line to speak to you like that. 

    Secondly, I’m not sure about your field and whether mandatory overtime is a normal thing? It is in my job so I wouldn’t really care but it all depends on your field of work. It would generally considered good form to stay overtime if you’re requesting that they do at such late notice. 

    Deal with the two separately. You’re her manager and your job is to manage the team which involves listening to them. However I wouldnt allow someone who works beneath me to speak to me like that and nether should you 


    Post # 73
    1305 posts
    Bumble bee

    OP, I think you are letting your “manager” title get to your head a bit.

    While if I was your employee I would not have written that email, it’s clear she’s frustrated and is most likely trying to start a paper trail.  I don’t think what she did constitues insubordination, but I would have a talk with her especially if you’ve had problems.

    At the same time, making someone take PTO for an hour appointment is really, really petty.  It’s also really morale crushing when you are made to work mandatory OT when their manager saunters out the door at 5.  It doesn’t matter what time you came in.  Managers come in early and stay late.  That’s part of the job and if you’re not putting your all in, that’s a great way to get your employees to hate you.

    Post # 74
    5954 posts
    Bee Keeper

    OP you’ve already received lots of good advice- I hope you’ll take it even if it’s not the outcome you expected. 

    I would like to add, for your own sake, that if your employees can see you piling on last minute OT at the end of the quarter while swanning out the door at 5 pm yourself- upper management can see this too. Plaese stop power trippin’ on your new ‘manager’ title, or you’re going to have it stripped away from you. Try harder to be a team player, stay later when it’s crunch time (this is expected of salaried employees and if noticing your work ethic was part of what got you promoted in the first place, it was expected you’d be a stay-til-the-job’s-done manager, not a delegate’n’ditch manager), and do not under-estimate the importance of office morale or the role you play in this. 

    Post # 75
    182 posts
    Blushing bee

    I guess OP is not coming back. It’s a bit of obnoxious to ask for advice, have ppl take their time to give feedback, and not to respond. I would hope it’s because she is busy working OT evenings with her team. 

    Leave a comment

    Find Amazing Vendors