Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Big Problem: When Your Employee "Owns" You!

I have supervisors email me periodically with stories of out of control employees, and typically they have been around a long time. There is no coincidence there with regard to the following problem. This problem...let's be honest is about treating employees like family members. It sounds nice, but to literally practice this management philosophy?! Don't do it. (Save this language of how we are all "family" here for those special occasions when people gather in the company auditorium.) One story I get is about employees who refuse assigned duties. The next part of the equation is management not being willing to fire for insubordination. How do you fix a problem when you have not leverage!? Simply put, this situation leads to an inability to direct the employee’s work. If true, then you have lost control of the employment relationship. Troubled employees who have gained this sort of leverage over their employers create a lot of risk. Unfortunately, it is not uncommon. Entitlement thinking may lead to bossing coworkers, bullying fellow employees, breaking work rules, end-running managers, and using company property for personal business. Fear of the employee’s reaction to confrontation and adapting to avoid it ultimately created this personnel issue. Start by making a formal referral to the EAP. Document the poor cooperation, work refusal, etc. Regardless of whether the employee accepts are referral, meet and consult with the EAP; your manager should also be involved in this meeting. Discuss a concrete action plan. In matters of this type, management teams that focus on a solution usually decide to draw a line and insist on change. The good part is that most are pleasantly surprised at how easily the employee turns around!