How To Deal With a Rude, Arrogant and Mean Subordinate

As the boss or manager in a business or a firm, your tasks include not just overseeing productivity and excellent work performance in the business, but also ensuring that your subordinates have good working relationships with each other and with the clients. Every now and then, however, you may find yourself with a rude subordinate. Here’s how you can deal with this situation.

  • Get some proof. First of all, you need to know the pertinent laws in your area. One of the basic laws when it comes to employment is that you usually should only fire workers if they meet the criteria of bad or unacceptable conduct in the office, or if they have repeatedly made the same offense. Usually, the first offense will only merit a reprimand. To make sure that you don’t look like a firing-happy boss and that you be fair, you should document all of the cases of arrogance, meanness, and rudeness of the employee. You can get these documents from other co-workers who have been offended by him, or from clients who have provided negative feedback.
  • Determine the problem. Once you have a considerable set of facts about the situation, you should try analyzing the problem. Sometimes, there are reasons why a subordinate is arrogant or mean. Sometimes, an employee may only seem arrogant because his co-workers have ganged up on him and have created an image for you that the subordinate is mean, when in reality the others are only jealous or ill at ease with him. Clearly, this is not a reason for firing or disciplining the employee. On the other hand, a subordinate who shows disrespect and is rude to clients is clearly someone exhibiting unacceptable behavior.
  • Company handbook. Refer to the company handbook on employee behavior and conduct. Most major companies and offices have one, and if you do not have one in your office, you should ask the Human Resources department to make a draft, subject to the approval of the board members and the head committee. Use the definitions of unacceptable conduct and bad behavior in the employee handbook to determine what types of sanctions the erring employee deserves. Using the company handbook is also a great way to ensure that you mete out just punishment, and that you do not get too subjective when dealing with the erring employee.
  • Get some help. If, after the first offense and the first warning, the erring employee continues to act in a rude and arrogant manner, you should consider transferring the problem to the human resource department. This department specializes in dealing with problematic employees. They can provide counseling and guidance for the employee, to make it easier for the employee to change his behavior and integrate himself with his clients and his co-workers. Sometimes, the HR department may even uncover underlying problems such as manic-depressive disorder, which can be the cause of the employee’s uncalled for behavior.

Dealing with a rude and mean employee while remaining objective and just can be difficult for almost any manager. These steps, however, should help you do it.


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