Can insubordination lead to improvement?

Discussion in 'Legal and HR' started by Jacob, Mar 31, 2017.

  1. Jacob

    Jacob
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    Hi I will share a story in short:

    One of my employee recently disobeyed twice a direct order.

    Once I asked to do something simple that would take 2h overtime. This person refused to do it saying that was very tired. Fine, I closed an eye on that.

    Second time after this person was unable to solve an issue related to work (a simple task) - and being still frustrated from being previously disobeyed - I said "If you're unable to do solve the issue, you will need to do it yourself". The reply I got was "It's not my job, I will not do it".

    I left the conversation, its few days I dont talk with this person, eventually under pressure this person solved the issue (without doing him/herself but hiring someone to do it at the budget I gave) and showed signs of improvements in other tasks (still did not apologize to me though). I was very determined to get rid of this person, but should I give a second chance?
     
  2. Business Attorney

    Business Attorney
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    I'm not sure that simply getting a project done is a sign that the insubordination issue is resolving itself. Only you can really answer your question but here are some things to think about:

    1. How good is this person otherwise at performing his or her main tasks?
    2. How easily can you find someone better able to perform, at less stress to you?
    3. How much effort will it take to get a new person up to speed in the job, and how much of your own time and effort will that take?
    4. What is your personal level of stress in dealing with this person's insubordination? Can you take it again?

    There is a questionable adage in some business publications "hire slow, fire fast" but my own view, shared by many, is that the amount you have invested in an employee is an asset and you should not be too quick to dump an asset. Replacing an employee carries a pretty significant cost in most cases, and you are never assured that the next employee will be better.

    On the other hand, once you are reasonably sure that you have the wrong person, holding out hope that there will be a massive improvement is usually misplaced. I believe that is particularly true where the shortcoming is in the person's attitude, work ethic or interpersonal relationships. Shortcomings in skills needed for the job can often be solved by additional training; ingrained personality traits are nearly impossible to change.
     
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  3. Jacob

    Jacob
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    1. Mediocre, can do the job but the end results are sometimes good quality, most of the times not. Other times I have to fix his/her mistakes
    2. Not that easy, I changed 4 people for the role in a year. Who was performing better just took the experience and left
    3. It will take reasonable time of mine, possibly an entire week and future reply to queries
    4. Absolutely not, I cannot manage someone that don't listen or show disrespect.
     
  4. coffletop

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    It really depends on the structure of your organization. If you are working in teams, it is not a good precedent or a good sign, if one of your members willfully disobeyed the instruction of a supervisor. It looks like it is a behavior that is condoned for as long as the task is done.

    On the other hand, the job being done or completed can be your starting point in your coaching to show that this is what is accomplished if he/ she follows the direction of his learned vis a vis ignoring it ... not to mention the damage it can do to the organization if there is a "rogue" employee
     
  5. Evan Mcgregor

    Evan Mcgregor
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    Insubordinate employees are a nightmare in the workplace. More often than not, they kill your happy.

    You mentioned that he's doing a mediocre job and by the sound of it, it requires you a lot of effort to manage him. Hence, output < stress.

    But here's some things you may want to think about before deciding which step to take:

    #1 Discernment. Knowing the reason behind the insubordination may help you determine if the problem is repairable.

    #2 Support. The events you mentioned are indisputable coaching opportunities. If coaching works and the employee responds positively, move on.
     
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