There Always Seems to Be at Least One Rebellious Employee
A manager or team leader’s nightmare is often dominated by that one fractious employee who never quite fits in. Rebellious employees tend to disrupt performance and create disengagement by exuding negativity, debating every issue, ignoring cultural norms, and creating dissension.
New manager training participants report struggling with how to handle a rebellious employee. Supervisors may know how to encourage their team when employees are eager to cooperate but are baffled by handling a team member who resists, counters, and rebels.
Some Tips to Better Handle a Rebellious Employee
Whether you’re new to people management or have some experience getting work done through others, here are a few suggestions for how to deal with a mutinous employee:
Often, goal confusion leads to team friction and dysfunction. Make sure that you and your team both think that everyone’s SMART goals are SMARTER.
Meet one-on-one to understand if they need more coaching or support in order to be set up to succeed on your team.
As much as it may be difficult to accept, think about whether the employee’s defiance of the cultural norm is justified. Are they simply the bravest of the team, willing to question goals or process? Or do they have some personal problems that are impacting how they show up at work?
Meet with your disengaged employee one-on-one to assess the problem and agree upon next steps to get on the right path.
Then provide a fair amount of time for them to improve, seek support, and adjust. Sometimes people just need some slack until they understand how to get work done, gain their footing and are able to better integrate with the team and collaborate toward common goals and accountabilities.
If the problem cannot be rectified, do what you can to move the employee on with compassion and in alignment with the company’s core values.
The Bottom Line
As a people manager, it is your job to keep your team moving forward in the right direction in a way that makes sense. If you have a team member who is always causing problems, you need to find out why and deal with it before they derail you and your team.
To learn more about how to handle a rebellious employee, download 3 Must-Have Ingredients of High Performing Teams for New Managers
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