Get advice on how to deal with jerks at work Check out the book 'Jerks At Work' and other titles by Ken Lloyd Ph.D. Return to the JerksAtWork.com homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.
 

Disciplining

Here are the questions filed under this category. To read Ken's advice on any item, click on the link "Read Ken's Answer."


I am head receptionist at a fairly large organization. There are security guards stationed near the reception desk, and some of these guards have been reported by part-time receptionists for talking excessively on the phone and for being away for long periods of time. After the guards are reprimanded by their department head, they do not speak to me (I did not report them) and the atmosphere is very unpleasant. Do you have any suggestions?
Read Ken's Answer

I sent a harmless joke on our company e-mail to some of the people who work with me, and several responded by saying how much they liked it. My supervisor's reaction was the exact opposite. She called me in and wrote up a formal reprimand, and then she said that this is a final warning. This sounds unfair to me. What do you think?
Read Ken's Answer

There has been a great deal of theft of basic supplies lately. It is not valuable equipment going out the door, but just a steady stream of everyday items. We think that some of the employees are simply taking things home. What's the best way to get this to stop?
Read Ken's Answer

One of the people who report to me puts down my ideas in front of the rest of the group. I will say that he occasionally has some good insights, but his mode of presenting them is pretty insulting. I have talked to him about this, but he persists. Should I start writing him up?
Read Ken's Answer

I work in sales and my manager reprimanded me in front of a customer. I was humiliated and angered. Afterwards, when I told him how upset I was, he said this is an excellent way for me to learn. I disagree. Do you?
Read Ken's Answer

I just completed a counseling session with one of my employees because he has been late several times, and our policy calls for a formal discussion and documentation when this occurs. When I finished the session, he got to the door and made a nasty remark under his breath. When I asked what he said, he denied saying anything. I did not write him up for that, but maybe I should have. What do you think?
Read Ken's Answer

How do you deal with an employee who is late almost all the time, but does very good work when she is here? I've tried coaching and discipline, but she just does not improve.
Read Ken's Answer

Two years ago, I was making frequent mistakes on my job. I was put on probation and made a great deal of progress. I have been off probation for about a year, but on the rare occasion when I make a mistake, my supervisor writes me up and tells me that my performance is still unacceptable and I haven't learned anything. What can I do to stop being written up?
Read Ken's Answer

I thought I had a good working relationship with one of the people in my department, and I was shocked to learn that she was upset with me and complained to my manager. My manager then proceeded to call me and tell me off. I think he was wrong. What should I do?
Read Ken's Answer

After a very upsetting meeting with my boss, I walked out of his office and muttered an expletive about him that no one was supposed to hear. He heard it, wrote me up, and warned me that if I don't change my ways, I'm out. I don't think it was fair to be punished for something he was not supposed to hear. What do you think?
Read Ken's Answer

I was just reprimanded by my boss for theft. My so-called crime was taking home a roll of tape. I was written up and the incident was placed in my file. Why would a company make such a big deal about minor theft?
Read Ken's Answer

As part of my job as a supervisor, I am supposed to discipline employees for breaking the rules and committing other infractions at work. I do not like confrontations, and this aspect of the job has me worried. What are the ways to discipline employees without having a confrontation?
Read Ken's Answer

I have an employee who is late at least three days a week, usually by ten or twenty minutes. I have spoken to him about this on numerous occasions, and he says he will try to improve, and for a week or two he does, but then he's late again. Now when I meet with him, he says the problem is that the company should have a flextime plan. What do you think?
Read Ken's Answer

My manager did some unauthorized work on one of our computers and destroyed the hard drive. When he was reprimanded by our director, he changed his story and emailed her a distorted timeline of events and blamed me for what happened. Fortunately, our director was on my initial emails and is completely on my side. How do I deal with this manager?
Read Ken's Answer

I am new to management in this company, and one of the managers who reports to me has been here for about five years and has a lot of local knowledge. In a recent meeting with several other managers present, I made a point about policy that was incorrect. She then blurted out a correction in a very condescending tone. I told her afterwards that I did not appreciate this behavior, but she did it again yesterday. What's the best way to handle this?
Read Ken's Answer

I am a supervisor for a small manufacturing company. While I was on a trip, my lead man and a shop employee had a conflict, and this is not the first time. The lead man said the employee questions everything he says. The employee said the lead man is mean and shows no respect. I have met with them individually and separately, and we agreed to work together, but now I am at a loss for what to do.
Read Ken's Answer

A few months ago, the owner's son was placed in my department. His performance in the beginning was satisfactory, but it has taken a nosedive lately. I want to discipline him, although I am somewhat hesitant because of his family connection. Do you have any suggestions?
Read Ken's Answer

I have been having difficulties with one of my employees, and I met with her on several occasions to talk about her productivity, cooperation, and attitude. I don't want to write her up because I would rather motivate her more positively than negatively. What can you suggest?
Read Ken's Answer

I manage a branch in an area where it is very difficult to find job applicants. Since my employees are so hard to replace, I have been reluctant to discipline them for relatively minor infractions. Is this type of flexibility appropriate under the circumstances?
Read Ken's Answer

How do you deal with an employee who phrases almost every comment in a critical and condescending tone? He reports to me, but he somehow thinks that he can lecture me in department meetings and directly attack my ideas and suggestions. I have tried to work with his comments, but he seems to be getting more and more impossible to handle. Why would he be acting this way and what do you suggest?
Read Ken's Answer

One of my employees is very skilled in her work, but recently she been giving me orders, insulting me in front of others, and taking credit for my accomplishments. I do not want to lose her because she is very skilled, and I am unsure how to deal with her in light of this.
Read Ken's Answer

I emailed an ethnic joke to a fellow employee. He thought it was funny and then forwarded it around. Somehow, it got to our supervisor who disciplined my friend and me. Since I did not send the joke to anyone who would be offended, I donít think I should have been disciplined. What do you think?
Read Ken's Answer

Several employees in my department and in departments that work with us have told me that one of my employees has been spending a great deal of time surfing the net. She never does this in my presence. I am concerned about disciplining her because of hearsay, but she has fallen behind on some of her projects, too. Should I just focus on that?
Read Ken's Answer

When my manager asked me about the status of a project that I assigned to one of my employees, I found that my employee had not followed the procedures and left out a critical step. I thought this step was included when I checked up on the project last week. She suggested that I lie about the matter to my manager. I am shocked by her suggestion, and Iím uncertain about how to deal with her from this point. What do you suggest?
Read Ken's Answer

I walked into one of my employeeís workstations, and she immediately turned over a sheet of paper on her desk. It is clear that she did not want me to see what was on it, and I said nothing about it at the time. However, I keep wondering if I did the right thing, and how to handle this type of situation in the future.
Read Ken's Answer

I sent a link to a website with a funny visual joke to one of my co-workers. He thought it was hysterical and forwarded it to about 20 other people here. When my manager got wind of this, he reprimanded both of us for violating company policy on using company computers. I only sent it to one person, and my co-worker sent it all over the place, so he is the one who abused the system, not me. What do you think?
Read Ken's Answer

We have a very good employee, but every time something does not go his way, he threatens to quit. We have been bending over to meet his needs, but now there is some resentment building toward him, not only from managers but from some of his fellow employees too. How do you deal with an employee like this?
Read Ken's Answer

I meet regularly with my employees to discuss our work, and I have one employee who withholds information from me. When my manager asks me about projects in her domain, I usually donít have all the information, so he calls her. When I ask her why she did not give me all the information in the first place, she says I did not ask for it. How should I deal with her?
Read Ken's Answer

I walked into the office of one of my employees, and she was on the phone. She was talking business on an issue that directly involves me, and I gestured that I wanted to know what she was talking about. She abruptly turned to me and said, ďThis doesnít concern you.Ē She then turned away and continued her conversation, and I walked out. What should I say to her?
Read Ken's Answer

When our manager gives us assignments, she tells us how disappointed she will be if we donít do well. If something goes wrong, she harps on how we failed her and how she expected so much more of us. We donít know what this management style is, but we are not comfortable with it. What can we do?
Read Ken's Answer

How do you deal with an employee who lies? He has worked for me for almost five years, and although I am not sure how long the lying has been going on, thereís no doubt that he is not being upfront with me now. Sometimes he withholds important information, and other times he just comes up with a story. When I go back to him and discuss the facts, he always has an excuse or explanation, and he cannot admit that he is wrong or lied. How should I deal with him?
Read Ken's Answer

I work in a relatively small business that is now very, very successful. Iíve worked my way from $8.00/hr + Commission (@28,000/yr) to $20.00/hr + Commission & bonuses(@65,000/yr) in 6 years. I know that Iím the highest paid employee, and that Iím satisfied with my pay. I also know Iím an over achiever and Iíve brought the company from 130th in our industry to the top-dealer in 6 years total. I know for a fact Iíve made huge improvements to this business and I have a great relationship with the majority of the other employees. Although, I am not the ďgeneral managerĒ and have yet to receive an actual title - Iím definitely the coordinator and actually manage the dealership. Now the ownerís daughter has decided to come in more often and try to take on the role as general manager. She has no management experience (other then hiring & firing 10 or so employees within this company). She causes extreme amounts of drama with and extremely flirty attitude with employees, customers, and even local delivery men causing more issues than you could ever imagine. She does not come in at normal hours, maybe 3 to 4 days a week and if sheís there maybe 4 hours sheís paid bills and sent me off to run her personal errands. (Today I picked her up a fountain poured coke, and picked up two rings from the local jeweler) She does not have a real business plan, nor a true job description, or standard order of operations for the employees and their job duties. The rules change on a daily basis. She is extremely demanding and does not like to be shown how to do something, even if it is imperative to the business or a prospective new customer. For instance, this week I was delivering a purchased unit to a new customer out of state when she called and informed me that the salesman were all away and that she needed to know how much the two units we just finished up cost were... I told her the retail figures and she wanted to know actual cost so she could intelligently talk to a potential customer about pricing. I informed her that I knew one unit was completely entered in our dealer management system, but the other was not. I also informed her that I did not know the actual dealer cost of this unit, nor the other unit off the top of my head. I informed her that she could easily look at the cost in our system for the one unit that was entered. She said ď Iím not going through that, that takes entirely too long, this is absolutely ridiculous that we do not have the actual dealer cost written down in the units files!Ē ((Yelling)) I had the phone away from my ear and even the owner could hear every word she was yelling. (He looked confused during this) She kept yelling at me, and I expressed that if she wanted to know the actual dealer cost that there was a very easy 30second procedure she would need to do... she just kept yelling... I told her that we could go over everything tomorrow morning, and she kept yelling, I said we can discuss this tomorrow... she paused for a moment and I heard nothing so I hung up the phone. She immediately called the owner (right next to me) and started yelling at him about the situation and he said ďwe can deal with this tomorrow, no big dealĒ. Just from his looks I only assumed that he understood that she only wanted it her way and that she was not going to it the way everyone else does it. That wasnít the case the next morning... The next morning I was called into her office with her and the owner. I was written up for insubordination because I hung up on her. I spoke my peace that I was not to be yelled at like a dog, and that I was not a child and should not be spoken to in any other fashion. She said that she never raised her voice and that I refused to do what she said. I kept my mouth shut... I never refused anything... I looked at the owner hoping he would be a more logical person because he witnessed the confrontation, but he agreed with her and even to the point saying that I was in the wrong and that was uncalled for. I did sign the paper with a very shaky hand.... I have addressed a multitude of other issues that she has caused to the owner, but it's been no help... it is only getting worse now that she is coming around more often. I also keep a very close eye on the bookkeeping and the profits and loss reports. She has started two new credit cards under the businessí name and she and her husband uses them for personal usage. (Vacations, fuel, hotels, food, clothing, home furnishings) Iím taking thousands and thousands of dollars! This has now put a financial burden on the company and it makes it very hard to buy product to resale if the money is gone. I rely on this for a huge part of my income. Iíve put in for other jobs, and Iíve received a few offers, but nothing close to what Iím making now. I would accept a pay cut for happiness, but I canít accept a 50% cut. Recently, weíve had quite a bit of employee turnover at the dealership and weíve lost a bunch of good people. A retired industrial plant operations director decided to try selling for us, and he said it best on his personal goodbye letter left for myself... ďGet out of here, youíll do great, open your own shop! I canít take the drama and abuse, I donít have to work, but I thought I would enjoy this... boy I was wrong - You canít work under someone who operates their business by the ďseagull management methodsĒ ďComes in every now-and-then, squaks a lot, shits on everything, and then just leaves!Ē I need some advice... I have the knowledge, I have the customer base that I know would follow, my other half is very supporting and is always after me to open my own business.... but I donít have the finances... HELP KEN! P.S. please excuse any and all dramatically errors, run-ons, and incomplete sentences... itís nearly 11pm after a 13hr day that has dragged me down...
Read Ken's Answer