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 homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.

You asked, Ken answers ...

This item is filed under these categories:
Disciplining Insubordination Who's In Charge? Power Plays and Players Control Freaks Manipulation Communication Honesty

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?

Before determining how to deal with her, it is helpful to try to determine why she is engaging in this behavior. If this type of behavior is typical for her, you are most likely dealing with an employee who has strong needs for attention, power, and control.

She is able to meet these needs by withholding information from you, and then being contacted by your manager. When she says it is your responsibility to ask her about a specific issue if you need an update, she is simply transferring ownership of the problem from herself to you. In truth, by failing to provide full and accurate information in these sessions, this employee is failing in a key area of her job, and she might even be committing insubordination.

There are two key approaches you to consider. First, you can go ahead and ask more specific questions about her work during your meetings. Secondly, you can warn her that withholding information is unacceptable. With this approach, she should also be advised of the consequences associated with this behavior. If she continues to hold back information, you should not hold back disciplinary action.

Comment on this item

Your name (optional)
If you leave this blank, we'll list you as "Website visitor"

Your comments
Please keep your comments focused on the topic. Thanks!