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:
Shirking Responsibility Disciplining Responsiveness

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?

Managers need to be on guard for the very behaviors being displayed by these guards. When employees are reprimanded for inappropriate behavior and then demonstrate a lack of teamwork and cooperation as a result, all they are doing is engaging in another behavior that is worthy of a reprimand.

You should make one attempt to open the lines of communication with the guards. If they choose to remain silent, you should discuss the matter with management.

This situation not only highlights questionable action by the guards, but questionable inaction by management. When management learns about a situation in which employees are spending time on personal calls and activities, there is a need for more than disciplinary action. This is the precise kind of situation that calls for management to spend less time in meetings or behind a desk, and more time on the floors.

In discussing the situation with management, you can suggest that they come to your department and check out these guarded behaviors.

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!