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:
Family Business Assertiveness Career Planning Insubordination

How do you deal with an employee who says that he can do whatever he wants because he's related to the owner of the company? As his supervisor, I have found his attitude and work to be questionable, but I do not want any problems with the owner who is a fairly volatile guy.

An employee who tells you that he can do whatever he wants because he's related to the owner does not have a questionable attitude: he has an outrageous attitude. However, if you let him act this way, that is outrageous too. The situation is guaranteed to get worse if you take no action.

As a supervisor, you are supposed to provide guidance, direction, and leadership to your troops. By letting one seemingly connected employee undermine your leadership, you are also allowing him to undermine your credibility as well as your department's productivity, teamwork, and morale.

If you have advised this individual of the consequences of continued questionable performance, yet his insubordination persists, you should take appropriate disciplinary action. If this family business is truly being run as a business, do not be surprised to find the "volatile" owner becoming upset with this relative. However, if the owner becomes upset with you, then it is time to think twice about trying to build a career at what appears to be a family picnic.

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!