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Power Plays and Players Incompetence Insubordination

I have asked an employee to do a certain project the way I want it done, but he simply does it his way, and his way is wrong. When I have spoken to him, he agrees to take the correct steps, and then he does it his way again. How many times do I have to tell him what I want before it's time to take more serious action?

Management is not really a process of figuring out how many times you have to ask an employee to do something before he or she finally does it. If you have discussed a project with your employee, outlined the best way to approach it, and then provided some coaching and guidance along the way, then once is enough.

If you had hurriedly thrown a project at this employee and provided no explanation whatsoever, then there might be a need for more two-way communication in your leadership style. But in this case, you spoke with your employee and he agreed to do the project the way you suggested, and then he still went off on his own tangent.

It appears that he is either incompetent or insubordinate, and that is your call. If he lacks the skills, abilities, or expertise to carry out his work successfully, then you should consider additional coaching or another position for him. And if he has simply decided to defy you and prove that his way is better than yours, it is time to show him once again the errors of his way, and advise him of the consequences if he continues down this path.

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Posted by Karen Rodriguez on 2012-08-06 11:52:35
What if the employee is tenured and experienced in her job, and her way is also a valid way of proceeding? Would it still be correct for the manager to insist on their own way of completing the project, or would it not be more constructive/productive for the manager to hear the employee out, consider whether that method would not also work to achieve the same result, etc.?