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How far do you let a mean employee go?

If you had an employee whose demeanor rubbed everyone else the wrong way but who was exceptionally good at his job, what would you do?

In this blog, I recount the story of the dean of a local college who was known for two things--his awesome ability to bring in grant money to the university and his horrible disposition. I'm waiting to see how staffers respond to it--whether they've worked with someone like this and, if so, how it affected their own productivity.

But I'd also like to hear from the bosses themselves. If you were aware of hateful behavior by one of your most brilliant staffers, how far would you let it drag on? Where do you draw the line?

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

72 comments
articles
articles

What if the team members of the certain manager are not productive enough and management do not listens to the manager.? I faced a situation where my friend was a team lead with a team of less qualified and average qualified personalities. The most difficult process was to make the team make understand things as required and then generating the output. The process which he followed: 1. Trained the members for 6 months as per the work and company requirements 2. Worked on their mistakes and provided an output for another 6 months (totaling to 1 year where members got habitual to the work process) 3. After 1 year, the team lead (who was now manager) stopped working on the teams mistakes and tried to persuade them to omit mistakes and provide a good output. 4. Now here, the team went against the manager and provided lazy attitude and demonstrated poor efficiency and working skills where the manager had to say them argumentive words so that, that individual feels it in mind and performs well. But all went against him, where slight scoldings became severe due to no response from the team. At the untolerable stage, 3 members of the team resigned on the same day. Now here management awoked and consulted the team members and conforted the manager for his wrong deeds which lead to such a situation, without hearing what actually happened and what were the reasons for this. With this, manager resigned as he could not find solutions to his problems. Now in such situations, can we consider an employee a MEAN or the mistake lies somewhere else?????

mark.silvia
mark.silvia

A small company originally hired me as an IT consultant and was looking for someone to replace an existing IT person who had several issues including attendance, work performance and dealing with people. He was never on time and in some cases simply did not show up. He was arrogant to the point of resembling Saturday Night Live's Nick Burns The Corporate Computer Guy. He did not take care of system -- thus no backups, servers and network were unstable. They liked my work and found out my other capabilities they hired me on as an IT Manager. I then implemented a complete backup system and stabilized and added some fault-tolerance to the network. I sat this person down and set some ground rules about attendance and behavior. And, most importunately, practiced what I preached and set examples for not only my him, but the rest of the staff at the company. I only had to write him up once to let me know, unlike his former bosses, that I meant business. I also got him interested in new projects and taught him Visual Basic; SQL; other skills involving network and database administration; and, more importantly how to address users. I have gotten to the point where disciplinary issues where non existent and he was happy and, more importantly, my users and management where happy. He later had an opportunity to transfer to a Warehouse Automation Analyst position. I encouraged and supported him and talked with management to get him the position. I did this because I felt he was well qualified. Unfortunately some habits die hard. Under a new manager, he began to show up late or not at all and his performance reflected this and ultimately was fired. I absolutely disappointed in him!!

tonylo
tonylo

From what I have read sounds like Steve Jobs to me. Look what happened the first time the board at Apple fired him.

mikifinaz1
mikifinaz1

Point the mean employee at some other dead weight and have them battle it out; then fire the winner using the battle as the reason. Two solutions for the price of one.

BellNBanjo
BellNBanjo

Keep him! He is doing his job, and the only people who don't like him are jealous incompetents who want to keep your organization stuck in the mud where they belong. Ask around, find the people who like him, and keep them. They will be the starters and go-getters.

flyfysher
flyfysher

You mentioned the person worked in the same job for fifteen years. There may be some outside issue that changed his/her attitude over the years. Or the individual gained strong skills via training etc. , realized his/her strong skills were called upon often to solve problems and simply turned into a jerk that felt he/she could not be replaced. Action: Build a case file containing incidents, attitude issues etc. Inform HR of the problem; put the person on a Performance Improvement Plan. The plan should explain exactly what the problem is and what is expected in the way of improvement. The plan should have a set time period of (90 days etc.) with a face to face discussion every two weeks re improvement. The person must understand that failure to improve will lead to termination of employment. The individual must be made to understand that regardless of skill and his/her perceived importance to the organization that no one is irreplaceable.

yadu.kulkarni
yadu.kulkarni

We had a person with that exact description in my previous company. She was quite good at her job, but was horrible and manipulative as a co-worker. Unfortunately, the company did not recognize the problem, and even if they did, they decided to just ignore. It cost them heavily with several of the team quitting...

mbrown
mbrown

Faced this situation a few times over the years. I agree with several people who suggest it needs to be addressed immediately. No need to destroy the person but there are certain very constructive ways to point out how others see the behaviours and ask their opinion. If the acknowledge it, there are offers of ways to support the individual to correct behaviours. Who knows, there may be things going on in their personal lives that are impacting them at work. It shouldn't be that way but sometimes it is. If the person denies or says things like they do not intend to chance, there are proper HR protocols to follow to address inappropriate behaviours .. ending with termination. Following good HR practise; document the behaviour, document the discussions and as required write letters for their personnel file .. build the case for dismissal or reprimand as necessary.

JandNL
JandNL

We had an assistant (retail) manager at one of my former jobs who not only alienated numerous customers, but treated employees inappropriately. We had a lot of complaints from both groups. The store manager needed evidence before doing anything; I provided records of several incidents before I left immediately before the holiday season - the stress was more than was reasonable. Within two months of my departure, the assistant manager was replaced. In our case, this employee cost our store money. In the case you describe, I would recommend urging the person to change their behavior based on evidence from at least a few affected parties, sending the person to (relationship) training, and if neither proves effective, letting them go. One person doing their job extremely well does not permit that person demoralizing everyone else, thereby reducing those people's productivity and possibly creating turnover.

cmiller5400
cmiller5400

If it were up to me, he would have been gone in a picosecond. This was not a case of just being mean, it involved sexual harassment. Sexual harassment can NOT be tolerated, no matter how good the guy is at his job.

knleeds
knleeds

It depends how mean. Simply measure the costs and benefits of the current situation and compare with costs and benefits in alternative scenarios. For example if the Mean is -1000 and the Funds is +2000, but you could get rid of him and have Mean = +200 (actually in the Nice range) and Funds = +1500 (you wouldn't lose that much funds probably) then you'd have a net improvement of +700 (because (1500 + 200) - (2000 - 1000) is 700). Another idea is to give the suffering colleagues a stress relief room to let off steam (by punching something maybe, or exercising) and relaxing (like a nice soft chair and music) after they have to deal with him.

rverslues
rverslues

I draw the line when they get in my face, I can take a lot of things from bosses but this one thing I can't take. Go ahead and let them vent, don't take it personal because it has nothing to do with you it's all him. His shit stinks just like you'rs and mine and he isn't an better then you or me.

jacob3273
jacob3273

One firm I worked for had two foreign workers, both from India. One was sort of haughty, but the other was friendly. I heard the haughty one yelling at his fellow countryman one day and later asked the "yellee" what was going on, and why the other one was yelling at him. He said that back in India he was from a lower "caste" than the haughty one, so it was OK. Well, I generally keep my Irish temper in check but I lost it right about there and told him, "Not in this country." It was at that point I became the "mean" one and went straight to the boss with this story, who told the character that one more incident like that and he was outta there. The haughty one got so worked up that he resigned. Good riddance; in my opinion he wasn't nearly as productive as the "lower caste" guy anyway.

jck
jck

In my situation now, I am sort of in this position. My boss is a phenomenal programmer, extremely bright guy, and very talented. However, he is arrogant, talks to us (his employees) like children, makes smart-arsed comments about our work ethic (if we stand around for 2-3 minutes chatting) when he is no better (i have heard him on the phone with family/friends for better than 20 minutes at a time), and will chastise the composition of your work even though he doesn't give you any input or direction. At this point, I'm looking for a different job. His demeanor is too arrogant and self-serving, his repeated use of the "F-word" outloud where everyone in the hall is entirely unprofessional, and his unfair practices are just too much to bear. So if you have a bad employee who is mean/abusive to other employees, whether he or she is staff or management, you're better off without them.

PalKerekfy
PalKerekfy

I do believe that we need diversity in a team (if it is large enough). My experience tells me that the most agile, diligent and creative people are quite often not easy to live with. I think that we need to accept the fact that they cannot easily tolerate those who live a slower life, don't jump on new possibilities, don't poke their nose in others' job - and vice versa. I did see quite a number of clashes between different personalities. One can take a sentence or a smile as an insult - while it could be quite normal for the others. We need to teach and train team members. They need to be sensitive and tolerant. They need to understand others. They have to exercise a certain level of understanding. Both ways. There are a few things that I won't tolerate, though. Personal behaviour must not have heavy negative impact on team spirit and results.

Chaz Chance#
Chaz Chance#

There are few people so brilliant that you cannot find a replacement. Warn him to change, then sack him if he doesn't. I have had to repeatedly modify my naturally, delightfully, abrasive manner to fit in, so why can't he? Ya too chicken to tell him? I am available for a small fee.

work
work

I would counsel the other employees to ignore the meanness, and just ignore him or her altogether if desired. Unless the person crosses the line with aggression or bad language, the others need to simply live with it. Sometimes people get too touchy, and having touchiness rule an office is not good, either.

marie-noelle.baechler
marie-noelle.baechler

As a manager, I have already had to deal with "problematic" employees and I found this situation to be .... problematic! In my experience, a key issue is avoiding that this kind of employee breaks the whole team. There are cases where the employee is able to become aware that his/her behavior is problematic and where s/he is able to change it. This is the case where classical management tools are useful (handling the subject in private, exposing the problem with specific cases, exposing the consequences with specific cases, being solution oriented and so on...). The other cases are the most difficult. Very frequently, they need conflict management techniques. Thare are cases where an employee is doing very valuable things and where it is possible to isolate him/her from de rest of the team. The price to pay is that the manager will need to concentrate a lot of attention on this person. In other cases, legal advice may be necessary or even mandatory. However, it seems to me that one must be very careful before putting an employee into this category. There are also cases where very good employees are rejected by their team and where the problem is in the team not in the employee. Some may be too talented and the rest of the team cannot stand it. There are also cases where some employees are just different and this difference cause rejection. For example, there are still places on this world where women are still rejected by sexist male teams. and there are many other cases. That's when it's the manager's duty to educate his/her team and to place clear limits to its behavior.

kmartin
kmartin

As a manager, I have this situation currently. I am dealing with it directly. I have asked the team member to soften tones, etc. and have given more of a training position to dissipate the bad vibe being given. In the meantime, I am using the policy to aid in their dismissal because it is effecting my team dynamic.

jhamblet
jhamblet

There was a "mean employee" in my unit for 10 years. Not much I was able to do about it personally, except work to keep my own reputation polished, and not let this mean person drag me down to becoming mean myself. Im my case, perseverence prevailed. The "meanie" is finally leaving the comapny.

michelinel
michelinel

I refer you to Robert Sutton's book expanding on a Stanford article he wrote. It is called "The No-Asshole Rule : Building a Civilised Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't Mich Logan (Joburg)

bobbyperu
bobbyperu

With a Remington Golden Sabre 185g. +P+ .45ACP round they can go 50 yards. I'll dispatch the miserable excuse of a human down to where he belongs. Even better is the 3 foot flame up close saying what needs to be said in brilliant colors - I'd do a glaser safety slug 135g for that.

BFilmFan
BFilmFan

The real question is can the employee's behavior lead to a lawsuit against the company? If so, then the issue needs to be addrssed. While the issue of sociopaths and brilliant performance at work is the subject of another whole discussion (and I highly recommend Snakes In Suits: When Psychopaths Go To Work http://books.google.com/books?id=J9mvHW1eA14C&dq=Snakes+in+Suits&pg=PP1&ots=jcsiriyz_3&sig=-6ewl4-CmTlF_HT2j2-keinaSc0&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result on the subject), often people do not understand how their behavior can be interpreted by others. It's the reason that companies spell out what is and is not permitted behavior. There will always be workplace friction and excellent companies will train their employees on how to handle these kinds of issues. I've found that discussing the issue with the person in private and away from everyone else can resolve the issue. A powerful technique is to identify the issue, state why it disrupts your work and what the ramification will be if it continues. Stated plainly and calmly in private to another person shows you respect them and want to resolve the issue with them first. Of course, if they are a sociopath, then you will probably need to use other techniques, up to and including getting legal advice. I've found hanging up framed posters and other collectables representing The Joker in my office gives most people some clue as to my conflict resolution skills. Another co-worker has pictures of Freddy Krueger up in his. And no, I don't work at a asylum, but it sure seems that way at times.

PM III
PM III

My personal experience working overseas in a multicutural environment (I'm a native-born American who was the "outsourced" consultant...quite a switch!) has reinforced my belief in managing the performance of all employees equally. The job of management in this case should be to take steps to deal with how he relates to others, even if it means termination. What if he had a great disposition and could build and manage a great team, but had a habit of wasting grant money? What message are you sending to the rest of the team? As long as you're good at something, your faults will be overlooked? Wrong message!

Reuban
Reuban

I think you have described a few issues together. If the team as a whole is not productive enough and the lead/manager has informed superiors, then the manager needs to be helped with a solution. This might be a problem in the team or with the manager himself. Here, it sounds like you agreed with your manager, while the superiors thought the team members were right (as they didn't do anything about the managers complaints) and didn't think too seriously of the situation until people resigned. From what you have said, I think the manager was probably a little mean, but his leadership style obviously worked with some like yourself. He probabaly needed to learn to change that a bit to suit other employees and his superiors.

esparks251
esparks251

Our group had a "successful" boss who publically humiliated and denigrated his direct reports, while buttering up the next-level-up boss. We lowly workers were simply not believed - or at least we were ignored - when we tried to report issues to that upper-level boss. When one of us eventually went to HR, he was told that HE was the problem, as the (mean) boss was so successful. This was a great illustration of the simple fact that most people never have to learn, that HR exists for the protection and convenience of the corporation. The problem boss kept his job until the company restructured, and laid off everybody in the group.

tyler
tyler

Is it really that easy to resolve using HR protocols? I don't think so. How do we make sure that the people in charge of the case have what we call good personalities or attitudes. You can invite a bunch of engineers and have a debate about specs on a product but personalities and attitudes can't be discussed, agreed and documented?... easily or especially worked on. A bad day can affect one's behavior but if the behavior is bad consistently then I don't think it can be worked on. We either have it or we don't. I believe that you can recruit talented people who are also nice people. Just because somebody is so productive, doesn't mean that his or her personalities and/or attitudes don't matter. I totally don't agree with this. Those people wouldn't last very long if I was in charge but they're lucky because I'm not and I do hope that they'll change for their own good, the people and the world around them.

jon
jon

Folks go to work to work not whine. If the guy oversteps the mark with violence or verbally / physically abusive behaviour then steps need to be taken. If he is just forceful and good at making things happen then keep him and fire the rest of them. A workplace needs strong leaders, it does not need whiners. On balance though, when someone uses cultural and ethnic arguments to justify boorish behaviour one has to ask serious questions.

dcapretta
dcapretta

Years ago I joined a team who had a mean employee that the IT Director thought the company couldn't do without his IT skills. In effect he alienated not only the department internally but the entire company against the IT department. Plus his IT skills were not that good. If they won't change their way cut them, they are not worth the cost.

rowdydave
rowdydave

(Though it does sound like fun). If everyone in the organization who deals with this intelligent idiot would just get up the courage to confront the offensive behavior, it would be likely to stop. Confronting a bully works more often than it does not. If that doesn't work, can the s**thead (or go with the ballistic solution, if you think his death sentence is worth one of your own)and find another grant writer. He isn't the only person in the world who can raise funds. Even though the "bird in the hand" theory seems valid, he's doing more harm than good to the organization.

LightVelocity
LightVelocity

Quite frankly, in this and few other posts that advocates against the example employee you have in mind, the tone and the intent appears similar to the person being discussed. It is best to influence a behaviour one wants of others by consistently providing them themselves. Both the sets appear to behave similarly - just that one can get away, while the other cannot. Power appears to be the factor that separates the two.

harry.dewedoff
harry.dewedoff

Regardless of a persons administrative or technical prowess; mean, rude or overall obnoxious behavior should not be tolerated. Allowing the behavoir to exist will only frustrate and alienate present employee's and would allow the mean employee to view themselves as untouchable, thus creating another problem entirely.

jdclyde
jdclyde

hydroshocks. [i]"Hydro-Shok bullets have a large hollow cavity with a post of harder lead in the center. The purpose of the post is to redirect body fluids against the side of the cavity, ensuring expansion at lower velocity."[/i] Where Sabres twist and fragment, the Hydro-shocks pretty much implode. :D

santeewelding
santeewelding

As to load and ogive when I'm crawling with ants. It's the feeling I get.

davalop
davalop

Agree that there will always be workplace friction and excellent companies will etc. Also agree that first choice is always to raise issue with person in private and get them to voluntarily change their behaviour. However, if this fails, it doesn't really matter what is causing them to behave the way they do (sociopath or otherwise) - the real question is: is the person a net asset to the unit or a net liability. On the cost side, consider the cost of replacing/ training other employees who leave the company because of this person; also consider that other's productivity will probably decline because all they think about/talk about is the mean employee - it's not just his/her own productivity, it's the net effect of his behaviour on the productivity of the whole group.

vita4life
vita4life

I work for a privately owned company. So this guy is about 15 years behind on his skills (still thinks Fox Pro is God send), and the most negative person I?ve ever met. Everything that comes out of his mouth is either insult or completely negative comment. Our boss has to go to all the meetings he is in, so he would stay somewhat focused and not just get on the business people. But, he is still working because he is a personal friend of the CEO/owner. And he milks it to, reminding everyone of that. So, how can anyone work with that!

chenz71
chenz71

I have to agree with you JT1. Looking at this problem from a different perspective makes it a different problem. If he had been wasting grant money, his butt would have been out on the streets long ago. As a matter o' fact...faster than the way the problem is now. 2 quick examples: Project Manager - Meets or beats deadlines with projects, and possibly comes in under budget, but to work around this person may be stressful due to his/her people skills. On the flip side, if this person was great to work with yet never met a deadline for a project and always lost sight of the intended project, and ran up countless dollars for always going over budget; the stakeholders would have a field day with this individual.

Nico Zwaneveld
Nico Zwaneveld

We had a 'mean' colleague at one time, with such a unique set of skills, that we were constantly trying to find ways to live with this problem. He was arrogant, and it seemed like he had a natural instinct to make others feel like they were stupid. His was always judging others, and his judgment were painfully harsh. If someone was 'corrected' by him, and they made the 'mistake' to say ? I'm sorry, but... ?, he would immediately interrupt them and reply ?I know you are sorry!?. We were scared to let him face people outside our department, but we quite often didn't feel like we had much choice. Is technical skills were so good that he could come up with a fault analysis and propose a solution, that may have taken others days or weeks. He had been with the company for about 15 years, and when he joined he was a really nice guy. As his expertise grew over th eyears, so did his attitude problem. He had been told to shape up numerous times and we had offered him all kinds of (professional) help, but it seemed like couldn't care less. He could not be convinced to take any of the help we offered. He believed that he was untouchable. When things really got bad, we made him buddy up with a typical 'socializer' (and I must admit it, really helped that it was a beautiful and very knowledgeable woman). At the same time (without telling him), we increased our search efforts to replace him. We also put a number of our best people into training programs, just in case the external search took longer than we were hoping for. Prior to his external visits, the 'socializer' would warn the others... and if needed she would stay behind after the meeting to help repair any damaged feelings. All-in-all we ended up paying dearly for this. The biggest mistake was that we ignored earlier warning signals. Had we replaced this guy earlier, then we would not have had the staff & client retention issues we faced at that time. The biggest lesson we learned: At the first signs of disrespect to clients and peers, you must intervene and make it clear that this is unacceptable behavior. If the person does not improve his ways (even if the person is deemed irreplaceable), the next step should be: "We don?t know how we can do without you, but we are going to try! Good-bye!" The sooner this happens, the better. If you don't respond decisively, then others will start to think that they too can get away with inappropriate behavior.

santeewelding
santeewelding

It's redefinition of the enterprise: "something the company can't do without", a whole other affair. Placement edited to address the main topic.

articles
articles

Manager tried to change, but the team did not. The plans were carried out to modify the work procedure and every other thing which can create a happy go round working process. But till the day came, everything was finished. The outcome which i could see was that team started dis-beleiving the manager which lead to such behavior. A mean attitude only comes when the people around you are/or have become mean or the person is a born mean. How can a manager of 20 team members become mean in carrying out everything by himself, and can a person do this individually and that too at perfection? Such things happen rare and such situations required a combined team effort to pull out things and carry the work in an healthy environment. What will you say?

santeewelding
santeewelding

Being lined up out back and shot. Does this lend definition to your iffyness? Or would you prefer to be iffy?

flyfysher
flyfysher

I agree with you. HR does not have all the answers and they are there to protect the company. My statement was ?discuss it with HR? not let them handle it. If you are the supervisor of this person you already know more than HR does. And if HR is worth anything they will support you. The key is COMMUNICATION. So ? take the action after telling HR what you are going to do.

redux
redux

There's an awful lot of mean talk in this discussion from the folks that (must) think they aren't the problem. It's starting to look like this is a "just like me or else" issue -- and if anyone thinks that kind of mob rule will work, good luck. Maybe the "mean" employee has felt like everyone is talking behind his/her back and trying to undercut her because they really are jealous. Sure, it probably isn't true, but your mean employee, meanwhile, is going to be very circumspect, careful, maybe arrogant -- and the rest of your group is just going to see confirmation that she is just AWFUL. So I think it is total childish nonsense to really believe that "we either have it or we don't." That just isn't ever true. Even the meanest misanthrope had a Mom that thought he was wonderful -- you just have to find the positive. Of course, in a work environment it can be a very difficult social dynamic to sort out. Several comments suggested that you should consider firing all the "not mean" people, so you have a lot of aggressive, productive, creative types. I'm not so sure that would work, so maybe the answer lies in that fuzzy world of HR policies, talking to the "problem" privately to listen -- and see if you can help find the solution. Maybe "mean" might be nice if she felt appreciated? This all sounds too High School. Maybe all of us need to re-read our Dale Carnegie and figure out how to get along better.

marianwancio
marianwancio

I agree. Also, depends what you mean by a 'mean employee'. There's far too much emphasis placed on 'appearances'. Somebody raises their voice or even vents an expletive and the rest join forces to ostracise him/her. If this is 'mean', then I wish there were more of them. Project environments, we have to remember, are often highly charged because there's often a lot riding on the successful outcome. Too many people in my own experience work to protect their own 'comfort zone'. They make it difficult or even impossible to do anything outside of some rules that they've established primarily for that reason. Try to circumvent them for the betterment of the project and it's like asking them to give up their entire personal wealth. So if there's someone around who is prepared to 'focus' people's attention to the job in hand, all power to them. As long, though they do this without threatening, being abusive or shouting at people. There are limits of course.

Chaz Chance#
Chaz Chance#

I have dealt with a bully, who was also a very senior line manager. He had made himself indispensable by storing a lot of technical stuff in his head, and not passing it on. When I learned he was going to have line authority over me, I was concerned. I had seen some quality people leave because of him. I was also nervous because I hadn't dealt well with bullying at school, and didn't want a repeat of that experience. A couple of days after the management changes came into force, he had a go at me, in the main office, with almost the entire department present, over some trivial matter. I took a deep breath and... Let him have it! Starting with "how dare you speak to me like that!" I gave him chapter and verse on what behavior I would tolerate, and what I would not. I was polite, my language free from expletives, and I spoke just load enough for everyone to hear without shouting. I made no threats, I did no name calling. He never tried to bully me again. From that moment on, he went out of his way to be pally with me. I guess the face-saving plan was to suggest that it was okay for me to speak like that because I was his friend. I was always cordial, but no way was I going to be his friend. There would have been political advantages to having a friend who was third from the top in a big company, but too many good people, friends or otherwise, had been hurt. Soon after that he started looking for another job. My colleagues had lost their fear of him, and started to answer back when he was rude. He tried changing his behavior, but he had been mean to so many people, that life started to become hell for him, as former victims began to feel capable of saying what they thought of him, to his face. They had learned that you are only a victim if you want to be. He was the only person in the world who had a full understanding of the maintenance of some of the specialist kit that we build. He had never documented, and rarely shared his knowledge. After he left, we had difficulties figuring out how to get by without the specialist knowledge in his head, but you know what? We managed.

jck
jck

if you really wanna do em good...use black talons. they explode inside, and the casing is made to curl back and wrap around anything near it like a eagle's talon. therefore when they get into surgery...if they make it that far...they get to lose tissue in addition to the "body fluids" lol

Govt._1911
Govt._1911

+1 On Hydra-Shoks. Got 'em in my carry gun. Got 'em in my nightstand gun, too.

santeewelding
santeewelding

Ants, my man; ants, and the things that start with Q. Besides, the post bit and the ogive give you fits without fine attention to the feed ramp. You learned nothing in Lethal Force 101?

jsuw
jsuw

And what do you do when the "mean" employee is the manager of the team? I worked for one that began humiliating team members when they did things even slightly wrong. He was the Senior Manger and I was the Manager, and this behavior occurred between him and my team whenever I was away from the office. We thought he might be bi-polar because on Monday you might be the best employee ever, the smartest, etc. and on Tuesday the worst, dumbest, most careless. When he started getting personal in his attacks (never on me, only on my team) and saying things reported to me second hand like that he was going to "force a retirement" of a valued employee who had been with the company 40 years, and planned on at least another 10. Or that one employee was stupid and careless, and couldn't even manage his personal life because he was on marriage number three and had a child with each one. His demeanor upset everyone. When I came back to the office from a conference or a trip, my team assailed me with the stories. I went to HR and they investigated and did nothing. The investigation made him turn on me, and try to undermine the apparent quality of my work. That was difficult on the technical side, but he used the "problems" with my staff as a way to show I was a poor manager. Needless to say, it made my life difficult, and I had no upper-management support. Directors and Managers outside my immediate team knew the situation but were not able to intercede. My Manager had befriended the CIO, socializing occasionally, and after the sudden death of the CIO's wife, going bike riding, etc. with him on weekends. I don't know if this had much influence or not. HR decided he needed to improve his communication style, and were planning a curriculum for him. In the six months after the investigation and when I left, he had not attended any sessions, as far as I know. I was, incidentally, the fourth employee to leave because of him. We had a team of 7 to start with, plus contractors. I speak with my former co-workers often, and things have not changed. He still manages by fear and intimidation, but has put more distance between himself and the individuals on the team. He constantly threatens his team of managers, and puts pressure on them to write up and intimidate their teams. He does not allow innovation. He has also been promoted to Director in the interim since I left. This is mostly because the Data Warehouse value has been perceived to increase in the company. The team that remains has learned to keep their mouths shut and not stick their necks out. It is a paycheck now, not a passion as it once used to be for most of the team. No one wants to go the extra mile in this atmosphere. The team oftens goes to HR to complain, but they know that it is futile. They go when they must, when verbiage during a review makes them unable to sign. Some complaints went to Legal, but they say that they can't hear about the situation if the employee might litigate against the company. In good conscience, I could not stay and allow my team to be treated that way. I risked what happened to me to try to make the change, it failed, and I left. Are they doomed?

chenz71
chenz71

I have only come in contact with this one time and it was at my last job. The President of our branch had put many of his 'good ol' boy' buddies to work as salesmen (sorry girls, it's like this guy has no good friends that are women, hence the sales'men'). Back to point, salespeople service the customer and if one of his personal friends need a quick order or something from the warehouse, they have free reign no matter how much it they get in the way, disturb process, or pass a cut off time. My advice is; live with it or find a different job. You can't buck the system. Although it seems unfair, there really isn't anything you can do or say about it without jeopardizing your own spot in the company. If you were to voice an opinion about it, your CEO may feel threatened about his judgment and take out his anger on you.

deeckon7
deeckon7

I totally agree. These types of personalities tend to think they are the company. They are also more prone to having secrets that nobody else knows, that can hurt your company if he is asked to leave or if he angryly resigns.

sholcombe
sholcombe

Regretabaly you waited way too long and it cost you in big bucks, morale, and customer lose of respect. No one is too good to be replaced. We warn hoping things will get better, but they usually do not. In a conversation I had about someone we stated that arrogant people (you said he was) do not realize what arrogance is and that they are such.

Reuban
Reuban

Sad to say I've seen a similar situation as well. In this case, the 10 year IT pro was the sophisticated office bully. He even had high level help as his family members served in middle management. He too was extremely nice in the beginning, but changed for the worst when a new hire (mua) started outshining him. Here too he had multiple warnings, but since he had high-level help their focus was on how well they should hide/control the misdemeanours rather than eliminating those with the daggers. As long as both sides fought it out quietly, things were deemed to be okay. The bully's' department knowledge were apparently indispensable. The culprit should have been demoted at the least due to multiple offences, but no clear action was forthcoming, so one fine day the victim just packed up and left. The hassle of having to put up with it was not worth the blood on the floor.

JandNL
JandNL

Your experience and assessment sums up the situation beautifully. Thanks for the post - hopefully all readers will take this to heart!

chenz71
chenz71

Or shall I say, 'Is there a different direction here?' What I am saying is; did the company create the monster and isn't it really their job to fix the problem? If falls under the 'spare the rod' theory. The must try to unspoil the monster they created by all means before they cut him/her loose. Unfortunately, some people constantly fall into this predicament job after job and find out WAY TOO LATE that their personality is politically incorrect in the workspace. Take for instance those who did not change with the times; back in the day when it was not frowned upon by your peers to outwardly embarrass a fellow employee or subordinate. As a matter of fact, it may have earned you a promotion! Of course those days went out just like the ones where Drill Instructors hit kids, and coaches hit players. So the question here is, 'Did the company or train of companies create a monster, and isn't it their job to deal with him/her without letting them go off to another job and have the same problem.' The buck stops here!

JandNL
JandNL

The response you made suggests that attitude does not affect the business, neither within the company nor with others. This is far from the truth. I can't help wondering what business you are in if you have the view you expressed.

Chaz Chance#
Chaz Chance#

The manager needs to be trained to be a manager. I have seen many of these. A chap gets promoted because of their excellent performance, but the short-sighted management fail to consider whether this means that they would be good at leading others to do the same job. This lack of support often leaves the manager floundering and unhappy, and does nothing for productivity. The manager has not been trained to train others, so the workforce don't learn the job properly and make mistakes. The manager has not been trained to assess others performance, so does not know which staff need further training, and which will never/don't want to learn, so doesn't know which to keep and which to let go. The manager has never been trained to motivate, so the others disrespect her/him, and don't give their best. The manager has never been trained to delegate, so she/he ends up doing most of the work of the team. This manager should either be given proper training, or demoted to a where her/his skill set is more appropriate. If the manager is true management material, she/he will request this on their own. If they are not, they will allow the situation to continue without taking the proper actions to regain control. When you are made a manager, the company expects you to recognise what resources you need to do the job, and to ask for them. They don't expect you to be Superman and do it all by yourself.

Reuban
Reuban

Ofcourse not, but where do we begin to fix the problem - as there obviously seems to have been a major one. You listen to your employees, both management and staff and try to work it out. Complexities will emerge. Dealing with that has to keep in mind the core issues, instigators of problems and various other factors. Sythesise them and see what can be done to reduce spanners in the works. Offer solutions from sutle to bold ones, depending on what you have come up with. If you think the entire team is holding everyone back, retain or if that doesnt work phase them out and build anew as priorities allow. If the manager is the problem, same solution as above, but with management they tend to be more receptive to retraining, advise and help. But the problem needs to be escalated up until it moves beyond any problem areas or conflicts of interest. But I'm curious, how would you handle it?

jdclyde
jdclyde

I am a firm believer of gun safety. Rule one, assume all weapons are loaded. Rule two, never point a weapon at something you don't intend to kill. Rule three, see rule two. Hydras finish what you start. B-)

jdclyde
jdclyde

using them for the nightstand. To much chance of them going through a wall and hitting something/someone you don't intend, possibly even into a neighbors house. Hope protection, at least the first two rounds, should be glaser. If you need to get to the bottom of the clip, then you let the big dogs run. B-)

Dr_Zinj
Dr_Zinj

Couple of cans of extra strength bug killer in an enclosed area can do wonders. And you can claim it was an accidental suicide. You blame the ne'r-do-well for trying to kill all the ants attracted to the piles of moldy pizza boxes and nearly empty coke bottles.

mark.silvia
mark.silvia

I had a similar issue with a salesperson who does not follow any rules, policies or procedures. He pulls from inventory without letting anyone know, consistently sold items at a loss, ran up company credit cards, pretty much rubbed everyone the wrong way and gotten away with it for years. Even though I was relatively new to the company, I made a case against him for disrupting processes such as taking large amounts of inventory and not updating the computer, or at lease having warehouse personnel update it for him. He also constantly had one crisis after another and expected everyone to stop what they are doing to undo his mess. I found this completely unacceptable and called him on it and had a meeting with my superior and encouraged and gave him techniques and ideas on how to solve this problem. Lack of planning and communication on his part does not necessarily constitute an emergency for my department. It really pays to set ground rules early and stand up for not only yourself but anyone who also reports to you and most often the organization as a whole. I choose not live with the baloney. And.. the PITA sales person was the owner's best friend and he respected me for standing up to him and realized that he needed some serious reigning in.

sholcombe
sholcombe

All the victims should have left, not just the obvious one.

redux
redux

... and there is a good lesson, there. What is NOW considered destructive behavior in an organization was once hailed as "Effective Management". While I think we're all much better off now with an increased sensitivity to effective interpersonal behavior, sometimes the expectation of sensitivity may make us more prone to become ineffective (have a meltdown) at the slightest stress or provocation. And I think we all know that all business is prone to having periods of extra stress. Maybe some stress is good / healthy in the sense that it can serve to remind employees that this is a JOB, hopefully NOT their LIFE. Make sure they remember that this isn't their family -- even if they want to view their group that way (heck, and I'm sure that makes the group tremendously productive). But ultimately, isn't that pretty deceptive on the part of the organization? The business has its goals independent of any one employee or group of employees, and if the profits aren't there, guess what, folks. History. Interesting ethical question from this, then. The company wants productive groups (therefore fire the guy), people want to spend their days in a happier environment (therefore fire the guy), the company wants higher profits now as well as later (therefore keep the guy, depending on what "now" or "later" turns out to be), but who's looking out for the long term interests of the individuals in the group? Is the deception of a "nicer work environment" really honest? Those of you in that nice group won't think so the afternoon after your entire group has been terminated because of a "market shift". So, like in Isaac Asimovo's Robots and Empire, maybe we all need a needle to keep us just a little uncomfortable -- for our own good?

mevanatta
mevanatta

I work in Academia and the Dean's are not so easy to let go. They usually have a contract. They definitely could let any Dean go and not feel any affect because they all bring in a new agenda anyway. The question is not should they but can they?

mevanatta
mevanatta

Academia is far different working environment than a corporate business. More or likely the Dean has a contract and can not even HAVE an evaluation until the time the contract is up. Besides.. many PHD's in academia are not treated like regular employees.

SRRY
SRRY

and strongly agree

zeke013
zeke013

I think there should be a place for non "people-persons". If someone has a caustic personality, but is extremely good at what they do, then manage that talent by making sure they have extremely limited interaction with others. Telecommuting, anyone? :-) Win-win.

santeewelding
santeewelding

About your "company of many people". Except for that stubborn initial condition about "can't do without". Removing piecemeal from a corpus and doing without, however, will by simple definition get one to the point where that body will cease to function, then further, cease to exist. In my case it's me. Remove plant -- IT or employees, for example -- and though you kill off function, the legal heart still beats, and the brain makes do. Compromise either of those, and there is no accompaniment. The heart and brain of your "company of many", though more diffuse, is similarly disposed. Sooner or later you can kill it. You remove that which it "can't do without". If that be an employee, you're not in business as I know it. You're in trouble.

sholcombe
sholcombe

No one is a component that a company of many people cannot do without. Two weeks after you are gone they do not remember your name. Seen it happen.

rhino777
rhino777

How high are you right now?

santeewelding
santeewelding

If he amounts to a component "the company can't do without", he amounts to company. Employees are extensions of a company or business or entity. They are not sine qua non. I am my company. I blinked it into existence. I can blink it out. I am sine qua non. If he can similarly blink, he is a partner, a co-owner, a co-conspirator. He is not my employee. That's what I'm talking about, invited to speak as a boss. What are you talking about?