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  • #2192051

    New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice


    by rb_itprofessional ·

    I have a new team member whom after only day 3 is showing signs of being argumentative. I encourage and foster input and feedback from my team; however, the culture of our team is such that it is done in a manner that is respectful to others. This new employee has not gotten accustomed to our culture yet, and as a result is “ruffling some feathers” so to speak. She has even loudly challenged me on a couple of things. On one occasion she did it in front of my boss, and on the second occasion in the middle of another department. On the first occasion, my manager decided he didn’t want to be a part of the discussion and excused himself. I allowed her to express her opinion and we talked a bit and came to common ground. The second time it happened, she raised her voice and told me in essence that she felt that I was not listening to her. People generally tell you what they need from you, and so I shut up and listened. I listened while she loudly elaborated on her point. When she was done, I told her that I understood where she was coming from and appreciated her perspective. I told her that I could accommodate some of her suggestion, but not all of it due to scheduling constraints etc. I am seeing a trend that I don’t want to continue. What I want is her feedback and input and for her to contribute her expertise to the team. That is why we hired her. What I don’t want is for her to do so in a manner that breeds negativity among the rest of the team. Already people are avoiding her and its only day 3. Any thoughts?

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    • #3142208

      One on One

      by mjd420nova ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      Has a private meeting with just this person. Be sure they understand that their suggestions are warranted and explain why some aspects are not viable. Also be sure that no more “displays” are exhibited any where but in your office. If this calms the individual down, then you may have gained a valuable employee, otherwise the storms will get worst and affect others performance and even disturb other departments. Also inform them that dispalys in front of your boss could mean YOUR job, and will not be tolerated. A lowly officer does not dress down a department head in front of the captain.

      • #3164113

        Plan and Document

        by mountain air ·

        In reply to One on One

        A one on one meeting with this person is essential. However, it is also essential to explain to her “official” supervisor exactly what you plan to discuss with her. Since you are acting in the capacity of de-facto supervisor, you need to get the blessing of somebody who is actually in the chain of command. Your talking points need to be presented to the supervisor in advance of the meeting in the form of a memo to the supervisor. If you don’t do this, the tables may turn on you. Even though your co-workers and one or two supervisory personnel may have seen the problem, it doesn’t mean that HR has.

        After meeting with this person, write a memo for the record describing the purpose of the meeting, referencing the planning memo, and explaining what was said by each person. This is partly CYA, but mostly evidence for HR when/if the time comes to terminate.

        • #3163880

          build a file

          by jacob3273 ·

          In reply to Plan and Document

          I agree with DASIT’s post. Obviously, it’s essential to make this person understand that her disruptive behavior is detrimental to your team’s working atmosphere.

          But I’d also build a file on her just in case discussions don’t work and there’s no choice but to escort her to the rear exit, where visitors in the lobby won’t be treated to what might be one of her stellar performances.

        • #3112486

          Nip it.

          by bsmntcritr ·

          In reply to build a file

          Nip this thing in the bud and do it now.
          Brutal? Sure.
          Needed? Absolutely.

          I’ve experiened this same thing and learned that this kind of behavior gets more controlling and disrespectful. If you allow your authority to be challenged in an open court you risk becoming a person no 0ne takes seriously and that can make future projects that required interdepartmental cooperation help very difficult. Been there, experiernced that.

          Lay down the rules of what is acceptable and what is not.

          Document all of the “course corrections” with the new party, yourself, and management. It’s backup that will be asked for even though you were never warned to collect it.

    • #3142100

      Having been in this situation on more than

      by j.lupo ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      one occasions (and yes sometimes guilty as charged too) I have found that the 1-on-1 is a way to work out these types of issues. The big thing is to make her aware of her behavior and your interpretation of it.

      I know in my case it came from a passion for us succeeding and I just had to work on my interpersonal abilities over and over again. As to a loud voice, that may or may not be deliberate. She may not be yelling, in my case I have to remind myself to reel in my volume control. I get excited and up goes the broken control.

      Today I am very good at working with most people, I still slip from time to time, but I make sure that I hold myself accountable for my behavior.

      • #3163929


        by uglycelt ·

        In reply to Having been in this situation on more than

        Sounds good to me

      • #3110838

        Effective Communication Class

        by lazerous200 ·

        In reply to Having been in this situation on more than

        Does the company offer any training classes such as a class in effective communications? If so then it would probably be of great benefit to her. A little guidence goes a long way.

        • #3110746

          I’ve taken some of those classes

          by j.lupo ·

          In reply to Effective Communication Class

          and they really don’t work on this type of situation. There are not classes or really good training that is designed for blending diverse personalities. The best approach is to work with the person to work on the behavior issue. It may not even be a behavior issue, just personality. Some people have very strong personalities and others don’t. There is no right or wrong and training classes imply that the person taking it has something wrong.

          It may not be acceptable behavior at the particular company and therefore the employee and the manager need to work to adjust the employees behavior to what the company expects. Completely? No, because that personality may be what turns them into a star player.

          I have little faith in the “effective communications” classes or “teamwork” classes for the reasons I stated. “Been there, done that”

          I still wish the original poster good luck with their situation. I hope they will provide feedback on how it is going.

    • #3142099

      Agreed – maybe get HR involved

      by juanita marquez ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      I’ve seen too many companies with departments who were ruined because of a “bad apple”. You do need to nip this in the bud right away if you perceive this to be a problem. I’m not sure if you’re her manager or on equal footing with her. I agree with the other poster that a one-on-one should be done, but if that doesn’t do the trick then have a sit-down with your boss or HR present for possible documentation in case things get worse and she has to be let go. This person needs to know if she is creating an atmosphere of negativity, insubordination as well as possible harassment (termination-worthy offenses) and that will not be tolerated – and the coworkers may very well make their own complaints to HR.

      You may approach the one-on-one by saying something like “I noticed that you are very passionate about ____. At our company, we welcome suggestions and I am really looking forward to your contributions to benefit our team. I’m not sure what your previous job’s culture was like, but here we really make an effort to listen attentively to everyone’s concerns and treat each other with respect. In meetings, we try to promote the unity of the group and if you have a disagreement with someone’s ideas, I think everyone would be more receptive to your point of view if it was presented in a different fashion because unfortunately people perceived you as being argumentative and less approachable. (Insert general examples of unacceptable behavior here, give examples of acceptable behavior here, but try not to finger-point at her.) If you have issues you feel aren’t being addressed to your satisfaction, let’s talk about them – I’ll do my best to help.”

      Other things to consider: many companies have a “probation period” and if she doesn’t work out, it may be perfectly acceptable for her to be let go if things don’t improve. Also, she may be going through something stressful at home right now – you may open it up with “I noticed you seem a bit on edge, upset/angry/loud in the meeting, and I’m concerned. Is there anything stressful I should know about/can help with?” Sometimes people will tell you something that is legitimately causing them stress that needs to be vented – it’s not an excuse for bad behavior but it is possible that it is a bad phase vs. a bad employee. I know when I’ve had a bad spell in my life and I told my caring boss about it, it just worked out for both our benefits because he understood I was having problems, I understood that he saw my performance suffer so I could work to change it, and I knew that he cared enough to say something helpful vs. just complain to HR or higher ups.

      Two final notes: maybe she needs an outing or luncheon with the group to get along better. Knowing people better builds more care and maybe she’d feel less hostile if she felt more accepted. Also, you can remember that no matter what her expertise, no one is irreplaceable – it is inconvenient to find another employee with her talents but if she’s given a fair shake and it’s still not working, you can find another someone to bring insight to your area. There’s no shortage of IT people these days. Good luck.

      • #3142094

        She could also be trying to

        by j.lupo ·

        In reply to Agreed – maybe get HR involved

        prove herself worthy to the team and everyone. Thus, she is over doing it in her approach.

      • #3142756

        Good Feedback

        by rb_itprofessional ·

        In reply to Agreed – maybe get HR involved

        This is very helpful. I especially liked your suggestions for how to approach the conversation with her. I really appreciate everyone’s feedback.

        An interesting caveat to this situation is that I am her project manager. I am not her direct manager, but she reports to me on a project. I am also “indirectly” filling the role of department manager due to an “absentee boss” who only shows up when it is convenient for him to be a manager. The current department manager is rarely available to the department to provide guidance, expectations, etc. By default that has fallen to me. I have even taken on the role of managing the budget and hiring new employees. Most of the times, the boss is MIA. Even his superiors call me to track him down and are often unsuccessful in locating him for hours at a time. Nobody really knows what he’s doing during his day. Nonetheless, I have been filling the role as best I can. I don’t mind because I am gaining valuable experience. I am just learning to deal with these “challenges/opportunities” as they arise! 😀


        • #3164097

          This could be key to the problem.

          by welshbilly ·

          In reply to Good Feedback

          If there is uncertainty and confusion this can create problems that show up in numerous ways. One of them being a change in behaviour.

          If this person has only just joined an organisation that does not currently have clear lines of management this could lead to disruptive behaviour.

          Maybe during your 1- to -1 meeting you should clearly explain the management situation also explain your expectations of her. If the current manager is not there to provide this then maybe these aspects are not clear.

          Has this person had any form of induction training? Has she been formally introduced to the team? All of these things help with settling in to the team/department.

          I think you need to clear these apects in your post with your superiors first so you are clear where you stand, then you can communicte this with your team/department in particular the diruptive employee.

      • #3164110

        1 on 1….

        by gilsbugs ·

        In reply to Agreed – maybe get HR involved

        You don’t mention her background,experience level, what you know of her personal background. Any and all of these will shape the finished person. I would hold an investagative interview with her, being careful not to cross over any legal lines. Working with HR will help generate a series of questions that should attempt to get to the source of her problem. I have a loose shop but everyone knows where lines are drawn and what is expected of them for the team. To tell the truth, I am not a team player, that’s why I’m the boss but I know how to keep things flowing as a team leader. We all have our hi’s and low’s as well as personal issues—but try to leave these at home. You’re doing rather well, you have the pulse of your team and know when things are ill, find the cure……..

    • #3269139

      Doesn’t sound argumentative as much as aggressive

      by tig2 ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      My experience is that some women respond to new office environments in an overly aggressive manner, I think as a way to level set. While we all understand that this is not the best way to introduce yourself to your team, it is a choice. When I have had that kind of behaivior show up on a team, my first choice is to take the matter to a 1:1 that I encourage the employee to take notes in and advise that I will do the same. I begin by explaining the qualities that I saw in the interview that made that person more desirable than any other candidate. I then move to a discussion of the team culture as a whole and how I see the person using their skill set to meld with that team. I discuss “rules of engagement” the process by which you engage a peer’s time and attention. If it is appropriate, I will also mention a time when that process was not followed and those impacts. In the case you mention, I might say, “I want to be able to have productive communication with you. It is very hard to do that ad hoc. I am always willing to meet with you but not in the hallway or while I am engaged with another person. I want to hear your viewpoints and may not be able to do so in that situation”.

      I have found that this will generally work. On those occaisions when it has not worked, I schedule the next 1:1 with an HR rep. I begin by explaining that we are seeking a solution, but that the situation needs to be documented so that the employee can see documentation of their improvement. I clearly define the behaivior that needs to be modified and what the measurable success criteria will be. I encourage the employee to take the matter up with myself or the HR rep if there are questions or additional clarificaton points. If it is possible, I look for a mentor in the team that can help the employee be more successful.

      If this doesn’t work and the success criteria are not met, I begin the process of encouraging the employee to consider other opportunities. While this is not the desired outcome, it happens occaisionally. Usually for the greater good.

      Good luck to you. Let us know how it goes!

      • #3112705

        I was going to go with assertive

        by too old for it ·

        In reply to Doesn’t sound argumentative as much as aggressive

        But that is mainly because I find assertive people difficult to work with no matter where they appear in my 360 degrees.

        • #3110934

          At least you said all assertive people

          by j.lupo ·

          In reply to I was going to go with assertive

          most times, as in this case, people consider assertiveness in a woman as being aggressive and in a man good busines skills. I don’t know why and it is something I keep running into.

          strange that.

        • #3112785

          Chin up, there!

          by tig2 ·

          In reply to At least you said all assertive people

          I have run into that every day of my professional life. I am over it now.

          When i assembel a new team for the first time, I let them know right up front that I am a b*tch. Saves having to explain myself later.

          That said, my teams prefer that assertive streak.

          I used the word aggressive very deiliberately. Aggression wants it’s opinion heard at the expense of others. Assertion will make it’s opinion HEARD in a communicative manner.

        • #3113642

          My opinion exactly

          by j.lupo ·

          In reply to Chin up, there!

          Strange how some don’t understand that difference.

    • #3268822

      Negativity breeds negativity

      by beth blakely ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      I want to applaud you for your desire to nip any negativity in the bud. So many managers have a tendency to allow this poison to spread until everyone is griping and complaining about everything.

      Hopefully, you can show her how much more productive it is to focus on what CAN be done and not what’s wrong, what’s annoying, or how she’s being mistreated.

    • #3164161

      Do it the right way

      by nationsm ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      First of all yo need to meet with her and tell her directly the problem you are having. It is ok that an employee has a differing persepctive than you, however challenging your authority and leadership is not a proper thing to do.

      You should explain it this way. “It is obvious that you care about these issues and have thoguht about them. If you truly believe in these issues and belive you contributions are valuable, then you also consider delivering your thoughts in such as way that it will achieve results. It is possible to be right on an issue but deliver your point of view in such an abrassive and innappropriate manner than the basic message gets ignored. When you deliver your point of view in an ineffective manner, people don’t hear what you are saying but pay more attention to how you are saying it. If you care about making positive change and getting your issues heard, then you must also consider the effectiveness of the delivery and not just the idea that you are presenting” If you deliver your ideas in such a manner that makes other people feel inferior or below you, then they wont hear wht you have to say. At that point it wont matter if you are right or wrong. It wont matter if you have the greatest new idea ever conceived, it will not be heard. If you really care about seeing your ideas implemented, then it also makes sense to deliver those ideas in such a manner as to enhance the chance that they will be received. To poorly deliver a great idea and have it sabotaged because of your presentation is not logical. If you care about your ideas then it makes sense to deliver them in such a manner that they will be received based on the content of the idea and not the delivery method”

      You must also consider that many people have blind spots and she may not actually realize she is being abbrasive. It is possible that no one has ever pointed it out to her. You can do her a big favor by helping to smooth out this rough edge which will only enhance her effectiveness if she is a smart idea person.

      • #3164137


        by iomma ·

        In reply to Do it the right way

        Unless your HR dept. is run by a gaggle of monkeys, the possibility that she “just didn’t work out” is embedded into her contract. This is a problem for HR. Get them involved right away, they will brief you on the correct way to go about fixing the problem. Don’t try to go it alone and definitely do not give in to her demands.

        I would also demand an explanation from the person that hired her in the first place. Put them on notice that they should be providing you with SOLUTIONS not PROBLEMS. Otherwise, they will keep doing it.

        However….” the culture of our team is such that it is done in a manner that is respectful to others” sounds like she may more aggressive than your teammembers. Could it possibly be that you are encouraging her behaviour and she feels like she’s the only Alpha male in the place? I have NEVER worked in a place where everyone was respectful to each other.

        But, then again, I have never gone looking for a “peaceful” and “cooperative” place to work. If I wanted that I would have become a monk. From the little I’ve heard of your workplace, I think your corporate culture needs a kick in the rear. Maybe she’s the thing that you needed.

        Edited to include the following:

        I explain to people that I hire that, if they don’t like the job etc., I would prefer that they quit immediately rather than they hang around unhappy and cause problems because that is what I would do. I have had people quit after 3 days. No warning. Nothing. Short term, it wreaks havoc on the workplace. Longterm, though, it gives you the opportunity to find better people build a loyal and successful team.

        This only works if you are willing to do what it takes to make things work. If you are not willing to do that, your teammembers won’t be either.

        Cut your losses. The person who really wants to have that job is waiting for you to call them. Right now.

    • #3164153

      Give her a good talking to!

      by obileekenobi ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      I can see your problem. If it was me, firstly i’d have a private meeting with her and tell her to never contradict you or question your management style/decisions in public again. If she thinks that you’re not listening to her, she should be approaching you privately, not shouting the odds and undermining your position in front of other employees.

      I’d also advise her on the way your team work, and tell her she might be more productive etc if she worked the same way. Diplomatic but firm. She might not like it but better to do it now rather than later.

    • #3164152

      It sounds more like over enthusiasm.

      by littlechris ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      I’ve noticed that when people become “over enthusiastic” to the point where it can be perceived as negative it is often because they care deeply about what they do. Rather than discourage this I believe that you should help her channel it. It might be an idea to get her ideas as to what is wrong in one area and ask her to look at ways of improving them. Explain to her the factors she may not yet be aware of and ask her to take them into account in her solution.
      Having someone new in your team who challenges the way things have been done in the past has a lot of hidden benefits. Sometimes it also reminds the rest of the team why a particular process is in place as opposed to a “just because” reason.

    • #3164116

      Is she the problem?

      by peter.summersgill ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      She’s not picking you up on your grammar, is she?

      You say yourself that she has “not gotten accustomed to our culture yet.” — YET — You expect that she will in time, and your response to date seems very reasonable. It looks like the bigger problem is the rest of the team, all those people who are avoiding her.

      • #3164085

        rite or wrong ?

        by ckurtz ·

        In reply to Is she the problem?

        One thing common in small groups, with a history, with complex multiple involvements, and sometimes overlapping responsibilities, is the task of ‘initiation’ and acculturation of a new member of the group.

        Of course the new member has a role and specific duties, but they also need to learn what sociologist Thomas Scheff once termed the “residual norms” of the group. Things like how strongly you can raise your voice, whether it is appropriate to engage in very aggressive behavior to represent what you think is relevant, right, or creatively conceived.

        We don’t know a lot of details from what you have said, but I have to ask you why you didn’t immediately and firmly tell the person that raising their voice was not acceptable of inappropriate at the moment they raised their voice. Immediate behavioral feedback is very important. Is it because you didn’t want to appear to be losing your ‘cool’ ? Is it because you don’t know or have the behavioral skills to speak assertively but without hostility ?

        A second issue : you imply, but don’t concretely say, that some of the new person’s ideas were valuable, relevant, creative, appropriate. If this person is bringing in new ideas that could contribute to the group and company that’s one thing. If this person is just ‘grandstanding’ or acting out some personal problem or is some kind of a sociopath, and their proposals or suggestions are off the mark, that’s another.

        Let me ask you this question (and, no I am not speaking rhetorically, I don’t have any answer in mind) : is there any social event you can imagine that would involve the whole group and contribute to this person’s sense of being a part of it ?

        And good luck.


      • #3163884

        I wouldn’t work for such a confrontation adverse group

        by rockymountainscot ·

        In reply to Is she the problem?


        What a bunch of gutless cry-babies! Avoiding is just as aggressive, and is a BIGGER issue, than someone who speaks out.

        Get all your people in a room and set the ground rules. Are you a boss or a babysitter? The person speaking out is not the “bad-guy.”

        Find out what the issue is that causes such disagreement. Maybe she knows you are on a path to known failure and is trying to keep your group and you from getting deeper than you are. True, this is just a guess on my part.

        I want people who will speak out. If I document a technical bully, or worse, a weasely passive-aggressive I fire on the spot.

        I, for one, would have never hired on to such clique. Culture? How about some civil discourse! Get your heads out of your VDTs!

    • #3164115

      Serious conversation

      by jdobbins ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      You need to sit with her right now, while things are still new, and explain to her in as graphic a level of detail as necessary that she was hired because of her expertise, and because of her potential as a team player, and that both are equally important; that she owes a loyalty to the company and the organization for that is who she works for; and that if she continues her current trend she will have to find employment some other place. I would have weekly sessions with her to discuss how her team playing is going, and ask the other employees how she is doing with them. When she does well, praise her, publicly, and when she breeds negativity, counsel her in private. Set specific goals for her team performance, and if she fails to meet those goals ask her to find work elsewhere. Make sure you documwent everything, and make sure the suggestions and goals are in no way gender slanted, for she will likely complain about b eing discriminated against either because she is a woman, or a racial minority, or both.

    • #3164112


      by arauthator ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      I think this person and you are over-reacting. Others among your team seam to not respond well to someone who is adimate about voicing themselves. Being from the Marine Corps not too long ago, I have this problem myself. I was let go from a temp-to-hire position back in March because of it. But I work in Engineering and my boss was somebody promoted from the shop floor that has no engineering experience at all, did not even know how to read a blueprint. Talk about getting loud. I have been out of a job since March too. Now, I have every right to get loud and pissed off about the situation, but you know what, the only person that really suffered was me. Granted, this company is still looking too, they have even went through 5 people since me. They have a high turnover rate in the engineering dept. as well. I was right in everything I said while I was there. By being let go though, I have come to realize that by being loud, it will not get you what you need either. That might work as a boss in a Mfg. plant, but not in an office environment. Giving this person the benefit of the doubt. Someone should sit down with her “over a beer” type atmosphere or whatever works, and drop hints to another person that has been in your office for a long time, and say “remember that one guy who used to be so loud in the office all the time?” “Remember how we use to screw with his head until he stopped?” You have to play that game out a little and lead them along to believe that if it does not stop, you have terminated people with similar behavior before. If she tries to come in on the conversation, listen to her, but don’t give suggestions. Just agree. Let her vent and give you or your team members input. You need to get others on your team involved. This way, you don’t attack the new employee directly, furthering the situation worse, and people can take a hint if they listen. She will pick up on what you and a few members of your team are incenuating. If things don’t improve within 2-3 weeks, then yes it is time to let them go and move on. Have you seen that commercial on T.V. where everyone is in an advertising meeting at different firms, wondering what the other company would do and at the end you see a guy with a bottle of water balancing on his forehead before his co-worker takes it off his head as says, “I got it!” I say that around a lot of people where I work. I wonder what so and so would do and I put in that persons name that I’m thinking of. People don’t pick up on it right away sometimes, unless they ask you what you mean or have seen the same commercial. If nothing is said. Don’t explain it. Just walk away from that part of the conversation or change the subject, but don’t go changing the subject so fast it’s obvious. You would not believe how this incenuates for people to follow examples or foot steps of employees in your office who are outstanding and looked highly upon. That is what that commercial is doing to you as well, it’s designe to sell it’s services the same way.

    • #3164111

      be a model of behaviour

      by rabear ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      remember the movie Anger Management where in his view he is a nice guy but people think otherwise? you might like showing the movie to her before you go one-on-one. but i advise against a one-on-one.

      i used to deal with an older member who unconsciously cuts into your, my and anyone’s conversation. i just patiently let her finish, give the answer then note where to restart my discussion again.

      even my boss was cut off several times and as i saw he was getting mad but before he went ballistic, i decided to talk, let her cut in several times yet patiently, i answered and then restarted my thread. for years my boss copied my style in dealing with her. because she does not know what she does nor if she knows, can she help it after all these years.

      even now after 5 years, she still has those habits but oftentimes we have proven, what counts is the patience of people on those who cannot change anymore.

    • #3164102

      What is missing so far…

      by ian ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      I haven’t read all the reply posts to your situation but what is coming up from most is the one to one and this is a great idea, there is however, for me, one thing missing and that?s the girls psychological state. I see her as someone with low self esteem (not easily recognised from the loud aggressive demeanour) that has possibly struggled in a predominately male environment and feels that she is never heard. Her challenging you is not her trying to be disrespectful but being poorly assertive. Consider the different mind sets: –

      Passive Non-Aggressive

      Passive Aggressive

      Assertive Non-Aggressive

      Assertive Aggressive

      At this stage your lady sounds as if she could fall into the last category of Assertive Aggressive and nobody needs that in their business and what is required is to rein her in a bit. The one-to-one is the best way to deal with this, telling her that her point of view is valuable, that you are aware that she is just new to the team and is trying to find her niche in the organisation, but that the way in which she is approaching her communication in the team setting is non-productive. Always start and finish the conversation on a positive commending note but leaving her in no doubt the effect her actions have on other team members with whom she has to work.

      One note of caution, however, RB_ITProfessional, if you are a male you may consider having a trusted female member of the team in with you when you you?re your discussion with her or at least be in full view and preferable hearing of another manager, all for your own protection.

      Hope this helps

      • #3164079

        not sure about the requirement of a female “witness”

        by welshbilly ·

        In reply to What is missing so far…

        I agree with considering the different types of personality. It is always useful to have this type of information in the back of your mind when dealing with people.

        The only point I am concerned about is your last point regards having a female team member “witness” your discussion. This needs careful consideration from both aspects.

        The female in question could see this as confontational. As she has only just joined the organisation, this may immediately put her on the defence, which is something you don’t want. The topic of discussion is already negative so you don’t want to add any fuel to the fire.

        Also, from the managers point of view, this could be extremely frustrating to depend on having a witness every time you require a meeting with a female member of your team. This could also be disruptive to the team. It could give the impression that you can’t deal with arising issues and your incapable of managing your team.

        It is too early to talk about having witnesses present. As long as the meeting is documented, the reasons for documentation and they are able to document the meeting themselves, I think you can turn this situation around for the better.

    • #3164096

      Re: New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      by ganeshwar ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice


      I would recommend you to try this out “I really appreciate for your time and effort to walk over with this advice/suggestion. I like your suggestion, however we would not be able to implement this suggestion at the moment for this process/project. But then we would have this in mind and have it incorporated soon may be in a later phase or with a different project/process.

      I have had a similar instances before in my previous assignment and had similar kinda situations. Did this help me. I might sound a bit rude but I dont think so since on any grounds he (or) she is reporting to us and we are responsible for their activities on the project or work. We are answerable to the management too. I feel we need to raise our hand a bit to get hold of the situation. Well if you want you can rephrase a bit soft too. Pl email me back at if this helps.


      • #3112412

        Polite and effective, not blunt by US standards

        by rockymountainscot ·

        In reply to Re: New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice


        By US standards this is a good and proper way to take advice/input/comment and indicate that
        a) you heard her — that is all she wanted

        b) you considered it — not really true, but you allowed her to save face

        c) you have moved beyond the confrontation

        d) you have your priorities straight. You too must answer for this person, so get on with business.

    • #3164077

      Deep 6???

      by aspooner ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      She may be working for the wrong company. Is it worth it to keep her if she corrupts the whole team? If she is out of control, weigh your options. Does the good outweigh the bad or the bad outweigh the good? Also, there may be other issues going on in her life that affects her ability to get along.

    • #3164062

      Make it perfectly clear…

      by jerryfr ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      After a mere 3 days onboard I think you should specify the rules by which your dept. culture operates;

      – the goal is to (fill in the blank here i.e. complete the project on time and on budget; complete the conversion with no user interruptions……). The reason you were hired is to contribute your expertise to the team in pursuit of this goal. Please limit your activities to this.

      – if you have any critical comments concerning our operation and/or the decisions that are made, discuss them privately with me first.

      – never, ever enter into an argument with anyone, peer or supervisor in the presence of mgt. There is a difference between a discussion and exchange of ideas and an argument. Learn that difference.

      – this team is not a democracy nor is this company. We don’t vote on decisions. We welcome your contributions and ideas, which is why we pay your salary but we do not welcome a constant negative and argumentative posture if your input is not always adopted.

      – let me remind you of the probationary period, one of the terms of your employment here.

      Frankly, I don’t hold much hope for this person playing a constructive role in your dept. Didn’t anyone in HR check her out? Why did she leave? her former employer? What did her resume look like? How many jobs lately?
      You’re going to spend a lot of time managing this person and the impact she’s going to have.

    • #3164059

      my experience..

      by elizemeijer ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      I can relate to her being argumentative. working in a male dominated environment is hard, but no excuse really. What makes it difficult is the snide, snotty little comments you get from your male colleagues. “You don’t belong here”, “women should stay home” etc. you have to work harder to prove yourself, trying your best to break down that wall, and have someone hear you out.

      if she feels that she is appreciated, and treated the same, it might change.

      if you cant/wont do what she wants, she needs to know why. give her options, choices.

      It might also be a boundary thing. not knowing what she is allowed to do, and what not. clear job descriptions, and roles and responsibilities will help her a lot.

      hope this helps

      • #3163949

        Maybe only a psychology shock for new hires

        by jhuang ·

        In reply to my experience..

        To deal with this question, you have to look if she is a new grade, or a quite experienced one. Generally, people get into a new team feel weak, powerless, confused?all these negative thing and it is quite uncomfortable to drive people act not so like themselves. They want to express their value by making a lot of points in meetings, discussions?one thing that can make them feel most powerful is to argue and beat everyone else in the team. It is really trouble some to the team and the longer she is in the team and get confidence and familiar with the team members, it will be OK. However, this case seems go a little too far.

        If she is just new and young, talk to her in a positive way?like a mentor. You have to prepare some very good examples to show what is you called over argument?she could be so defensive that argue with you about the example immediately, constantly, endlessly and drive you nut.

        If she is quite experienced and just tough, still talk, but this is just a communication type of talk, not mentor.

        Prepare youself for a tough talk though.

        Still, you need to talk to the team, especially the toughest ones about tolerance. ?you guys all been new and you know it is not a easy job to merge into a set team. Be a little nicer.?

    • #3163980

      Leadership is the ISSUE

      by databaseben ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      It is possible that she is demonstrating leadership that is lacking among you and your staff. And the complaint you have and from the others is that they do not want leadership, new ideas and possibly a better way of doing things. Apparently, your company is suffering from stagnation. Before you blame the newcomer, be sure to look in the mirror first. Clearly, the new employee, with the fresh ideas is what you thought you wanted. But do to poor managerial decision making, you are now faced to either accept the new employee or reverse and unemploy her. If the new employee is smart, she will start looking for a smarter place to work….

    • #3163979

      Insubordination Should Not Be Tolerated

      by purecoffee ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      There is a time and a place for everything. Confronting you in front of the boss in the manner described is unacceptable and unprofessional.
      1) Document the incidents as they happen.
      2) Confront her. Confrontation is good if done correctly. I would pull in an HR person to mediate.
      3) Give her positive feedback on points she brings that add value and let her know you appreciate it.
      4) Be very strong in your stance about wanting her to get to know the culture, company and people more before rambling down the road to “Little Bighorn”. It may be the death of both of you.

      • #3112413

        Insubordination? You ain’t in the army no more

        by rockymountainscot ·

        In reply to Insubordination Should Not Be Tolerated

        Get a grip. Insubordination in a non-military organization is not arguing with you boss, it is violation of set, written policy.

        Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’d expect no sergeant to do such to his lieutenant, but then we aren’t in the army.

        If you’d fly off to HR from an argument with a member of the team you are leading, you need to check-in to Webster and re-read mentor, leader, and guide, or check-out of the leadership position.

        • #3110938

          Harry is right

          by fbeechwood ·

          In reply to Insubordination? You ain’t in the army no more

          President Harry S. Truman said this when Gen. Douglas McArthur back talked ” Fire the S.O.B.
          Done and over.

          This person will poison the entire group.
          Thre can only be one in charge! She wants to be!

          Any insubordination whether it be military or civilian organization must be delt with IMMEDIATELY!

    • #3163956

      Argumentative Behavior

      by lexa.xandrite ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      You need to nip this in the bud…now. By not addressing her behavior immediately, you are–by default–saying her behavior is acceptable.

      Based on what I’ve gleaned from your post, I’m sure she is just trying to be helpful and does not realize that her approach is causing heartache. If handled properly, she will probably welcome the feedback.

      If you’re not sure how to address this issue face-to-face, contact your HR group. They should be able to provide a few suggestions on how best to approach the situation.

    • #3163939

      Get Rid of Her

      by archie_t ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      This is only the beginning. Things will not get better. I don’t care if she has the best tech skills – people skills get the job done and build your credibility. We had a new senior level manager that would p.o. people from day one. Four months later, as we were submitting comments for the person’s performance evaluation, the CEO finally got it. Rather than put the employee on a performance plan (i.e., things you need to change about your performance), the CEO let her go. The sad part is this employee did have good ideas. Cut your losses – don’t wait until the employee’s probationary period (if there is one) is over. Get rid of her now.

    • #3163918

      Two choices for her: go with the flow or else

      by gaston nusimovich ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      She looks for strength by challenging you in front of others.

      You should counter this as an organization, not as an individual: Let HR formally work on her immersion into the organization, including what is expected and not expected from her (process miniature or simulation of her work as a team member).

      She must understand that she is the one “way out of line” within the organization.

      As any team member should know, the input and feedback always is given on a “loosely coupled” basis at best, meaning this that not necessarily every personal feedback from every member will turn into decisions from management.

      This is not a matter of style, is how things work on any proactive, highly productive team.

      Be polite, but firm.

      Best regards, GEN

    • #3112713

      Where is this person coming from

      by systems magician ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      I once worked with an older person who seems to exhibit what you are saying here. It turned out this person was a former manager from a previous job and could not make the transition to being managed by someone else. The person quit after the probationary hire period.

    • #3112706

      Show her the door on day number four!

      by too old for it ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      And then look for someone who isn’t the “I” in team.

    • #3112688

      As I see it…

      by hlhowell9 ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      You say you hired her for her expertise. If you told her that, but then put negative responses on each suggestion, and allow the rest of the team to do the same, a normal reaction is aggressiveness. I think the question is did you or did you not want her expertise? Or did you want a “yes person”. Neither is bad, but if you wanted one and hired the other, you set up a bad situation. Or if you did really want that expertise, then you need to really listen to her. It’s a choice on both sides. Which ever it is, the situation needs to be worked out, and if you feel that she really has skills and expertise that your team needs, you need to put her in a position that reflects that. Otherwise you and she must work out your differences, decide on how to improve the process, and increase the company’s benefit on both sides. I don’t see any blame here, just some issues that need to be worked out.
      However, I have worked with overly aggressive, and passive aggressive individuals. So far only two times (in a 41 year career) have I not been able to get the best out of my people. And I am one of the argumentative types.

      Les H

      • #3112422

        You must be joking!

        by rockymountainscot ·

        In reply to As I see it…

        Skills and sycophant are equal? You must be kidding. Neither are bad? You must be needing an ego support group to think that both are the same.

      • #3111417

        HR Project: The “Yes-Man” Resume

        by too old for it ·

        In reply to As I see it…

        I’ve been thinking about shopping a “yes-man” resume just to see what kind of response I get.

    • #3112687

      Business lunch

      by jkaras ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      Set up a luncheon with your manager her, and you to a favorite eatery. Having a neutral setting makes the person not so I’m in trouble and they tend to behave themselves while in a resturant. Pay for the meal to demonstrate that you both feel that there is a good investment in her being part of the team.

      During the meal express the liking of her quality of work and her feedback, only that certain professional restraints need to be in accordance with professional atmosphere. Polite tactness is the goal to be demonstrated while talking to her about her issues so she sees that constructive critcism can be both respectful and effective.

      I would avoid one on one counseling to avoid the gender bashing or sexual harrassment angle. Most people tend to get defensive and look for an equalizer card. I am not a fan of having the double team in the manager’s ofice. It tends to be more negative than productive, trust becomes an issue from the newbie.

      Ask her if everything is ok outside of work. Most of the times people in transition or just life in general effects people to vent their frustrations. Most of the times they dont realize their zeal when a problem is arisen. Some people are just raised in confrontational homes and that is how they communicate. It’s hard to say one way or the other. If you approach the situation with the proper care for the individual rather than a cold professionalism or ego it tendds to work the best in my opinion. If this fails then you just have to part company with the person. Good luck and keep us posted.

    • #3112677

      Far to many unemployee people out there..

      by morgantm ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      1) Make sure it’s not just a communication issue.
      2) Make sure she understands her role in the organization.
      3) Give her a very specific task/problem or project to resolve on her own and make her ask for help, if needed…. This may help her to initiate her own steps to become part of the team.

      Then re-evaluate her skills, attitude, tact and potential..

      There are far to many very qualified unemployee people out there looking for jobs… Exercise your 30, 60 or 90 day new hire evaluation (if you have one) and take her out..

    • #3112646

      sack her

      by mackeyha ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      Don’t let her poison the group. Tell her that her actions are
      unacceptable, and that if this her way of being a team member,
      then find another team. If she becomes moody and sullen about
      your reproach, fire her.

    • #3112639

      Nip it in the bud-no procrastination!

      by ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      What ever you decide to do, DO IT NOW! Putting it off only makes things fester and makes the rest of the team upset.

      Best of Luck,


    • #3112621

      Argument new hire

      by maddog9 ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      Fire her NOW. If she is this way early on, she will only get worse, and it will be harder to fire her.

    • #3112597

      You said she’s LOUD

      by lexa.xandrite ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      Is she loud and rude (tone of voice, choice of words) or just using a higher volume? Maybe she has a hearing impairment and she doesn’t realize how loud she is? Or, perhaps she gets loud when she gets excited. I tend to do this sometimes, I don’t think I’m rude, just loud. For me, it’s an ADD thing.

      • #3112038

        Good Point!!

        by faradhi ·

        In reply to You said she’s LOUD

        LOUD in and of itself is not rude.

        I am both ADHD and I come from a large Military family. I have lived all over the US. Since moving to the south I have often been accused of being rude strictly due to volume.

        I point out South because I did not have this problem when I lived in the northeast or west coast. It has gotten so bad that I tell prospective employers that my volume will fluctuate and I make a very sincere effort to control my volume but I am not always successful.

        So just be sure that it is truly rude in context and not just LOUD.

    • #3112533

      Is she right?!?

      by s.newton ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      She obvioulsy thinks so and has a set of nads that means she will get in someones face with the truth (her version). This is not the problem. her timing is, she should be told when and where her strong contary views are permitted. As well you must make a time for her to contribute, in a time and place suitable.

      The status quo is difficult for some knowedge workers to come to terms with. Particulrly IT folk who have a perpensity to “fix things”. I would suggest setting behavioural boundries for your employee, Then take a really good look at your team.. are you victims of Group Think, is she reacting to pressure to conform from the other staff as the teams culture exerts its will. This can be a very confrunting thing to do, and a leader must develop a detachment from their ego to gain a clear view. I often suspend my reasoning (you can rationalise anything) and listen to my gut (Conscience) about these things, it cuts through the barriers we construct ignoring the cultural learnings.

      Then again she may just be a troublemaker who thinks she knows it all.. 3 days in.. shame she dident make her probation period.

    • #3112522

      One on One is best

      by it cowgirl ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      Of all the responses I have read and my own opinion you should have a little chat. I have been in her position. She is not aware of her impact and how she comes across. Help her to learn her way and how your team works and communicates. She is trying too hard and not sure how to fit in with your team. She is lacking in interpersonal skills like many of us us in IT! You sound like you could be an excellent manager, so show off your ability to take her under your wing and bring her into the fold. Just the basics as you described in your request will make your point. Your boss will also see your expertise with your fellow team members and appreciate you more. He will also remember.

      Good Luck!!

    • #3112509


      by mist271 ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      That is the key word, Argumentative. So you know the answer without asking for help. Do it.And then brush up on your managerial skills.

    • #3112471

      Drop her, period.

      by jb ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      What are you, a psychotherapist? As soon as she starts getting out of line, stop her dead in her tracks and send her to her desk or to go do something else, period, end of discussion!, with a good hard stare into her eyes. Then go visit your boss and everyone else that helped you hire her and tell them that you’re sorry to say that this person is not working out and she’s gotta go right now. Explain your reasons when they are called for. Then on Friday afternoon, have someone from HR escort her out of your team work area. You are in the IT business. You have no time to play Henry Kissinger or Mr. Nice Guy. You are there to do your job, and your job is to get your projects completed on time and on budget, period. You want to be a social worker? Go to the welfare office downtown. Practice all your social blah blah there. Have some spine and take pride in your team and your company and defend it.

    • #3112451

      Be blunt

      by egoss ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      one on one
      be blunt to the issue it is causing
      and if there is a probationary period
      be forthright about her fit in the team
      this is just a sign of more to come if you dont nip it now

    • #3112426

      Probation period…. ??

      by nehpets ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      In OZ we usually have a 3 or 6 month probation period when some-one new starts, to allow each side to assess the “fit” of individual to organisation… during this period things are quickly identified as areas needing addressing, and plans put in place to correct the problem. If it doesn’t work out, bye bye, with no legal problems for 1 weeks notice is all that is required during the probation period…

      Some people use confrontation as a way of hiding their fears, or lack of competency…

    • #3112351

      Ability & Experience

      by ajballl ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      It is presumed that she fulfilled all of your requirements at the hiring stage. Does she have additional expertise that she is basing her arguments on, if so are they worth considering. If not try and understand her feelings of inadequacy. It sounds like her atttitude could be driven by either of these, gain an insight into what is the cause and utilise these strengths for the benefit of the team. What level of induction has been made available to her, does she understand the business culture.

      I agree with previous posts that this behaviour needs to be ‘nipped in the bud’ but it would be positive to use or direct this ‘passion’ in a beneficial direction.

    • #3112259

      Getting the Facts Fast

      by scoutlady ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      I can’t tell you whether this lady will work out. You have to find out and take action ASAP.

      I had an employee who had an excellent background, but was very confrontational, inappropriate, and negative. I was the department head and had a meeting with her supervisor present, with the plan to listen and assess the situation.

      We were always madly busy, so we blocked off time that would be private and peaceful. We walked in with blank tablets, ready to take notes, and we listened respectfully to her a long time. We explained constraints we were dealing with, but she wanted us to fix other departments and make her work life perfect. Her remarks were unreasonable, critical, inflexible and unrealistic, and she seemed to enjoy complaining bitterly. Despite being encouraged to offer opinions and suggestions, she had absolutely nothing constructive to offer.

      I didn’t have the time advantage you have. My employee had behaved well until the week she passed probation. Your employee is a brand-new hire, so you can take action quickly.

      Once we were clear that she wasn’t working out, the supervisor laid down the law about the inappropriate behavior, and the supervisor started building a file. The employee quit abruptly, and wrote a nasty but clever complaint about the two of us to upper management. Fortunately, they had observed her very inappropriate behavior and she didn’t have much credibility.

    • #3110950

      Cut your losses

      by maxwell edison ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      If you see things in a date that you don’t like, multiply them dozens of times to get a feel of what it will be like in a marriage.

      Any employment deal should come with a 30 day probationary period in which you both have some time to get a feel for each other. If it’s not working out (for either party), cut the losses and move on.

      Tell her it’s just not working out because she’s not a good fit, she’s disruptive, distracting, and abrasive. Best case, you get rid of a PITA. Worst case, it might be a wake-up call for her, she’ll ask to stay with the promise to change her behavior, you’ll shake some sense into her, and she’ll straighten up her act.

      Deal with it now, or live with it later.

      Edited to add the following:

      And here’s how I’d do it.

      I’d start the conversation (in private), and say, “You know, Sally, I don’t think this is working out very well. It seems like this position isn’t a very good fit for either you or the company.”

      Pause and wait …….

      The ball’s now in her court. Based on what she says, and more importantly how she says it, you’ll know where to take it and what to do.

    • #3111562

      Sooner rather than later!

      by notmyname101 ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      Its this simple, you must talk to her ASAP in private, one on one and without the others knowing to save her being embarrasesd. Its so important that you do this sooner rather than later but without being too harsh she may just be trying too hard to impress as it is a new job.
      So do it softly, but firmly tell her what you think is required of her but make sure she know’s that its not official and it isnt a warning, ‘just friendly guidance’
      if you dont and she turns out to be like this all the time then you could end up having major issues amongst the team.
      good luck.

    • #3112736

      Conflict is normal – suck it up

      by commandgce ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      You seem to be getting a lot of right-wing support from the gallery. You have said nothing about what you did. I reckon you need some conflict management training.

    • #3206923

      What do you want?

      by ukhrcon ·

      In reply to New employee showing signs of being argumentative – Need Advice

      I think it was mentioned in another post on this subject that the person you describe is not fitting the “Culture” you have. My point is that if you are looking to utilise her technical skills only, this should have been made clear during the hiring process. This person appears to have entered your firm with the intention of instigating change and challenging established culture (albeit poorly, by embarrassing superiors and raising her voice) when it is not required at the current time.

      I think you should let this person know this (directly, with an informal friendly chat) and assert the fact that any points she has to make should be made in a civilised manner and what the business priorities are, so this person will realise that management are hearing her but will do what they need to when they see fit.

      I have to say that this issue could have been resolved at interview, why was this type of personality not uncovered during interview? Did you just get someone in with the skills because there was time pressure and not consider the longer term impact of making a hasty hiring decision?

      Is this a short term position? Is it a contract? If you hire someone into a permanent role they may have ambitions to stay with the firm for a long time and get involved fully. This person may feel they are here for a long time and want to really make an impact and help to improve things.

      If you don’t want to be challenged then don’t hire strong personalities who will challenge you but bear in mind, employers have to offer career development to retain staff and allow people into the firm that will reinvigorate stale cultures.

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