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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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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.

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

by ganeshwar In reply to New employee showing sign ...


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.


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Polite and effective, not blunt by US standards

by RockyMountainScot In reply to Re: New employee showing ...


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.

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Deep 6???

by ASPOONER In reply to New employee showing sign ...

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.

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Make it perfectly clear...

by JerryFr In reply to New employee showing sign ...

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.

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my experience..

by elizemeijer In reply to New employee showing sign ...

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

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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.?

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Leadership is the ISSUE

by databaseben In reply to New employee showing sign ...

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....

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Insubordination Should Not Be Tolerated

by PureCoffee In reply to New employee showing sign ...

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.

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Insubordination? You ain't in the army no more

by RockyMountainScot In reply to Insubordination Should No ...

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.

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