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How to Manage People: The Insubordinate Subordinate

One of the biggest challenges managers and supervisors face is managing difficult employees who can make your life miserable.Especially managing insubordinate subordinates. Read on to discover some quick and easy tips!

In conducting keynotes and workshops for managers and supervisors, I'm often asked about managing difficult employees. Here are some easy tips for exactly what to say, and what not to say in managing difficult employees...especially the insubordinate subordinate.

Let's say, for example, that you have an insubordinate subordinate. This type of difficult employee, when you meet privately about a performance issue, defiantly remains silent. About halfway through the performance meeting you say to them, "So, what are your thoughts on everything we've discussed so far?" If they sit there with their arms folded, looking upset and not talking, you can document silence. Especially if you ask the difficult employee the question a couple of times and don't get a response. It's almost like they're looking at you as if to say, "Are we done yet?!"

Another tip for managing difficult employees like this is to ask the question and wait 15 seconds for a response. If you don't get one, ask the question a second time. Ask calmly. Don't let them know they're starting to rattle your cage and ruffle your feathers!

If you still don't get a reply from the difficult employee, ask the question a third time. If they still don't respond, you can calmly reply, "You know, you're beginning to exhibit career limiting behavior. I'd really like to get your feedback on everything we've discussed." Document everything.

Make sure you don't "slip" and accidentally say, "You're beginning to exhibit career eliminating behavior!" You may know in your mind that's the direction they're heading in, but don't tell them that! In managing difficult people, you have to be so careful with everything you say, do, and put into writing.

Watch your tone of voice. In face-to-face communication, tone accounts for up to 38% of what a person believes about you. I have a friend who works from home talking with clients all day. After she finished a business call one day, her little six-year-old daughter replied, "Mommy, I like your client voice better than your mommy voice!"

So, yes, people pick up on not just your words, but your tone of voice. And, most importantly, your body language.

In managing difficult employees, it's imperative to address the issue immediately. OtherwiseFree Reprint Articles, the other people working for you start to wonder why you're not doing anything about it. It affects team morale. It affects your credibility. Good luck!

Article Tags: Managing Difficult Employees, Insubordinate Subordinate, Managing Difficult, Difficult Employees, Difficult Employee

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Colleen Kettenhofen is a motivational keynote speaker, author, and presentation skills trainer. Topics: managing people, effective leadership, life balance, difficult people. Colleen has spoken in 47 states and six countries for top corporations and associations. For free articles, e-newsletter,and video clips:

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