WHAT IF A PERSON is totally out of line most of the time but threatens to file a grievance if you confront him? And the worst of it is that because of his special circumstances, he d probably win. Then what?
It s shocking to learn how many companies are stuck with one or more really unproductive employees who hold leaders hostage. Those employees have no interest in doing their jobs, fight legitimate work at every turn , make life miserable for everyone, and have cowed the supervisor. They rattle the saber of litigation, or they imply that they ll take it all the way to the top or that they have dirt on someone. Outsiders routinely ask: Why is that person still working here?
Resolve to hold the employee accountable. Meet with human resources and jointly develop a plan. Select a behavior that is out of line and indefensible. If necessary, clarify your standards regarding insubordination, resistance, and poor performance. Inform the employee that the action you ve selected isn t acceptable and will no longer be tolerated. Simultaneously assure the employee that your goal is for him or her to succeed.
Describe some of the more poignant and relevant natural consequences of the employee s current behavior, such as being stuck in boring assignments and being rebuffed by colleagues. Take care to tell the person what will happen if he or she steps over the line. Once again, make sure that the employee knows that this is not what you want to have happen but is a step you will have to take to protect the interests of colleagues and the organization. Document the discussion. Watch the employee closely. Confront the first infraction immediately but respectfully and then start down the path of discipline. Don t be held hostage.