Get advice on how to deal with jerks at work Check out the book 'Jerks At Work' and other titles by Ken Lloyd Ph.D. Return to the homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.

You asked, Ken answers ...

This item is filed under these categories:
Insubordination Power Plays and Players

I have two employees who report to me, and one acts as if she is in charge. She sends me email in a tone that implies that she is calling the shots, she throws papers on my desk and tells me to handle them, and she calls me into her office when she wants to discuss something. How do you deal with an employee like this?

The only way your employee can manage you is if you allow her to do so. By saying nothing and essentially obeying her directives, you are rewarding the behaviors you would like to prevent.

If you want this employee to stop acting as your manager, you need to start acting as her manager. Meeting in her office does not automatically imply that she is power hungry, but if you sense that this is part of her strategy, you should agree to the meeting and hold it in your office.

When her email has a controlling tone, call her on it and let her know she is not to send you directives, orders, or demands. And this business of tossing papers on your desk has to stop, too. Put an in-basket on your desk and tell her to place important paperwork in it.

If you are reluctant to take these kinds of actions, then be prepared for her to continue her unfriendly takeover of your job.

Comment on this item

Your name (optional)
If you leave this blank, we'll list you as "Website visitor"

Your comments
Please keep your comments focused on the topic. Thanks!