#Working Wisdom #Human Resources #Employer

How to Deal With an Employee Who Steps on Toes

Mohamad Danial bin Ab Khalil
by Mohamad Danial bin Ab Khalil
Sep 30, 2022 at 2:06 PM

Employees who believe they are in charge and step on others' toes can cause significant issues for their managers and the employees who must work with them. 

While some of these employees may have tough personalities, others act in this manner due to a lack of training or understanding of duties and expectations. 

Identifying the source of the problem and establishing limits will make managing problematic staff easier.


Define and clarify the employee's job responsibilities

Dealing with employees who want to control everything begins with defining roles. Employees that meddle cause problems because they do not comprehend the limits of their tasks. 

You may best handle the issue of employees overstepping boundaries at work by updating or developing job descriptions if you do not already have them. A documented job description assists employees in understanding what duties are and are not part of their responsibilities. 

After updating or writing the job description, go over the obligations with the employee and explain that they are not entitled to take on new work without first consulting with you.


Discuss their behaviour

Discuss the unacceptable behaviour with the employee. Describe the issue objectively. If the employee is doing work that another employee or department should do, explain that employees are only expected to do the jobs listed in their job descriptions unless they are asked to do so by their managers. 

Address attitude issues by stating that you want all department members to work together and to be respectful and kind to the public and other employees.

According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), offering clear instances of undesirable behaviour that alienates coworkers, such as monopolising a debate or taking credit for other people's labour and ideas, is recommended. 

Explain that you prefer employees come to you if they are having problems fixing a problem rather than taking actions that may alienate or anger others.


Provide instruction and guidance

Clearly declare which actions will no longer be accepted and provide training to assist the employee in working to change the undesirable behaviour. Send the employee to a training session that is suited for them, such as a course on effective communication or organisational skills. 

HBR encourages continued counselling of a troublesome employee, noting that some individuals, particularly those just starting their careers, may just require assistance navigating the firm. 

You may want to appoint a mentor to guide you. Make the mentor aware of the employee's issues before asking if they are willing to work with the employee.


Provide encouraging feedback

Expecting the issue to go away after one chat is unlikely, especially if the conduct has been going on for an extended period. Give the employee a deadline for improvement, but give them enough time to make improvements.

It may take some time to see consistent improvement if the employee is used to doing things their way or if the negative behaviours are a personality issue.

Offer encouragement when the employee conducts appropriately and notify them when they revert to unfavourable behaviour patterns. Explain that if the employee's behaviour does not improve, they may be fired. If an employee fails to make an effort to improve, do not be hesitant to follow disciplinary procedures.