Dealing with a troublesome and rebellious employee who is disrupting the work environment

Managing with a troublesome and rebellious employee who is disrupting the work environment

Good harmonious working environments and co-worker relationships are a must in a productive healthcare marketing organization or any other business marketing environment. Anything that takes away from a stable and happy work environment diminishes the organizations’ strength and its’ financial success by creating work force uncertainty, work environment friction and ultimately loss of job enthusiasm and job unhappiness.

Whenever one begins a new job assignment as a manager, they should meet with the entire staff and lay out expectations and the limits that are acceptable as related to job performance, work attendance, work place disruption and trouble stirring employees. Make certain everyone knows what is expected from them including how they are expected to contribute to a harmonious and productive work environment. Whenever a new employee is started, this same orientation must be provided to insure they understand the work place requirements and rules and the consequences for not adhering to the expected performance practices.

Whenever someone is found to be a disruptive agent in the work environment or a trouble stirring employee in general, they should be called in and counseled regarding the circumstances, observations, perceptions and given an opportunity to clear up any uncertainty and to make sure they understand what you require and expect from them regarding their contribution to and participation in a harmonious and productive work environment. This process allows the air to be cleared without any uncertainty as to what you are expecting from them and allows the employee to express their commitment to work with your directives and management focuses. In addition, they must be reminded that performance and behavior expectations in the workplace have already been set forth in an earlier orientation meeting as to your expectations related to employee contributions in and to workplace environment. All occurrences, incidents and meetings regarding work place performance and discipline should be documented as well as the initial orientation session that is was conducted disclosing your expectations from employees. These documentations should include date, time and the discussion points of meetings with the person(s) involved. Remember to follow your company’s’ policies and procedures as related to disciplinary actions, corrective action plans and proper protocol in these matters and keep your superiors and HR informed of your actions. This will keep your head off the corporate chopping block and protect your company and your job from legal challenges that may be brought later by a dismissed employee.

If disruptive activities and behavior issues persist, further and immediate action in is of the utmost importance. It is readily apparent when there is a disruption in the work environment. The disruptive employee(s) will try to gather 1 or 2, and sometimes more people to support their disruptive activities and behavior. Often, this is done by making threatening comments to these other people such as -the boss is out to get you- or -I heard the director talking about making some changes in your position -. The disruptive employee may do and say anything to gain support from other employees for their disruptive plans. Their efforts may extend outside your department and direct management area. The more support or sympathy they receive, the bolder they will become in making threatening statements to other employees about their manager and a common rumor thread is that you are going to fire or eliminated another co-worker. These statements are designed to bring maximum disruption within the work environment and give unfounded credibility to the disruptive force creating fear and unrest among other employees and winning the disruptive agent support and a degree of misguided respect by frightened co-workers. The disruptive agent may eventually take these activities to the corporate level and when that happens you will be hearing from above regarding morale in your department with questions about your management capabilities. Work begins to slow down, morale drops out the bottom and everyone is huddling together in small groups whispering and repeating rumors of perceived or rumored threats and worried about their jobs. The focus in this work environment becomes job worry, apprehension and fear of coming to work every day. Job happiness has left the building and the job. Before this happens, (not after) it is time to bring the disruptive employee in and take immediate action before morale gets this far gone. Once morale drops to this level, it takes a lot of work and time away from the managers’ normal duties to fix the problems that have surfaced and return the work environment to a productive one. You may spend days and weeks dealing nearly all day with this issue especially if it escalates to the corporate level. If that happens, you are dealing with the disruptive issue on two fronts and this means twice the time and energy to bring the disruption under control.

A written corrective statement should be issued and given to the disruptive employee in format allowing the employee a response in writing and a specific action plan set forth for correction and an action plan for failure to correct the disruptive activities. If the disruptive employee does not correct their activities or if they again resume these activities, they should be terminated immediately and escorted from the building by security. Employees who are so entrenched on disrupting the work environment are out to destroy your position, your department or the organization and will stop at nothing in this pursuit including going all the way to the top corporate CEO to discredit your performance. Once they are gone, you must work to promote and reestablish good employee relationships, re-building, team spirit promotion and employee motivation. A disruptive employee left in place too long can destroy a lot of progress, cost you your job, cost the business in financial success and achieved production. Remember, if you have a disruptive employee who refuses to cease disruptive activities, the sooner they are out, the better. If you are in management, keep your team focused and working smoothly with each other. If you have issues among personnel, address it immediately and don’t ignore it hoping it will go away. It usually does not go away and may become a huge issue for you and could ultimately bring scrutiny upon your position for failure to perform. Remember, you want positive recognition, not negative recognition.

Ray Vaughn, HealthCare Marketing Specialist Developing Successful Marketing Strategies for HealthCare and Business Contact at or