Career Advice | An employee who was denied a promotion has become openly hostile toward me.
Q: An employee who was denied a promotion has become openly hostile toward me. “Nate” applied to be the manager of his department but he has neither the skills nor the temperament required for that job. I eventually hired someone from outside who had excellent qualifications.
Nate seems to get along well with his new boss but with me he acts angry and resentful. Whenever I speak to him, he just walks away without saying a word. I have been told that Nate disparages me to his co-workers and constantly complains about the company.
After five months of this, I’m sick and tired of Nate’s disrespect. How should I handle this situation?
A: So here’s the obvious question: If you are fed up with Nate’s insolent attitude, why have you allowed it to continue? As a higher-level manager, you clearly have the clout to get this guy in line, so one wonders why you seem reluctant to do so.
The appropriate time to address the issue was at the beginning of this little drama. As soon as Nate began to sulk and complain, you should have called him in, corrected his behavior, and established expectations for the future.
For example: “Nate, I know you’re disappointed about not being promoted. However, your childish reaction has convinced me that I made the right decision. Pouting and whining are not appropriate management behaviors, so you are obviously not ready for that role. Going forward, I expect you to control your emotions and behave like a mature, professional employee.”
The good news, however, is that it’s not too late to deliver this message. You and Nate’s manager should meet with him together and set some specific goals for change. If his behavior improves, thank him for making the effort. But if Nate continues to act like an unhappy 2-year-old, a formal warning may be in order.
Q: I have a disability called Meniere’s disease, and it has negatively affected my performance review. My boss told me that I talk too much. The reason for this is that my co-workers often express concern for me, especially when I’m having a bad day. Since my manager doesn’t seem to understand this, do you think I should I give him some detailed information about my disease?
A: When someone has a disability, differentiating symptoms from performance issues is sometimes difficult. One method for doing so is to identify which behaviors you are able to control and which you are not.
For example, people with Meniere’s disease frequently experience vertigo or periods of hearing loss. Since you can’t control those events, your boss needs to understand how they affect your work and provide appropriate accommodations.
On the other hand, “talking too much” is a manageable behavior not related to your disability. You say this results from your co-workers’ sympathetic comments, so I suspect the real issue is that their empathic remarks often lead to lengthy personal discussions.
So, if the symptoms of Meniere’s interfere with your work, by all means educate your boss about this disorder. But when it comes to excessive talking, you must take personal responsibility for controlling that behavior.
Submit questions to Marie G. McIntyre at yourofficecoach.com.