If you've ever found yourself complaining, "My subordinate yelled at me," it may signal that your staff is being insubordinate. An insubordinate employee can be difficult to deal with, particularly for leaders who find it difficult to manage conflict. However, there are steps that can be taken to positively resolve these conflicts when they occur in the workplace.

Managers dealing with insubordinate staff have to maintain some appropriate distance and maintain their cool. It’s important to approach the problem objectively and not antagonize staff, which can lead to even worse outcomes. Effective managers find ways to target the specific issues among their staff and address those without removing valuable personnel from the workplace.

Insubordination in the Workplace

If an employee is raising his voice at a manager, it can be one sign of insubordination. An employee yelling at a supervisor is a particularly hard problem to deal with because it signifies a lack of respect for leadership. This can be poisonous, since it can undermine the entire structure of the organization. When other employees see one employee disrespecting their leader, it can quickly lead to others doing the same and ruining productivity.

Some workers may simply be troublemakers who create discontent within the workplace. These people often play victim, acting as if they don’t know what the problem is even while they’re talking badly about an organization’s leaders. While it’s not wrong for employees to discuss their leaders, purposefully trying to undermine a leader’s authority can be detrimental to an organization’s performance.

When employee temper tantrums are a problem, it can signify a different type of issue. In this case, it can demonstrate a lack of emotional restraint or simply a lack of respect for others in the workplace. This can cause coworkers in the workplace to feel as if they’re unsafe. When this happens, it can lead to hesitation among workers and a lack of productivity.

Maintaining Professional Distance

An important part of responding to insubordinate staff is remembering that their behavior isn’t personal. Whether it’s one or several individuals, the actions of an insubordinate staff are rarely attempts to personally lash out at their employer. For this reason, it’s important to maintain your cool and address the situation without attacking your staff personally.

For the same reason that it’s important to maintain professional distance, it’s also important to work through official channels when dealing with the situation. As such, it may be important to first consult with human resources to see if there’s a way to have an intermediary work between you and your staff. In cases where the insubordination is less intense, HR’s help may not be needed.

Address Your Staff Directly

It’s important not to avoid the challenge of dealing with an insubordinate employee. Instead, leaders have to talk to their staff and attempt to understand what’s causing the poor behavior. Only by talking directly with someone can you come to understand why they’re acting the way they are. However, it’s also important to directly respond to your staff with feedback. Let them know the issues that are arising from their behavior, why it needs to be addressed and how it can be addressed.

Establish Solid Boundaries

Although it’s important to maintain your cool and work directly with your staff to create improvements, there also have to be solid boundaries on what you’re willing to accept. If an employee’s behavior becomes too excessive, then it may be time to take firm disciplinary action, which can even include parting ways, though this should be considered a last resort.