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How much "mouthing off" is normal and acceptable?

debbie36debbie36 subscriber Posts: 1
I have spoken with several new business owners who have faced emotional turmoil because of the cruel behaviors which employees exhibit toward management, their spouse or their own management style.  We sense, hear and feel the same type of behavior at my shop.  We have 5 "men" laboring, 1 manager and an owner working in one building.  We initiate new policies in a democratic format.  We ask for advice and request "out of the box" ideas.  We give positive feedback for work well done and offer positive suggestions when jobs are not being properly executed. The problems often begin when someone begins mouthing off about a job not going well.  This type of negative commentary becomes infectious.  Other employees begin to join in that opinion.  Eventually, the commentary moves toward individuals and the work that they do, or the suggestions that they make.  Sometimes, being the only female, it rolls into gossipy lies about who is "in bed" with whom.  How much of this acceptable.  I can`t fire every employee who talks behind my back.  What is the proper way to deal with this employee or this situation.  Confronting it does not seem to work.  Implying a threat does not seem to work.  Any suggestion?


  • nevadasculnevadascul subscriber Posts: 3 Member
    First, what policies do you have in place to deal with the problem.  Ie., many companies have WRITTEN policies against making false statements about fellow employees.  If you don`t have anything in WRITING, it`s difficult to legally take action.  Second, from your description, it appears you also have  Title VII violations.  Title VII is a federal law that deals with making negative cements about a person or group of people.  You might want to review Title VII and incorporate it into your WRITTEN policies.
  • RicWillmotRicWillmot subscriber Posts: 14
    Zero is the amount that is tolerable.
    By accepting any amount of this behavior, you are in essence validating and condoning the behavior. The amount or level is irrelevant.
    How much theft is normal and acceptable?
    In for a dime - in for a dollar!
  • debbie36debbie36 subscriber Posts: 1
    Thank you for the feed back.  The specific person that I am talking about is my most experienced technician.  He has been with us the longest and I looked for his feedback in the past.  This may have set up a pattern of complaining.  He is a mentor to the newer staff, but as they become more competent he becomes more degrading.  He won`t quit and I don`t want to fire him.  I will confront him and he is better for awhile.  The following pay day, he will be right back at it.  I need ideas that are "out of the box."  Typical incentives have not paid off.  Thanks for your help.
  • RicWillmotRicWillmot subscriber Posts: 14
    Nikole is exactly correct and I revert you back to my post.
    You are seeking easy, non-confrontational remedies to a confrontationist.
    You cannot staunch the bleeding of a severed limb with a band-aid.
    By allowing him to continue you will be creating a band of mini-me`s (hims) because as Ralph Waldo Emerson accurately observed: "Your actions speak so loudly, I cannot hear what you are saying."
    I consulted to an organization here in Australia on this very issue, and you are not alone, because the CEO did not want to confront the problem either. I advised the Board of Directors that if the CEO wouldn`t sack the manager that the Board should sack the CEO. The manager was gone within a month. The clones took longer to change or remove.
  • debbie36debbie36 subscriber Posts: 1
    This is the great thing about Start up Nation.  You guys are great.  Thanks for the encouragement.  I hadn`t thought about the "minime" concept and I believe that I`ve made the decision to terminate this employee.  I can see that I need a permanent solution.  I will offer him the ability to stay only if he plans to stop the behavior permanently.  Thanks again to all of you.
  • mbkitchenmbkitchen subscriber Posts: 0
    Perhaps the open and democratic management format makes this person feel like anybody can be in charge.  And, in a way, since he is the senior technician/mentor he is in charge.   But he does not write the checks / pay the bills / take the risk of owning the business.  He just gets to gripe about it.
    If you are the owner and having to deal with this--what is your manager doing?
    Are the vehicles you work on specialty/foreign?  Is he the only person in the shop who can perform a regular revenue-generating procedure--that keeps the doors open?  If not, then you should either:
    (a) Try him as the shop manager  or  
    (b) Show him the door
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