Passive-Aggressive At Work? Boundaries required!

Bad behavior? Difficult People? Annoying Co-worker?
“Oh, No! He’s doing it AGAIN!”

42-15495677As a consultant to a major client, I’ve been working to massage, influence, educate, persuade and cajole a supervisor to grow into his role…and, quickly. He’s been in the role for a year and people are still making excuses for his being new. Because of his very specific, hard-to-find expertise, the company is willing to invest in the consulting and coaching necessary to discover whether or not he has the willingness, competence and ability to inhabit his position.

I’ve been working with the team: director, supervisor and team members, for two months and the lay of the land is well-established. I have had time to develop sufficient trust that the truth is sometimes even told!

So, imagine my surprise to receive a call from the Director saying:

“Oh, no! He’s doing it AGAIN!”

And, surprisingly…no, actually, shockingly…he IS doing it again. And, the “it” in this case is undertaking to do a task by a deadline, affirming that it would be done, then magically being sick on the day it is due with it, of course, undone. It’s not rocket science. We had been through this scenario with him twice before. My immediate questions for him:

What is it about “trustworthy” that you do not understand?

What is is about leading by example that you do not understand?

What is it about “you are not indispensable” that you do not understand?

In any economy, a rational person does not demonstrate a death wish repeatedly and expect not to be terminated. In the current economy, it seems rational to think that he would want to keep this job at this level. But no, here it goes again.

The consequences of this latest, blatant disregard for the needs of the Director need to be dire this time. The supervisor has previously been told that firing is an option. Now, the behavior repeats. My suggestion: the Director now puts the supervisor on notice of termination in ninety days if there is not a consistent change in behavior.

This is what I call the dreaded “FAILURE-TO-LEARN” syndrome. If it’s going on in your workplace, someone needs to step up and do something!

Rhoberta Shaler, PhD
The Relationship Help Doctor

Disclaimer: all advice, insights and suggestions made here are not to be construed as psychological or legal advice. Any actions you undertake as a result of reading any article, book, ebook or blog post from Rhoberta Shaler, PhD, are entirely your own. Having worked with individuals and couples for more than twenty-five years, she offers her opinions  for your consideration only.  

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