There has been an over told story of bossy employers who make the work place unpleasant for their employees. While often times there is another side of the story that is not told – dealing with insubordination.
Many times employers are faced with the daunting task of handling employees who seem difficult to handle. This has always been a problem but such pictures are rarely painted, leaving some employers helplessly silent for the fear of not communicating the wrong message.
In organizations where some employees express a deep form of insubordination, it weakens the effectiveness of other team members and most times leave the management wobbling in thoughts. These stiff-necked employees could be likened to horses forced to the stream but refusing to drink.
Insubordination could be in different ways; there are times when employees fail to carry out tasks demanded of them by their employers or superior due to some factors, or question the management’s authority, or bluntly refuse to obey company policies. Chike’s story is the perfect display of insubordination.
Chike got fired two months ago at the office, this got almost everyone talking about it and wondering why it had to be Chike. He was so composed and effective at some point he was considered efficient. He earned the manager’s trust with his ability to complete a task with less supervision. Almost everyone at the office maintained the expected degree of their KPI’s but he will always go beyond the expectation. His effort to the company’s growth was commendable. Seeing his level of commitment, the management seemed it right that more responsibilities were assigned to him.
With a new project at hand, the management sought diligently for a perfect person who will show great deal of commitment, to produce the project’s desired result, so Chike came to mind (“to whom much is given, much is expected”).
The project’s estimated lifespan was 6 months, which required tendering of a weekly report to the department head. After three months of the project’s commencement, Chike had not tendered any report concerning the progress of the project. Gradually, he began to question most of the management’s decisions and would not carry out any duty he did not feel up to. At certain occasions, he was asked about it and there was nothing tangible that he could offer. The management considered this as an insubordinate behaviour.
Measures were taken and it was decided that most relevant responsibilities should be taken off Chike’s desk. This was not a way of silencing his voice, but rather creating an open door policy to make other employees learn.
Do you think the management’s decision was too harsh? How would handle such behaviour in your organisation?
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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Age is often considered as just a number and one of the common assumptions about it in the corporate world is that people concern themselves with work goals and never who is older. Like we know, the workplace comprises of different age generations of people who are expected to work together with mutual respect. However, at some point, there is set to be a clash between colleagues in different generations and even those in the same age bracket. This could affect communication thereby stifling work efficiency.
Most times age diversity in the workplace is considered the best recruiting strategy despite the strife it causes. It remains an inevitable fact that the corporate world is made up of a mixed multitude who will never have the same features. Due to this, people, whether young or old, would constantly find ways to deal with work relationships.
In every organisation, there are different demands each age generation makes to another but one thing they all seek from each other, is respect. Both old and young colleagues desire to be respected by their team members. Often times, the older generations tend to seek more respect and usually detest being answerable to a younger colleague whose attitude they find unpleasant. Most of them consider taking orders from a younger person very insulting and could even resign if their boss is younger than they are.
On the other hand, the younger generation most likely would prefer if the age constraint is removed from the picture and everyone considered as equals. They would prefer to express themselves and relate with everyone on the same level without age being a barrier. With this mentality, when they are promoted to higher positions, they often do not give preference to age and could easily be seen as rude. Either ways, people in the workplace are left to deal with this dilemma every working day.
Here is a short story to drive home the point.
Kachi watched her supervisor, Miss Ibinabo, walk in majestically in that her noticeable Christian Louboutin heels that always announced her arrival. She grimaced as she heard her lashing out at everyone who seemed to be slacking on their task. Whenever she yelled at one person, her voice echoed over the entire place as though she was addressing everyone. When she spoke she expected a rapt attention which most of them gave subconsciously because of her commanding voice.
Though Miss Ibinabo was promoted to the supervisory position on the basis of her exposure and her creativity at work, she remained one of the youngest in the firm. She was barely twenty-eight and didn’t have as much experience as Kachi and the rest of the employees. Kachi who was ten years older than her always felt degraded whenever she had to sit and listen to Miss Ibinabo speak or assess her work. It wasn’t the things she said that pissed Kachi and other workers but her poor approach towards handling crises and the disrespect in her voice.
Outside the work environment Kachi could bet on her life that she would never succumb to taking orders from anyone younger than she is. She was certain Miss Ibinabo would never dare to speak to any older staff the manner she did if they had met outside the work environment. Everyone one knew her authority ended around the four walls of the company. Once Mr Fred in Kachi’s department, who was in his early fifties, had threatened to slap the madness out of her and termed her childish when she talked down on his work.
Severally Kachi had felt the urge to confront Miss Ibinabo and talk some sense into her but she feared she might be misinterpreted as being envious of the younger lady. So each day, while Miss Ibinabo strolled from desk to desk with those her silence breaking heels, and begin to prove to everyone that she was the one in charge, Kachi would bite her tongue, swallow her words and let things slide. Today was one of those days, she would let peace reign.
Can you work for an employer or work under a supervisor who you are older than? Would the case be different if the supervisor was older? Let’s know your thoughts in the comment session.
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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Imagine you’ve been working for an organisation for the past eight years. Within those years, you can count the number of times you have received a full salary while other times, your salary had been slashed without prior information or apologies. You are just expected to go with the flow and accept whatever comes your way. Uncertainty has become the order of the day for you as decisions are constantly taken randomly and impulsively. A change could happen in split seconds and everyone suffers for it.
If your memory serves you right, your first year was the fairest year you have experienced since you took on the role at the company. It was the only time your boss actually showed concern about your welfare. After that year, everything seemed to have changed within the flash speed of an eye blink. As time passed, you noticed your boss was the too authoritative type who never listened to other people’s opinion. Your boss could go on and on about what the company’s needs were rather than what was best for the employees. Anybody’s salary could be slashed at the slightest mistake. Everybody worked tirelessly and spoke in hush voices, not wanting to offend by speaking up against the harsh rules and unfair treatment in the organisation.
During the last meeting, you had tried speaking up about some concerns which you and some other staff had discussed some days before. Eyes grew wide and your voice trembled as you spoke. With the angry look on your boss’s face which was expected, you knew he wasn’t quite pleased by your boldness. Half way through your complaint, your boss had shut you up seeing that your opinion was entirely different. You now looked like the rebellious one for saying things that were an obvious truth.
Your anger was renewed yesterday when salaries were paid and what you feared most had happened, yours was incomplete. The HR manager had explained you were being punished for insubordination and for lack of conduct. You were amazed at her calmness while she spoke confidently about offenses you didn’t think would ever be associated to your name. You could sense your patience running out but then felt helpless as this job was your only source of income.
“What do you do next?” you continue to ask yourself…
The scenario painted above is the case of so many employees in organisations where it is a taboo to speak about wrong happenings. In places like that there are no objections only silent nods and a forced dance to the rhythm set by the boss. In such organisations, a slash in salary is seen as the perfect punishment for any staff regardless of the position. What would you say is going to be the fate of the fellow in the description?
As an employer, it is important to do a review about how you treat your employees. If your plan is to build a brand that will outlive you, then the welfare of your employees should be your priority. As it is often said, “respect is reciprocal”, so also when you put your employees’ welfare first, they will in turn put your business first.
However, this doesn’t mean you should always dance to the tune of your employees or run your business based on their decisions. Rather it is a way to say you should be more intentional about building an organisation where everyone feels secured. Remember NO TEAM, NO BRAND.
Written by Jennifer Chioma Amadi
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The story was told of a man who was completely unconscious and hospitalized at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital [UPTH]. His Wife didn’t have a penny on her, but she had her husband’s ATM Card with her; that would have been helpful, right? Wrong! She could not use it because she did not know the PIN. So the man’s own money couldn’t rescue him when he needed it most. His Wife had to ask other people for money or possibly borrow.
Another story was told of a Carpenter who lived somewhere in Port Harcourt. The Carpenter lived in a compound with his wife and children. The compound had two plots of land with an uncompleted building inside it, but the man built a makeshift home with wood by the fence where he lived with his family. As time went by, it was gathered that the man was once a laborer in the said property which his “Oga” was developing before he died. The story had it that the original owner of the property was building a house as a surprise gift for his girlfriend; he was married and of course his wife had no idea about this. So when he died, both girlfriend and wife didn’t know about the property. Carpenter positioned himself as custodian and gradually started claiming ownership. He was the one who attended all meetings of Landlords and even Tenants.
Some level of secrecy becomes foolish if the right things aren’t done.
Why do folks treat even the concept of writing a will with levity until some terminal disease or helpless situation comes lurking?
Why are folks so adamant to think that nothing bad will happen to them, so much that they never bother about succession planning even in their business endeavors until it is perhaps too late?
Why is the concept of passing the baton even in the realm of political and social leadership such a big issue in Africa? Why do we like to sit on things till we kick the bucket and we deny generations of what could have been a blessing to them?
If you are the only one with the password to your business email accounts, there’s a problem, start working at fixing it. I guess this is why the request for next of kin is mandatory in most legal transactions, whether you like it or not the system compels you to present someone else to stand in should anything happen to you.
If you have no one in this whole world to trust with your ATM Card pin, you probably will need to re-evaluate your relationships.
Branding is much more than identity and marketing communications, it also has to do with how your business or organization is structured.
Written by Maple Dappa
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