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How Would YOU Handle an Employee Mutiny?


by Glenn Shepard
July 7, 2015
Category:  Management


Yankton, SD July 14
Huron, SD July 15
North Platte, NE July 28
Kearney, NE July 29

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Dear Glenn,

I have a young employee that makes fun of a coworker she doesn't like, behind her back, for occasional bladder leakage problems.
     The older employee has four kids and the younger has none. I've confronted her and explained this is not an uncommon medical condition, and that I don't appreciate her acting like a child.
  She tries to hide it from me now but I still see her giggling about it with another coworker.
   What should I do?

Kathy in Ardmore, OK

Dear Kathy,

Explain to all of your employees that they don't have to like all of their coworkers, but they have to treat everyone with respect. And that if they can't do that, they won't be working with your company.
       Thanks for your question

Glenn in Nashville, TN

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An optometrist who attended my seminar at Radford University in Virginia had three employees, all women. She worked in what she called a “Hormone Rich Environment”.

One of her employees was the troubled child who did everything wrong. The two good employees constantly complained that the optometrist let the problem employee get away too much.

One day the optometrist caught her problem employee committing a flagrant HIPAA violation so egregious that it could have caused her to lose her license, and fired her immediately.

The optometrist assumed her other two employees would thank her for finally getting rid of their toxic coworker, who they called “The Wicked Witch of the Office”.

She could not have been more wrong.

Instead, they came marching in with their arms crossed and said “How could you do that to her? She’s a single mom struggling to support two kids, and she needs this job. Hire her back!”

The optometrist explained that it was her practice, and it was not a democracy. But her remaining two employees didn’t back down. They dug in their heels and issued this ultimatum…

"If you don’t hire her back, we both quit!”

The situation had quickly spiraled out of control and turned into a mutiny.

Now put yourself in the optometrist’s shoes. You began your day with three employees. By 8:30, you’re down to two, and you’re facing the very real possibility of having no one left by lunchtime if you don’t hire back the problem employee.

What would YOU do?

There’s actually no decision for you to make, because it's already been made for you. If you made the mistake of hiring back the problem employee, your employees would be in control of your business and you would be powerless.

Employees who give ultimatums like that are terrorists. Terrorists are people who use the threat of harming you to get what they want. Most countries have a firm policy on negotiating with terrorists which is, “We don’t.”

This must be your policy when employees try to force you to do what they want.

The optometrist, who admitted to being a softie in the past, pointed out the door to her employees and told them they’d be missed. They backed off and sheepishly quipped “We were just kidding.”

Managers hope it never comes to this, but sometimes it does. The owner of a window washing company who attended my seminar in Waco, Texas, lost all six of his employees the same day. A hotel maintenance manager who attended in Omaha, Nebraska, lost all eight of his employees his second week on the job.

They both suffered short term. But once they re-staffed, they both reaped the benefits of new staff that respected their authority.

To Your Success,

P.S. A more common example of employee ultimatums is the employee who threatens to quit if they don’t get a raise. Even if they’ve worked hard to earn it, giving ultimatums is not the way to get a raise.

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