How to Deal with Insubordination

John Black

Most business owner or managers have had to deal with insubordination at some point.

In fact just the mention of this probably brings back painful memories of arguing with a stubborn employee that refused to perform some critical task.

This issue came up at the AutoTask Tour in Dallas during a roundtable discussion.  One of the computer consultants attending the event asked the panel how to deal with technicians that wouldn't log in their tickets.

Immediately there were a blizzard of other computer repair companies asking the exact same question.  As a result I discerned that this topic had hit a nerve and also might resonant with our readers.  So just what was the consensus of the panel on how to handle insubordination?

Take Punitive Action

The first panelist to venture a response had the same complaint with a technician not inputting his tickets properly.  He explained this meant that he couldn't bill his clients correctly and was literally leaving money on the table. He first tried calling his worst offender out on the carpet and pointing out his glaring errors. However in-spite of his repeated reprimands this technician simply failed to ever comply.

He told the audience that the tipping point came when he read an article that pointed out some of the consequences that stem from retaining insubordinate employees and how normally one issue ends up just being the tip of the iceberg!  The article gave him the courage to finally terminate this technician over the ticketing issue.  His other employees told him he had made a good decision because that insubordinate worker had also not been a team player and was speaking negatively about the company.

Sometimes the only way to win with incorrigible employees is to just

 them and say, “YOU”RE FIRED!” 

You Can Attract More Flies With Honey

MSP Marketing Tips Another audience member quipped that he had a similar dilemma with his IT technician but this employee was way too valuable to just ax. 

Another attendee joined in the discussion and begin to describe how he had developed a point system for this techs, so they win prizes when they accumulate enough points by submitting tickets.

Someone else delineated how they had devised a bonus for their workers which motivated them to increase their compliance with the ticketing system. 

In sum it seems the consensus of the group was that it is superior to offer a carrot instead of the stick to influence the behavior of their staff. 

Save The Best For Last

By far the most sublime comment was saved for the very end of the dialog when someone from AutoTask asked, “Why are you still billing clients per hour?”  If you're in a pure managed services agreement then there is no need for technicians to submit tickets for their time.

The best coarse of action is to try and avoid skirmishes with employees when instead you can do and end run that eliminates the very cause of the consternation in the first place.

John Black is the Marketing Director at MSP Telemarketing. He has over 10 years of experience to marketing on behalf of service providers.