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When you've spent a lot of time and effort putting together your team, the last thing you need is one disrespectful individual throwing a spanner into the works. It does happen, and as online learning into the subject shows,  it can lead to your whole team becoming disengaged and less productive. So, if this occurs in your workplace, what can be done about it? 

What Is Considered Disrespectful Behaviour In The Workplace?

Disrespect can take many forms and be aimed at anyone in your organisation. It might be an employee who's never on time, someone who seems particularly adept at spreading malicious gossip, or, at worst, workplace violence or harassment. The important thing to remember is not to lose your cool and deal with the matter in a way that doesn't impact everyone. 

So, How Do You Handle A Disrespectful Employee?

Regardless of any behaviour you witness, it's essential that you lean on your interpersonal skills and keep everything calm and collected. Even if they've been disrespectful to you, you should never react badly (in front of everyone), but you should act decisively so as to show other team members that these types of actions are NOT acceptable. Here are five other aspects you need to pay close attention to…

  • Aspect #1 - Firmness

Perhaps the most important thing you can do is to be firm in the face of the disrespect that's been shown. In no uncertain terms, you must be clear in stating that while you might understand the reasons behind disrespectful behaviour, it needs to stop immediately.

As leadership short courses teach, failing to act firmly simply opens the door for others to do the same. This must be articulated clearly.

  • Aspect #2 - Support 

It's likely that the disrespect fired your way is the symptom of something else that's happening in another area of that employee's life. As such, you should make yourself available to talk about their current problems and future challenges they may face. 

Being heard this way greatly reduces the chances of further rudeness or any attempts to undermine you as a leader. 

  • Aspect #3 - Objectivity

As much as it might feel good for a moment to lose your temper in the face of disrespect, you must remain objective. Perhaps you've just told someone they can't have certain time off, or they've been passed over for promotion - both events that would put you in a bad mood. 

Try and remember back to when you were in their position and separate the emotion out of proceedings. It's the only way to ensure the issue is dealt with professionally. 

  • Aspect #4 - Document Everything You See 

There may be occasions when a team member is disrespectful because they've already decided they're going to look for a new job. As such, there could be a pattern of disrespect that needs to be tracked and documented, from unanswered emails to late responses to phone calls. 

In the event of having to performance manage someone out of business, everything needs to be written down so that you can prove you did everything to provide support.

  • Aspect #5 - Be Receptive to Management Feedback

Being a good boss means also being self-aware. As a manager, there could be an area of your own personal development that's causing the problem, so be bold and try some introspection. If poor management from you has led to the disrespect occurring, try to address it rather than focusing on the person in front of you. 

Having the humility to consider what you're doing to contribute to the team member's problems is key. 

There's no excuse for a professional to disrespect another privately or in public. If you find it happening to you, remember these five aspects, and you’ll be able to catch when this problem occurs.

Learn Management Skills With Online Courses Australia 

Managing a team of any kind can be tricky, but with video-based, CPD-endorsed online learning to help you from OCA, the job gets a whole lot easier. Courses like our HR Management & Communication Course make learning new professional skills a cinch, and they can be taken at a pace that suits you too! 

By watching our Study Demo, you'll get a better understanding of our next-level learning experience. Why our students see ours as the best online education, Australia has to offer? To learn more about our full library of short courses (that covers more than 20 industries) or our flexible payment plans, visit us today at

Alternatively, if you have any questions you'd like to be answered by our team prior to enrolling, simply give us a bell at 1300 611 404 or email us at [email protected]. The moment we receive your enquiry, we'll do everything we can to give you the necessary answers. 

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