Dear Dan: An Employee Yelled at Me

Dear Dan,

I read your blog everyday and need some advice! I believe I am leading a narcissist. She lost it today and called me a name when I provided feedback on a document that was not correct.

She accused me and our company of not valuing her opinions and is threatening to quit.

Honestly, if she quits it would solve the problem but I’ll probably not get that lucky. What are the best strategies in leading the the narcissist?

Confronted by a Narcissist

Dear Confronted,

I don’t know if she is a narcissist, but you’re letting yourself be disrespected.

It might not be the best, but if someone insults you and then threatens to quit, you might gently say, “Go ahead.”

If that doesn’t work for you, try saying, “We don’t speak to each other that way. The next time you insult me, you won’t have to threaten to quit. I’ll fire you.”

Your response to disrespect determines the future of your relationship.

If you allow disrespect, you will be disrespected.

The person you can’t confront controls you. This doesn’t mean you have to control everything. It means this issue is primarily about you.

 5 suggestions for dealing with disrespect:

  1. Do not allow anyone to call you names or yell at you.
  2. Don’t answer the accusation. Deal with the disrespect. It’s easy to get distracted by, “You don’t value my opinion.” Deal with her concern only after you’ve dealt with her disrespect.
  3. Create a strategy for the next time this happens*. Discuss options with your boss and/or HR. I suspect this person has been around awhile. She looks down on you.
  4. Next time this happens, step back and give her space. Relax your breathing and your facial expressions. Wait.
  5. Deliver your planned response.

I’ll post more later.

What would be on your planned response to being disrespected by an employee?

*The only way this won’t happen again is if she has intimidated you into never saying anything that might upset her.

Read part 2 of this post: How to Respond to an Angry Employee.