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Employees Disrespect You – How to Regain Control

“Employees disrespect you and how do you regain control? I want to grow my cleaning company but I have backstabbing employees who are hijacking my company. If employees disrespect you – do you fire them?”

Angela Brown, talks about when employees disrespect you and unacceptable employee behavior. Insubordination suggests a need for management training. House cleaning is tough enough without maids and employees who won’t listen to their boss. 

Today’s Ask a House Cleaner sponsors are Savvy Cleaner. (Conflict resolution and management training for house cleaners and maids.) HouseCleaning360 (a place that partners homeowners with house cleaners.) Savvy Perks (a way to create and reward loyal employees.) And My Cleaning Connection (a resource hub for cool cleaning stuff.)

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Hey there, I’m Angela Brown, and this is Ask a House Cleaner. This is a show where you get to ask a house cleaning question, and I get to help you find an answer. You can find this and 400 other answered questions in this series on our YouTube channel.

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Question: What Do You Do When Employees Disrespect You?

How do you deal with employees that disrespect you?

That’s a great question, and we’re going to talk about that today.

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Answer: Be a Leader Not a Friend When Employees Disrespect You

Employees Disrespect You, Women Having Serious DiscussionWhat happens when you are the boss? You are in charge.

If you have stopped being a leader and you are being your employee’s friend, you’re just playing nice. We’ll talk about how being too nice can destroy your business in an upcoming session.

Today we want to talk about being a leader. Good leaders are respected because they manage their team.

We respect our parents. We respect people in authority. And yet we don’t respect our friends so much. We’re like, “Ah, you’re full of it.” But with leaders, we show respect.

Being Friendly vs. Being Friends

If you’ve stopped being a leader and you’re more of a friend, you’re being too nice. That can create an environment where people walk all over the top of you.

When people get comfortable, their respect dissipates. They treat those closest to them with casual comfort and often that includes crossing boundaries. So, how do you handle disrespectful employees?

Be Firm and Have Boundaries

Employees Disrespect You, Woman Cleaning CounterBe firm and have your boundaries in place. Doing this creates a structure for the employee.

They think, “Oh, I don’t have to be the one that creates the boundaries. The boundaries already exist. My boss has already created those for me. All I have to do is show up and do my part.”

It takes a lot of responsibility off the employee.

When Employees Disrespect You – Rein Them In

Now, if your employees are insubordinate and have run amok with your company, it’s time to regain control. They might be talking bad behind your back and backstabbing you to customers.

This is something you need to rein in. The first thing is to explain to them the reasons why this is bad.

When you explain your reasoning, then they understand what’s going on in the company.

Make Them Feel Involved In Your Company Culture

Employees Disrespect You, Three Women LaughingIf you’re making decisions behind their back and not including them, they don’t feel any ownership of the company.

Why would they respect you and why would they be loyal to you if there’s no ownership of the company?

There’s nothing in it for them other than a paycheck that they can go get that anywhere. To balance that out they become dominant and aggressive.

Explain Why and How The Company Operates

Employees Disrespect You, Top SecretYou want to create this culture of communication by saying, “Hey, listen, here’s the reason why we’re doing this.” Take time to explain all the different ins and outs.

There are lots of companies that don’t want to explain how and why the company works or how crucial each member is to its success. Things like how the company makes money, or how the boss makes money, or how much the company makes is never known. 

A lot of these are private questions. They’re business questions. But the more the employee knows, they more they can be your allies in the marketplace. 

Find the Balance in Sharing

Employees Disrespect You, Little Girl WhyShare to a certain point. You don’t want to go overboard and overshare. There is a “right” amount of information to pass along that fosters a company culture of teamwork.

But if you include enough information that they get the big picture, your employees will feel included.

When we’re young, we ask our parents, “why,” and our parents explain to us, “This is the reason why.

And we keep asking, “Why? Why? Why?”

Share your why with your employees. Tell them, “This is why we treat Mrs. Jones this way, and we treat Mrs. Peterson this way. Therefore, we must get here five minutes early for this job, and therefore we have to stay five minutes late for this job.”

You must explain the reasons why, because all the reasons are different. But once the employees know, now they can take part in the process. 

Are You a Safe Listening Ear? 

Employees Disrespect You, Three Women Having Serious DiscussionThe next thing that I want to suggest is listening. Do you have the ability to listen to your employees?

If they have a problem, will they backstab you and talk about it with a customer? Or will they come talk to you? 

But are you a safe listening ear? If you’re not, they’re not going to come to you with their problems, even if it’s about co-workers.

They’re going to take matters into their own hands. And they’re going to try to resolve those problems on their own.

Seek to Understand, Then Be Understood

Employees Disrespect You, Woman on ComputerWe want to empower our employees to solve problems on their own. But we want them to do this only after we’ve explained our reasons why and we’ve listened to them.

We need to understand where they are coming from. “You did something today that was interesting, and I would like for you to explain to me what happened here. What was your judgment or what was your decision-making process?”

They may have a valid reason for why they did what they did. But if you just jump to conclusions, now you’ve put them in a defensive position.

If You Don’t Respect Them, They Won’t Respect You

Employees Disrespect You, Two Women Having Serious DiscussionNow they’re not going to be respectful to you because you don’t understand them.

You haven’t heard them out. You haven’t listened to them. They don’t know where you’re coming from, and you don’t know where they are coming from.

It’s important to just call them in and say, “Hey, listen. I’m not judging you. Something happened here today. It was an interesting choice. Please share with me what happened. So, then we can either make this the new policy or we can make sure it never happens again.” or whatever, right?

When you listen, you learn. And when you learn the reasons why employees behave a certain way – only then can you be an effective leader.

“Catch” Your Employees Doing the Right Thing

Employees Disrespect You, Woman Looking at Phone at NightIt’s so easy to catch our employees doing things wrong. But instead, catch them doing things right.

I end up working long after my employees leave every day. And there are things that I uncover during the course of a day. Maybe something malfunctioned that I was unaware of.

And my employee jumped in of their own empowerment and they solved the problem. And I’m just discovering it at 8:00 at night. I sit there saying, “Wow, she had my back.”

So I’ll send her a text at 8:00 at night and say, “Oh, my gosh, I just wanted to say thank you. I just discovered that you solved a problem today that I should have resolved, and you jumped in. You had my back. You got me covered, and I appreciate it. Thank you.”

Recognition Mends Broken Bridges

Then they text right back and, “Oh, thanks so much for noticing. I hope what I did was okay.”

Whether it was okay or not is irrelevant. They took the initiative to try to solve a problem. That is what counts, and they’re going to keep trying to match your efforts.

Now, if you only say, “Well, I’ll see her again tomorrow. I’ll just say thanks when she comes in,” that’s not good enough.

You need to surprise them with appreciation when you notice it. It will mean more to them than you know. 

Positive Reinforcement Works

Employees Disrespect You, House CleanersThere are things that happen all the time in my business and I’m surprised in a good way.

Somebody edits my video and I see something that makes me laugh. So I screenshot it and I send it back to the editor, and say, “Oh, my goodness, thank you. That was so funny. That cracked me up.”

They’re like, “Oh, she likes humorous things. I will add more humorous things into her videos,” or whatever.

How Do You Praise When There Is a Problem?

Let’s say that a customer calls you and they have a problem. You can ask them; “Okay, of the things that happened today, what did you like best? And what did you like the least? And if we could change one thing, what would it be?”

Then that information you can pass off to the house cleaner. But how do you give positive constructive criticism?

Timing of Feedback

Employees Disrespect You, Peaking ManI would text them tonight sharing the things that they did right. I would say, “Listen, I just got off the telephone with Mrs. Jones, and she said X, Y, Z about what you did today.”

They’re going to go, “Oh, thank you so much.” Everybody loves praise and approval because that’s what we’re all seeking.

As house cleaners, we are people pleasers. We jump through hoops to please people every day.

There Is a Time for Negative Feedback

I would bring up the things that need to change in your next meeting. This could be a couple days from now or at the end of the week. Timing to constructive feedback is the key. It’s important to build up the confidence and morale of your employees before you encourage change.

When the only feedback that you’re giving is negative, that’s all you’re going to get back in return.

There’s going to be no love, or no respect. Your employee will be thinking, “I got to go find me a new job.”

It’s mutual. You’re wishing these people would go find a new job. It’s not a good fit anymore.

Train Clients to Look For Positives in Employees

Employees Disrespect You, SunflowersUse positive communication strategies to the customers about your employees. Customers will see what you encourage them to focus on.

It’s true. If I tell you not to look at the color yellow, all you will want to do is look at yellow. You’re going to see are yellow things, trying not to look at the color yellow.

It’s the same with customers. If I say, “Oh, you’re going to love this about Julia when Julia arrives to clean your house.” All they’re going to be looking for is the amazing thing that you said Julia does when she comes to their house.

You want to focus on the positive things with your customers and your employees. This way, when they get together there’s a perfect match.

There will still be suggestions and things that need improvement. But the way that you handle that will build your respect.

If You Employees Disrespect You – It Will Take Time to Change That

If you find your employees disrespect you, you’ve got an uphill battle. But it’s possible to reverse the process by reversing your behavior.

It’s going to take some time because there’s a pattern in place. And so, you’re going to have to bust the pattern, and you’re going to have to start doing new things.

Care About All Sides of the Story

Employees Disrespect You, House Cleaner with MopAfter you’ve listened to the employee’s side of the story, see if there’s something you can resolve. Maybe it means you’ve got to call another co-worker in, and you play the role of peacemaker.

You may need to say, “Hey, something happened here, and I’m sure you had a good reason for it. Can you share your side of the story with me?”

Then you get them to share their side of the story. Now they think that you care. You act like you care, and then you must really care.

Get Everybody Back on Board

There are things you can do. But if you share your reasons why,  everybody will be back on board. 

“I called you in for this reason. Here’s the reason why. I’m patching the two of you back together. Here’s the reason why. I’m sending you back to Mrs. Jones’s house, even though none of us are getting along right now. Here’s the reason why.”

Reward the Behavior You Want to Be Repeated

Then you can reward behavior when you catch them doing things right when you see them repairing a situation or a friendship.

This will rebuild trust, likeability, loyalty, and respect. Reward that behavior!

The behavior you reward is the behavior that’s repeated.

When Employees Disrespect You – Earn Back Respect

If you want to earn back the respect from your employees, the key word in this sentence is earn. You have to earn it.

Just stop where you are. Don’t beat yourself up. It’s not that you made any mistakes. You can’t fix something you don’t know is broke.

Now you know it’s broke and now you know how to fix it.

All righty. That’s my two cents for today. Until we meet again, leave the world a cleaner place than when you found it.

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About the Show

Learn how the show came to be, interesting facts about the show host, and other frequently asked questions about the show.

Resources For This Episode

Problem Employee? No Problem – https://amzn.to/2PgYBDS

The Vibrant Workplace: Overcoming the Obstacles to Building a Culture of Appreciation – https://amzn.to/2yfd9fI

Rising Above a Toxic Workplace: Taking Care of Yourself in an Unhealthy Environment – https://amzn.to/2yixLDI

The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People – https://amzn.to/2IGxU8M

Workplace Poker: Are You Playing the Game, or Just Getting Played? – https://amzn.to/2ybseiq

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