Deal with Rude Employees as a Manager: Effective Strategies

Dealing with rude employees can be a real headache for any manager. It’s like walking a tightrope – you want to address the issue firmly, but you also don’t want to make things worse. But fear not! This guide is here to help you navigate the treacherous waters of employee rudeness.

Here are some steps you can take to deal with rude employees as a manager:

1. Stay Calm and Composed

The most important thing is to stay calm and professional, even if the employee is being disrespectful. Getting flustered will only escalate the situation.

2. Address the Behavior Privately

Don’t confront the employee in front of colleagues or customers. Schedule a private meeting to discuss the issue.

3. Be Specific and Direct

Clearly explain how the employee’s behavior was unprofessional and provide specific examples. Focus on the action, not the person.

4. Listen to Their Perspective

Give the employee a chance to explain their side of the story. There might be an underlying reason for their behavior.

5. Set Clear Expectations

Clearly outline the expected behavior moving forward. Explain the company’s policies on respect and professionalism.

6. Consequences for Continued Rudeness

Let the employee know there will be consequences if their behavior continues. This could involve a verbal warning, written warning, or even disciplinary action.

7. Document Everything

Keep a record of the incident, including the date, time, details of the behavior, and any corrective actions taken.

8. Lead by Example

Your own behavior sets the tone for the workplace. Be respectful and professional in all your interactions with employees.

9. Offer Support

If the employee’s behavior stems from personal problems, offer support and resources if available.

10. Consider Alternative Solutions

In some cases, there might be a deeper issue causing the rudeness. Explore options like conflict resolution training or mediation.

Here are some additional tips

  • Focus on the future: Don’t dwell on the past behavior. Focus on how the employee can improve moving forward.
  • Be empathetic: Try to understand why the employee might be acting out.
  • Be consistent: Enforce the company’s policies on respect and professionalism consistently with all employees.

Remember, your goal is to address the behavior and create a positive work environment for everyone. 

The Ground Rules: Professionalism from Everyone

A great first step is setting clear expectations. Every employee should understand the company’s code of conduct, which outlines what professional behavior looks like in your office. This includes things like respectful communication (both verbally and electronically!), punctuality, and a positive attitude towards colleagues and clients. Think of it as a roadmap for navigating the office environment.

Effective Communication Strategies

Now, imagine you witness an employee behaving unprofessionally. The first rule? Stay calm. A heated exchange will only escalate the situation. Schedule a private meeting to address the issue directly. Be specific! Instead of a vague “you were unprofessional,” pinpoint the behavior and its impact. 

Focus on the action, not the person. For example, “In the meeting earlier, your tone seems dismissive. Can we discuss how to communicate more effectively in the future?” Actively listen to their perspective as well. There might be an underlying reason for the outburst.

Building a Culture of Respect: Discipline and Professionalism

Unfortunately, some situations require a firmer hand. For repeated displays of unprofessionalism, a system of progressive discipline is essential. This typically starts with verbal warnings, followed by written warnings, and could ultimately lead to disciplinary action. The key here is consistency. Enforce the company’s policies fairly and consistently with all employees.

Example: You Set the Tone

Employees look to their managers for guidance.  If you want a respectful workplace, you need to model that behavior yourself.  Treat everyone with courtesy and empathy, even during stressful situations.  Remember, your actions speak louder than words.


By following these tips, you can transform your office into a space where respect and professionalism thrive. Remember, a positive work environment benefits everyone. Employees feel valued and productive, and your company reaps the rewards of a happy and well-functioning team. So, take charge, address unprofessional behavior, and watch your office transform from a tense battleground to a collaborative haven!

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is the manager’s quality? 

Teams are cared for and tended to by competent managers. You can possess all the qualities of an effective manager, including confidence, effective communication abilities, and active listening methods.

2. What makes a manager or leader effective?

Effective managers must be receptive to fresh perspectives, flexible in the face of unexpected change, demand excellence from their staff, and maintain regular, effective communication. Leaders must also be able to exhibit these abilities.

3. How does one have a neutral attitude?

A specific compromise or middle ground between the participant and objective attitudes is represented by the neutral attitude. Due to the therapist’s deliberate suspension of reactive attitudes during therapy, the neutral attitude is not as intimate and emotional as the participant attitude.

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