INSUBORDINATION (OR OVER-THE-LINE DlSRESPEcn
IIYEAH, BUT …
WHAT IF THE PEOPLE you talk to not only are angry. but
also become insubordinate? How do you handle that?”
The Danger Point
When you’re discussing a tough issue with employees (or even
your kids) , there’s always the chance they’ll step over the line.
They’ll move from a friendly dispute to a heated discussion and
then into the nasty territory of being insubordinate or acting dis
The trouble is, insubordination is so rare that it takes most
leaders by surprise. So they buy time to figure out what to do.
And in so doing, they let the person get away with something
that was way out of line. Worse still, their perceived indifference
makes them an accomplice to all future abuses. Parents, on the
YEAH, BUT 209
other hand, caught by surprise, tend to respond in kind, becom
ing angry and insulting.
Show zero tolerance for insubordination. Speak up immediately,
but respectfully. Change topics from the issue at hand to how the
person is currently acting. Catch the escalating disrespect before
it turns into abuse and insubordination. Let the person know
that his or her passion for the issue at hand is leading down a
dangerous trail. “I’d like to step away from this scheduling issue
for a moment-then we’ll come right back to it. The way you’re
leaning in toward me and raising your voice seems disrespectful.
I want to help address your concerns, but I’m going to have a
tough time doing so if this continues.”
If you can’t catch it early, discuss the insubordination and seek
help from HR specialists.
REGRETTING SAYING SOMETHING HORRIBLE
nYEAH, BUT …
SOMETIMES I LET A PROBLEM go for a long time, and
then when I bring it up, I say something just awful.
How do I recover from this?”
The Danger Point
When other people do things that bother us, and then we tell
ourselves a story about how they’re bad and wrong, we’re setting
ourselves up for an unhealthy conversation. Of course, when we
tell ourselves an ugly story and then sit on it, it only gets worse.
Stories left unattended don’t get better with time-they ferment.
Then, when we eventually can’t take it anymore, we say some
thing we regret .
2 1 0 CRUCIAL CONVERSATIONS
First, don’t repress your story. Use your STATE skills early on,
before the story turns too ugly. Second, if you have let the prob
lem build, don’t hold the crucial conversation while angry. Set
aside a time when you can discuss it in a calm fashion. Then,
using your STATE skills, explain what you’ve seen and heard,
and tentatively tell the most simple and least offensive story.
“The way you just told me that our neighbor thinks I’m a real
idiot has me worried. You smiled and laughed when you said it.
I’m beginning to wonder if you take pleasure in running to me
with negative feedback. Is that what’s going on?”
If you do say something horrible-“You’re cruel, you know
that? You love to hurt me and I’m sick of it” -apologize. You
can’t uming the bell, but you can apologize. Then STATE Your