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5 Ways To Handle Employees Who Think They Are The Boss



The “employees who think they are the boss” is one of the most annoying problems you might occasionally run into in as an employee in an organization. When in this situation, it’s ideal to deal with the disobedient employee as soon as possible. If you don’t, other team members can begin to think less highly of you as a leader.

Is there anything worse for a manager to work with than an underappreciated employee? This can be demonstrated in subtle ways, such as failing to acknowledge greetings, failing to follow instructions, blatantly disobeying their tasks, and ensuring that other team members do the same. One person who believes she is smarter than you is all it takes to start causing fractures in your team’s foundation. How should a manager conduct themselves when leading a team, fully aware that at least one member will not be paying attention or taking you seriously?

This article on how to deal with employees who think they are the boss was put together to help you stop this issue before it gets worse.

What Do Employees Who Think They Are The Boss Do?

Employees who think they are the boss tend to be arrogant, self-absorbed, and rule-breakers. They frequently put themselves first and don’t appreciate or cooperate with others, which can make them challenging individuals in a business setting where teamwork is frequently required.

Why Do Employees Think They Are The Boss?

Your authority may be challenged by your staff for a variety of reasons. You can deal with the situation more successfully if you can determine why the employee is functioning in a managerial capacity.

Employees Who Think They Are The Boss

Here are a few typical justifications why workers contest a manager’s authority:

  • They Genuinely Believe They Are Superior. 

It might be as challenging to work with a staff member who believes they are smarter than you. The easiest way to deal with this kind of employee is to demonstrate the fallacy of their assumptions.

  • They Want Your Position.

They tend to be overconfident and strong-willed, making them challenging to handle. They will challenge your authority to weaken you and mobilize the opposing team members.

  • They Have Awkward Social Skills.

Some workers might be struggling with mild autism, which may also cause inappropriate social conduct. These workers may have good intentions, but they are unable to communicate in a way that is acceptable to others. It’s crucial to carefully evaluate a disobedient team member before taking action because your improper response could injure such team members.

  • They Lack Insight And Experience.

An inexperienced team member may be merely trying to impress you when they exert themselves inappropriately. These workers are simpler to manage because they will pick up new knowledge and experience and are likely to change their behavior following a serious one-on-one discussion.

The Issue With Rude “Employees Who Think They Are The Boss” Behavior

It can be challenging for a business to run when there are disrespectful employees who think they are the boss. Insubordination not only reduces output but also has an impact on how other workers view their managers. The culture of your firm could deteriorate over time, harming operations and making it challenging to find and keep talented workers.

Here Are Some Instances Of “Employees Who Think They Are The Boss.” Embarrassment And Disobedience

Here are a few instances of how employees who act like they are in charge of everything can disrespect their bosses and ruin productivity and morale at work:

  • Biased Attitudes: 

Sometimes a subordinate will act disrespectfully toward his boss because of social preconceptions that person holds. It should be highlighted that discrimination is prohibited if it is motivated by one of the federally protected categories listed above, such as an employer’s ethnicity, sex, race, country, disabilities, or age (over 40, for example).

  • Oversharing

When a coworker divulges excessive personal or professional information, many individuals find it upsetting. The best way to deal with problems like sexual behavior, excessive drug or alcohol use, or disagreements with superiors is to talk to one’s friends, family, or a therapist.

  • Hostility: 

An employee’s queries or reservations regarding a task or order are reasonable, but it is inappropriate to respond in a hostile manner, whether it be orally, by email, or through your body language.

  • Gossiping: 

Spreading unfavorable, frequently inaccurate, or incomplete information about coworkers or upper management can lead to conflict and mistrust at work.

  • Manipulation And False Complaints: 

Some workers make false HR reports and disparage their superiors to undermine them. To clients and other professionals in the field, these employees might even talk negatively of their superiors.

  • Being Ineffective: 

Workers who are absent-minded, frequently miss deadlines, or neglect to do assigned tasks will eventually hurt your company due to their carelessness and laziness.

  • Passive Aggression: 

A passive-aggressive worker avoids conflict and outright displays of disrespect but is often very slow to collaborate with his supervisor. The employee’s inactivity and inability to take the initiative in any aspect of his work eventually irritate the supervisor, who eventually loses patience.

Ways To Handle Employees Who Think They Are The Boss

To address the question of how to deal with employees who think they are the boss, the following rules can be used:

  • Consider The Situation

Looking objectively in the mirror at yourself should be the first thing you do if you’re contemplating how else to put an employee in their place. Although this task is not the most enjoyable or straightforward on the list, it must be completed. Before acting, a competent leader should be able to look in the mirror and evaluate their management approach. Do you dislike it when a teammate questions your ideas, to start? In that case, you are to blame. A team that consistently follows your orders is not productive. Having subordinates who occasionally challenge you is a good thing. But they just have to do it respectfully and professionally.

Are you maybe making blunders or treating your teammates disrespectfully? Perhaps you need to improve your management approach, and the disobedient team member is expressing the worries of the entire team. If so, you can ask a mentor or your boss for guidance, or you can enlighten yourself by taking classes, attending webinars, and reading self-help literature.

  • Have A Private Conversation:

It might be challenging to let someone know when they are crossing the line. But I genuinely suggest that you speak openly with the team members. You should address the employee in person about their unprofessional behavior, just like when a teacher is dealing with a troublesome kid in their class. The best solution would be to correct the situation through an open dialogue.

The primary goal of a one-on-one conversation is to let the employee know that you find their behavior to be improper. You should make it very plain to them that they are going too far and support your position with specific instances when their actions were improper.

Second, talking to the employee is a good method to find out more about potential reasons for their disobedience. They could not even be cognizant of their behavior, or they might feel undervalued. You must carefully evaluate the employee so that you can respond in the best way.

  • Inform Them Of Their Responsibilities

Use objective standards, such as their official job description, to remind an employee of the boundaries when they are acting like a manager. If your initial one-on-one conversation with the team member didn’t result in a change in conduct, you should schedule a second, more official meeting.

Ask them to explain their role and obligations to you during this meeting. It’s great if the employee responds in writing or via electronic means because you want to keep the discussion frank and understandable. Then, you can contrast their version with the one that is on their official job description, and you should make any differences apparent.

Even though you might not want to share your job description with the team member, you should write out a list of your most significant managerial responsibilities in advance. These can then be contrasted with each team member’s duties. If you believe it will be helpful, have a document prepared for the team member to sign acknowledging their understanding of their responsibilities.

  • Accept Some Of The Ideas From The Employees

If the employee occasionally has a good proposal, you can show your leadership by implementing some of these suggestions. By doing this, you’ll demonstrate that you have enough faith in your skills to invite staff members’ input on how things are carried out.

It might be difficult to maintain your authority while allowing team members to provide feedback on how you handle projects and your team as a whole. It’s best to only adopt ideas that are superior to your own and to avoid doing so too frequently.

However, you can also choose to give the employee more authority and seniority without it having any bearing on your managerial choices. If you’re in charge of a project office, you can elect to elevate them from junior project director to senior consultant.

  • Allow Mistakes To Be Made By Them

Allowing workers who believe they are untouchable to learn from their mistakes will help teach them a valuable lesson. When it comes to less-important activities that won’t harm customer satisfaction or employee retention, you should allow them to lead if one of your team members consistently challenges your judgment or challenges your authority by insinuating that they know better.

When it comes to putting their ideas into action, employees who only speak the talk but don’t walk the walk will likely be entirely lost. Make sure you give them a task or challenge that is difficult enough to make them unlikely to succeed.

The intention is not to denigrate or demoralize them, but rather to demonstrate that leading a team is tough and demands resilience, expertise, professional skills, and knowledge.

  • Obtain Their Support.

Ending up on a path of caution and disciplinary actions is considerably worse than gaining the employee’s respect and support. Instead of gathering in your office or the meeting room when you first meet with the employee, it would be a good suggestion to invite them for a casual cup of coffee at a coffee shop.

Even while the goal isn’t to become best friends, it’s a good idea to discuss a few aspects of your life with the employee so they can get to know you better. Share with them your weekend experience watching a cricket match or the fact that both of your children are enrolled in international schools. Knowing that you are more than just a boss and that you are also a buddy, a spouse, and a father, may alter how the employee views you.

Ask them about their goals for the future, whether they enjoy their job, and their career objectives. Inquire further about how you can assist them in achieving their objectives. Then, after helping them if you can, you can let them know what you need from them in return.

  • Give Them The Assistance They Need

A subordinate employee’s behavior may be a part of their character or a habit, in which case, expecting them to change after one chat may be asking too much. You want to give them the assistance they need to make a change in their behavior easier and more likely.

You can register them in online classes that include collaboration, and communicating-communications skills, or you can send them to the appropriate training sessions. If at all feasible, you should also assign the worker a mentor with whom you may discuss your disagreements with them in advance.

You can also bring up professional growth with the individual because a good manager wants to empower their team members. If they want to become managers, make a plan for their professional growth that will assist them in achieving that objective within a given time frame. For instance, getting an MBA might be a smart move for them.

Preventing Unsuitable Behavior by Employees Who Think They Are the Boss

Of course, it is always preferable to prevent wrong behavior than to have to correct it after the fact. You can steer clear of dealing with conduct issues at work in the following ways:

  • Hiring Prudently:

Consider your new hires in more depth than just their credentials. Check references and conduct web research to learn more about the candidate you’ll be hiring.

  • Offer Onboarding: 

Many businesses disregard the significance of the onboarding procedure for equality. In addition to preparing new hires for their job, onboarding gives you the chance to make clear your expectations for employee behavior.

  • Offer A Referral Bonus: 

Your present staff members may be able to suggest friends and former coworkers fill positions in your firm. Offer a referral bonus while stressing that any recommendations made should fit well with your business and its culture.

  • Be Open: 

Employees may be less inclined to spread stories or try to discredit other employees as a means of competing if both you and your management team are known for honesty and accountability. Backbiting and office gossip frequently stem from a lack of openness at the leadership and management levels. Share knowledge about your company with your staff whenever you can, and pay attention to any worries they may have.

  • Give Support: 

If employees were more at ease talking to their managers about problems, some poor worker behavior might be prevented. For instance, an employee who has lost productivity can be going through a personal or family crisis. Both the employee and the organization benefit from encouraging employees to talk with their managers before a medical or emotional issue affects how well they do their jobs.


To handle employees who think they are the boss, Giving team members the support and direction they require to realize their full potential is essential for the efficient operation of a team. However, for a team to be entirely cohesive, members must respect one another and the authority of their supervisors.

You probably have dealt with overconfident people if you’ve managed a team of workers before, either as a project leader or a team leader. This can make them particularly challenging to control for a variety of reasons. Always-right employees might be tough to manage because they frequently ignore senior managers’ instructions, but it can also be challenging for other professionals to collaborate with them.

These people are frequently among the most gifted and inventive, and their arrogance reflects a drive to perform to the best of their abilities. They are essential professionals, but so is the majority of your staff.

I hope with the points highlighted above, you can handle employees who think they are the boss. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Is The Best Way To Tell An Employee To Mind Their Own Business?

  • I understand your want to assist, but it’s interfering with your work and making other people uncomfortable. I want you to concentrate on your work and let the other employees manage their work-related concerns. Can you continue to do that?

What Occurs When A Worker Behaves Like An Owner?

  • An individual with an ownership mentality is not only a better and more involved employee, but they are also more likely to have a good impact on those around them. Employees who are trained to think like owners will be self-driven to expand your business and deliver excellent work every day.

You can also read, “20 Vital Signs You Are Respected At Work

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