Ahavel Aborishade Discusses How to Respond to Insubordination as a Female CEO in a Startup

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In today’s business world, women are assuming more and more executive positions. Women in leadership roles can challenge some of the older norms regarding supervisory and subordinate relationships, especially between women in leadership positions and men who are team members they are responsible for. In this article, female entrepreneur and executive Ahavel Aborishade discusses how women in leadership positions can handle insubordination and promote a healthy work environment for all involved.

Keep a Positive Attitude

It is often difficult to respond to an insubordinate employee without letting yourself drop down to a negative place. A crucial part of leadership is remaining above conflicts that include insults or demeaning behavior. Keep confrontations with an insubordinate employee out of the public view of other team members and schedule a private meeting to address issues whenever possible.

Remember that everything you do as CEO sends signals to every member of your team. Projecting a positive attitude of fairness and strength goes a long way toward avoiding insubordinate actions before they occur. When problems grow to the point that you must take some disciplinary action, your positive attitude and mutual respect and accountability will assist you in making the best decisions for your business.

Be Proactive and Take Action Promptly

Probably the worst thing that you can do about an insubordinate employee is to ignore the problem. When you detect (either first-hand or through signals from other members of your organization) that an employee is acting contrary to the organization’s rules or directly against you in some way, you must address the problem on your own when possible. Allowing a situation to fester until a crisis occurs that requires more public action is detrimental both to your business and to your effectiveness as a leader.

Also, when an insubordinate team member creates a situation that you must address, do not delay or put off resolving the conflict. Unnecessary delay creates additional conflict and undermines your authority as a positive and effective leader.

Document Conflicts and Resolution

Clear written expectations of every member of your team (including yourself) are essential to managing insubordination and conflicts. Employee expectations should be delivered in writing immediately upon hiring new people, and these standards should be refreshed at least annually.

When discipline or corrective action is necessary, your preexisting guidelines will form a basis for appropriate action. Documenting all acts of insubordination and the corrective steps taken will enable effective resolution and will protect the integrity of you and your business if any questions are raised about how you have handled the situation Effective communication can both help you address problems and avoid future insubordination.

Act with Courage

Ultimately, the best decision for you and your company might be to terminate an insubordinate employee. Firing employees is one of the most challenging situations executives encounter. When you decide about the best course of action, whatever it may be, act with conviction. You can never be sure that a personnel decision is perfect, but when you enforce your choice with confidence and resolve, your entire organization will benefit from your courage to act.

About Ahavel Aborishade:

Ahavel Aborishade is a business leader, tech aficionado, and an emerging entrepreneur. She focuses on building a better workplace and future for those around her through her passion for technology and community. When she is not innovating and developing her talents in the business arena, Ahavel enjoys spending time in nature and enjoying yoga and spin cycling classes. Ms. Aborishade is also very fond of exploring new cuisines and cultures and can be found venturing into a wide variety of eclectic restaurants.

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Melissa Thompson

Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.