I just lost it in front of my staff. Who is at fault?

Dear Aunty B,


I have this highly annoying staff member who constantly pushes me to the edge in meetings by undermining my authority.

The other day in front of staff he point blank refused to follow up a sales lead that I suggested, saying that in the past it hasn’t worked so why would it now.

I was having a bad day and absolutely lost it. I told him I was sick of him being obstructive and then stormed out of the meeting.

I now feel really embarrassed that I lost it.

He is an older man and sometimes I wonder if he resents having a female boss. But surely in this day and age that stuff doesn’t matter.

Sue P,



Dear Sue,

Too bad. He sounds like he deserved it. Of course in a perfect world we bosses would never raise our voices except in praise.

But stuff happens and yes, that stuff still matters.

He may resent having a female boss. While some older men have no problem being led by the fairer sex, many female entrepreneurs report that men resent their authority and play passive aggressive games with them.

The way the she-bosses get around it? They don’t hire older men, which I am sure is against the sex discrimination policy but hard to prosecute given that it is in response to sex discrimination…

Young men apparently hold no such illusions.

On the other hand he may be just a grump who needs to get off your bus.

My advice is to stop being embarrassed. More constructive language on your part would have been helpful. But move on.

Manage this properly. Drag him to your office and read him the riot act. Tell him you want to hear “how, not no”. You want the undermining to stop and give him several examples so he understands exactly what you mean.

Set a date for a review of his behaviour. And let him know, there are many busses on the business highway. It could well be time he stuck out his thumb.


Your Aunty B.

Aunty B - Your problems answered by SmartCompany's business bitch
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