One of my staff posted on her wall a one page document which states  "Why Employees Leave their Organizations".  Item 1 states, Their Boss is a Jerk.  (link here ).


There is a lot of negativity in my office currently and it is primarily based on management decisions.  I don't want to encourage this negativity but I do not want to be too controlling.


Should I ask the employee to take down the chart or am I being too sensitive?



Des (in one of my shorter forum posts) 

royd's picture

I would not ask for that to be removed, however it may be good to bring up the 5 (or maybe the 4) issues listed in the 1o1 and ask if they have something they want to share.

Do your staff demonstrate behaviour that reduces their effectivness ?



TomW's picture
Training Badge

Just as she is free to post it, you're free to reduce her pay next year or lay her off. Freedom works both ways :-)

buhlerar's picture

is there other behavior that would lead you yo think this was somehow directed at you or your team? i could see this posted without ill intent, but i dont know what else is going on. all in all seems pretty insignificant in isolation, though. is this person a manager?

sorry for no caps. my phone browser doesnt seem to be cooperating with this memo box.

stephenbooth_uk's picture

I recommend asking her to take the poster down, don't make a huge thing over it just say "Could you take that poster down, please."  At her next O3 ask her if there's anything she wishes to discuss. 

About a year ago M&M released a cast on decorating your desk which I think applies here.  Specifically they talk about not having Dilbert merchandise due to the negative view of management that implies.  I like Dilbert, a lot, but (except for the occasions mentioned in my comment on that cast) don't have Dilbert cartoons on my desk.  The post you describe seems even more pointed than any Dilbert strip so I feel is definitely unsuited to a work environment.  It may just be inapporpriate humour, if so no worries beyond maybe a conversation and some coaching about effective workplace behaviour.  If it's a symptom of a deeper dissatisfaction then giving her a chance to discuss any concerns at her next O3 will give you a chance to get them out of the way and, if possible, address them.  Making an overtly big deal out of it is likely to damage relationships with her and your other directs.  There's a line between looking like an effective manager guiding their team to success and a power crazed, humourless jerk stomping on any thought they disagree with.  You want to make sure you stay on the right side of it.



Skype: stephenbooth_uk  | DiSC: 6137

"Start with the customer and work backwards, not with the tools and work forwards" - James Womack


jib88's picture

Asking them to take it down may hammer home their opinion that you are a jerk ;)

I would directly ask in a 1:1 if they think you are a jerk. Maybe they mean nothing against you by posting it. They might really be getting at some of the other items listed, like empowerment, politics, etc. It would be good to know what is frustrating your people. If they really don't think you're a jerk, and you ask them why they have that article hung up, they'll probably take the hint and take it down.


Maybe create your own article to hang in your office: 

5 Ways Talented Employees Get Ahead

1: They don't post disparaging articles about their managers

2: They don't gossip

3: ...

(just kidding on this of course!)

flexiblefine's picture

I agree that this is a good thing to talk about on a one-on-one. Partly from the "do you think I'm a jerk" point of view, but partly from the "this adds to the existing negativity" angle. If there's negativity in the workplace, posting it on the walls isn't going to be any help.

And that can lead into a discussion of things that might be done to reduce the negativity in general...

I worked for a startup in 2000-2001, and I had a "Burnout" thing on my desk. The sentiment was something like "Attitudes are contagious. Mine might kill you." So I've done the posting-negativity thing, and from the distance of years I see that it didn't do anything but make me look like an attitude problem. Maybe she just doesn't see it that way yet.

Houston, Texas, USA
DiSC: 1476

DesmondJ's picture

The issue came up the same day I wrote the original post, so I acted before received any of the comments, but they are all right on the mark.

The Organization is going through some major changes, it is a career organization (very low turnover) and people are generally lifers.  For the past several years, the only way to progress is through applying to new posts and now management has taken the decision to look for new blood outside the Organization as well as inside (I agree with this position).  However, it has created a negative environment inside as people now are mad about their limited opportunities.

In some cases, the individual is performing above grade level and has deserved a promotion for years (this is the case of the person who posted the document, my Exec Asst., who is also going through some difficult personal issues).  In other cases, I have good performers who can be disrespectful of others, insubordinate and creators of conflict.

I had a scheduled One on One and I had planned not to say anything.  However, in this case it a was a very positive O3 and at the end, I mentioned the document on her wall, just because it fit within the flow of the discussion.  She said that she hadn't even noticed the first line about the boss being a jerk but had focused on the empowerment, etc.  She stressed that in no way was it about me and I think she was being sincere.  In any case, I focused on the negativity in the group and requested that she remove it from such a public viewing area at her desk.

So she took it down....and put it in a more conspicuous place.  I won't bring the issue up to her again, but having the relationship that i have developed through the O3s made all the difference.

Thanks again,



hyubdoo23's picture

More conspicuous, or less?


DesmondJ's picture

GlennR's picture

I think you've just demonstrated the power of 03's. You can't have effective 03's without effective communication. As Dale Carnegie said, "90% of all management problems are caused by miscommunication."