Not Taught The Right Way

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about insubordination:

My boss told me today I was being insubordinate when I asked for help with a procedure I was only trained to do once before my coworker left the company two weeks ago.She asked me why I didn’t “get it” when I was shown by a coworker. She did not know and told me there was no one else in the dept. that knew either. She did not want to help me.

Signed, Untrained

Dear Untrained:

Probably your boss thought you were insubordinate because of some sarcastic or angry remark you made, rather than because you didn’t know how to do a procedure. Hopefully you can start over with your boss by approaching this problem a bit differently.

Next time you go to work go to your boss and say something like, “Sherry, I’m sorry I was snippy and insubordinate sounding yesterday. I didn’t mean to be. I was just irritated that Angela didn’t train me before she left and I felt foolish for not knowing. I apologize for my tone.” Whatever you say, you can adapt some of those thoughts.

Let your boss know you’re sorry and explain why you were less than pleasant sounding. Then, ask for the help you need. You could say, “The bottom line is that maybe I should know how to do that task, but I don’t know how and I need someone to spend the time it takes to teach me.” She probably realizes that it was a mistake to not have someone dependable teach you. Once you learn the tasks that are important to your work, you will probably be able to rebuild any bad feelings and show that you’re a good employee with a respectful attitude. Best wishes to you.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.