Mountains in fog - how to handle employees refusing to do the work

How to deal with employees who say it's not my job

Managing difficult employees

Superboss is a reader-supported blog. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

How do you deal with employees saying that’s not my job?

Has this happened to you? We’ve all dealt with unmotivated employees, in the worst case even refusing to do what we ask. It is extremely frustrating for the manager when an employee refuses to do something. Sometimes the excuse they give is that their job description doesn’t cover the task. So, how to you deal with employees who say that’s not my job? 

Hitting the wall while managing employees happens to all managers.

Why an employee says it’s not my job

If a situation like this occurs, first look back at your recruitment process – the problem starts there. It means that you might have hired an unmotivated person or you have an attitude problem. Hire motivated people. 

But this may be not the only reason. Let’s look at this deeper. 

How to respond when an employee says ‘that’s not my job’

  1. Understand
    Talk to them one-on-one to find out what’s going on and why they say no. It may be that they are working on something else and already feel overwhelmed. In such case you need to help them prioritise. However,you still need to say that saying ‘it’s not my job’ sounds rude and you’re not OK with that. 
  2. Do not tolerate when people don’t care
    If the above is not the case, it means you need to be very clear about your expectations. It is the nature of small business that everyone has to wear many hats. Tell them that it’s not the way we work here. People who don’t care should be let go and they need to know that. As a leader you shouldn’t tolerate bad attitude. 
  3. Lead by example
    As a manager or business owner you will occasionally do any job that needs to be done. It’s about creating culture where people care. 
  4. Praise extra efforts
    You need to recognise and reward the desired behaviour. Again, this is about creating the type of company culture in which nobody says ‘it’s not my job’. 
Overcome challenges and create a strong team
Have you experienced a situation like this?

How did you deal with it? Have you got your own ways of addressing such issues? 

Books about managing employees

The Enthusiastic Employee: How Companies Profit by Giving Workers What They Want 
The Essential HR Handbook: A Quick and Handy Resource for Any Manager or HR Professional 
The New HR Leader’s First 100 Days: How To Start Strong, Hit The Ground Running & ACHIEVE SUCCESS FASTER As A New Human Resources Manager, Director or VP 

Related articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: