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Monica Wofford, CSP, teaches leaders to understand and improve their own leadership in using practice, skills, and desire as their three areas of focus. The range of reactions to “that’s not my job” might land some managers in jail, but it’s when a leader turns a blind eye to this remark and says “that’s not my problem” that productivity slows WAY down! It’s the employee with an attitude problem that says “that’s not my job”, but it’s the leader with an attitude problem that thinks “that’s not my problem.”

It is safe to say that an employee who says “that’s not my job” is acting like that proverbial difficult person and on today, the day of official release for Make Difficult People Disappear this seemed an appropriate Monday Moment topic. If you’ve ever heard someone shirk a job responsibility in this way, don’t fret, there are ways to deal with it effectively.

  • You could respond with “Well, it doesn’t have to be your job for long.” (My personal favorite!)
  • You could say “You remember that phrase ‘other duties as assigned’? This would be one of those.”
  • You could remind the employee that there are many valued contributions they provide and this is one needed now.
  • You could sit him down and have the conversation about everyone is doing more with less.
  • You could talk about the economy.
  • You could describe the numbers of resumes you might get if you post the job should she decide it’s no longer one she wants to do. (okay, so maybe that’s a bit direct)
  • You could say ‘I beg your pardon?’, followed by the evil parent eye


  • You could address the misstep in professional conduct and point to a policy that says “Each team member will willingly participate in the activities necessary to satisfy our clients’ needs for our products and services and continued relationship with our organization.”

The problem is that many leaders get fed up with this kind of behavior and many organizations do not have a professional conduct policy, by which to govern the behavior or potential attitude problems of employees. Thus, this kind of issue becomes one that leaders tire of dealing with and they walk away saying “that’s not my problem” under their breath. When an employee problem of this type gets ignored in the organization, it spreads. It becomes contagious, starts to affect other team members, can create conflict and certainly stress and will slow down, to the speed of cold molasses any and all productivity, if left to fester.

As the leader, it IS your problem and your responsibility to deal with the difficult people, even the ones who simply seem to have an attitude. Stay tuned for more on this topic in the coming weeks and in the meantime, maybe it’s time to brush up on or create that organizational professional conduct policy.

Have a great Monday, an even better week and of course, stay contagious!


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