Constructive Challenge 


Many years ago, while working for a cable manufacturing company in the UK, I was among the 20 staff selected to attend a management development course. I found the course tough going as I struggled with some of the role playing exercises. I wasn’t particularly fond of my course tutor. I was clearly out of my comfort zone! I became an apprehensive and stressed individual. I didn’t know who to turn to or how to ask for help.

The experience I have outlined is an example of disconnect between an employee and their employer. Unfortunately, this happens all too often. Let us turn our attention to discussing potential solutions.

Potential Solutions


(1) The Employee Resigns

One option available to an employee when faced with the above issue is to resign. By resigning the employee is running away from the issue. The same issue could arise with another employer. They are also foregoing the opportunity to learn valuable skills, and to gain promotion further down the line. I would not recommend this course of action.



(2) The Employer Terminates the Employees Employment

An employer can terminate an employee’s employment by way of dismissal or redundancy.

To dismiss an employee, the employer must prove fair grounds for dismissal. The employer will need to take the employee through a formal procedure. If an employee has worked for 13 or more weeks, they are entitled to a statutory minimum period of notice. For more information on dismissal click here.

To qualify for redundancy payment an employee must be over 16 years of age and paying class A PRSI. The employee needs to be in continuous employment with the employer for a minimum of 104 weeks. Their job must cease to exist. For more information on redundancy click here.

Note. Employers must act reasonably when dismissing an employee in a redundancy situation. The employer must consult with the person in question beforehand and consider possible alternatives. If an employer makes a reasonable offer of alternative work, and the employee refuses it, they could lose their entitlement to a redundancy payment.

Dismissal or redundancy should be a last resort in situations where there is disconnect between an employee and their employer.



(3) The Employee and Employer Collaborate to Find a Solution

This solution will take time and effort. It will also require patience on the part of both the employee and employer.

The employee should take the following steps before approaching their manager. Firstly, the employee needs to be clear in their in own mind what issues they have. They need to rise above the situation and take ego out of the equation.

Secondly, the employee needs to practice what they are going to say. Avoid getting over emotional, or sugar coating the issue.

Thirdly, the employee needs to consider how they are going to approach their manager. If the manager in question is a dominant personality, consider approaching them through a trusted intermediary.

If you are confident enough to approach your manager yourself, clearly state why you want to talk to them. Give them options in terms of meeting dates & times. Be reassuring. Let them know you are aware of an ongoing issue, and that you are willing to collaborate to achieve a win-win solution.

As a manager, what role should you have in overcoming a disconnect with one of your employees? Aside from having an open door, encourage the employee to bring potential solutions to the table or have one ready yourself. Listen to what the employee is saying. Consider giving some ground in negotiations to win the employee’s trust.

If the employee and manager are genuine in their attempts to achieve a collaborative solution, both parties should be prepared to give a little ground.


If you are an employee or employer who is struggling to embrace a constructive challenge, I can empathise with you. If you would like to talk to me, please contact me. My contact details are on this page. Any personal information you share will remain strictly confidential.

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