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How to deal with dysfunctional people at work Logo aicpa

  Jennifer Wilson |   Free |   AICPA |   21 Feb 2017 |   CPA Insider

Is your organization disrupted by bullying or other damaging behaviors? This article shares 6 strategies for taking a stand.

Topics covered:
  • Management accounting: People: Influence, Intermediate
  • Management accounting: People: Communication, Intermediate
  • Employee benefit plan auditing: People: Influence, Intermediate
  • Employee benefit plan auditing: People: Communication, Intermediate
  • Governmental auditing: People: Influence, Intermediate
  • Governmental auditing: People: Communication, Intermediate
  • Financial accounting & reporting: People: Influence, Intermediate
  • Financial accounting & reporting: People: Communication, Intermediate
  • Assurance: People: Influence, Intermediate
  • Assurance: People: Communication, Intermediate
  • Not-for-profit: People: Influence, Intermediate
  • Not-for-profit: People: Communication, Intermediate
  • IT management & assurance: People: Influence, Intermediate
  • IT management & assurance: People: Communication, Intermediate
  • Firm practice management: Technical: Human capital, Intermediate
  • Firm practice management: People: Influence, Intermediate
  • Firm practice management: People: Communication, Intermediate
  • Tax: People: Influence, Intermediate
  • Tax: People: Communication, Intermediate
  • Forensic & valuation services: People: Influence, Intermediate
  • Forensic & valuation services: People: Communication, Intermediate
  • Fair value measurement: People: Influence, Intermediate
  • Fair value measurement: People: Communication, Intermediate
  • Personal financial planning: People: Influence, Intermediate
  • Personal financial planning: People: Communication, Intermediate

16 Comments/Reflections

Thozama Tshisa

Thozama Tshisa Apr 2020

Great articles about taking a stand and speak your mind at all costs.

This has been my way of doing things already, sometimes it lends me in hot water more especially when the dysfunctional person is my direct line manager and there's is not willing to accept fault or willingness to change, but the only way to deal with conflict is to address the issue with the person concerned.

After years of taking a stand with no change i have decided it's time to leave the organisation as i could not of-course keep quite but the very same time i cannot tolerate such behavior.  The articles gives me the assurance that i have dealt with this matter appropriately and will continue to follow such in both dealing dysfunctional employees and dealing with confirm,
Robert Hoffeldt

Robert Hoffeldt Feb 2020

Although the article was specific to a firm and its structures, I did find it interesting.

I would say that not all dysfunctional people are bad at their jobs and in most cases they are very good at what they do, but lack good communication or social skills. Key to remember when managing such people is to keep them focused, specifically in their own area and not allow them to drift as it is where they cross over to the grey areas where they affect other people most. 

In my experience you see that more regularly in longer serving people as they have been with company for a long time and talks in phrases off that is not how we used to do things. Key then for all involved is to keep focused in your role  and remember that effective communication is two way communication.

I would not like the fact that people gang up and come and say they have a problem with a specific individual. As the article say it could be seen as a group of people just not liking the person.
Damian Szczepanski

Damian Szczepanski Jan 2020

All of us in our professional life meet dysfunctional people. The article highlight possible methods to deal with this kind of people. However, I did not find a recipe for a situation with a dysfunctional person who is a very good specialist, job of this person is always done perfectly and input done by this person to the company is of large amount. Sometimes, behaviour of this kind of people is tolerated in the organization. Probably, there is no optimal solution for this kind of situations.
Kerry O'Sullivan

Kerry O'Sullivan Oct 2018

A useful article with some points for thought. At work I am a culture code advocate and part of this role is to call out poor behaviours and this article helped me to reflect on approaches to take
Zar-Phyu Nyeint

Zar-Phyu Nyeint Sep 2018

My past experience with dysfunctional people - so far I have dealt with them taking both approaches mentioned in article : (1) talk to them and bring up professionally what is the current issue -- I took this approach when the person in concern is in junior roles ; (2) talk to higher authority or another person (e.g. HR) --- I mostly took this approach if the person concern is level or tend to be very emotional, or higher than my rank -- this is like bringing in an intermediary.

Another useful knowledge I learnt from this article is that to make a research on similar cases, perhaps not identical but generic cases. Online research for reliable published articles are the fastest option to learn in a quick way, or for long-term and solid knowledge, find a good book on the topic.

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