Bob’s Ok, He’s Just Weird

Flex MusclesAn executive recently complained to the superior of a fellow executive in the same company that Bob, not his real name, was often insubordinate, sat on people’s desks, flexed his muscles, and was a know-it-all. Bob’s boss replied, “Bob’s OK, he’s just weird.” The executive, a client of mine, relaying this story to me felt confused because she saw this person as being condescending, but yet couldn’t understand why she felt that way and so blamed herself. When I asked this executive if she would let her son speak to her that way, she replied, “Good grief, no!” Why is this situation any different?

It just so happens that my client has her eyes on the CEO position when the current CEO retires in a few years. If Bob’s behavior is allowed to continue, do you think he will stop just because this person is now the CEO? Bob will take great pride in his ability to talk to such a superior in this manner, belittle the now CEO, behind her back of course, and generally help lace the organization’s culture with this condescending behavior company wide. The behavior now becomes accepted and the norm. What’s a budding CEO to do?

First. Even current CEOs are guilty of allowing such behavior such as the CEO who allows one of his officers to constantly be engaged with his phone instead of the executive meeting. Realize that all of these are inappropriate behaviors. They ae all unprofessional and have no place in polite society – or your organization.

Second. When people make inappropriate remarks, simple begin by making a request. For example, in Bob’s case, he would say “Yes sir” to a female executive or “Aye, Aye ma’am” or “Yes ma’am.” in a condescending tone. Say something like, “Bob, my name is ________ and I would appreciate it if you would use it and stop saying “Aye, Aye ma’am.” Or “Bob, please don’t sit on my desk, I prefer that you either stand or use the chair there by the table.” Or, “When you take a seat in the chair by the door, we’ll begin our conversation.” Now document your request and if it doesn’t stop, proceed with sterner measures and continue doing so until Bob gets the message. If he doesn’t, then he can take his brand of sarcasm elsewhere.

Third. If you have aspirations to a higher positon, you must begin early to earn the respect you deserve and will need at the next level. It’s like the advice someone gives that goes like this: “Don’t dress for your current positon, dress for the next position.” If you don’t look, or act, like the positon you have your eye on, you won’t be considered for that position. If you do get the position, you will have no influence or power. So if you want to be a CEO – start acting like one! So should the CEO who allows the officer to be engaged on the phone during executive meetings. You can say something like, “Bob, I just want to be sure that we have your full attention to the meeting, so if you could just put the phone away, we’ll continue.”

Fourth: It is essential that you fully understand your organization’s disciplinary process. Furthermore, just because your organization has a more relaxed culture in no way gives permission for insubordination or inappropriate behavior. This includes female to male flirting and vice versa. Insubordination and sexual harassment happen in both lanes.

While our society may be loosening the strict behaviors of the Victorian era, it has not yet, nor should it ever stoop to insubordination, inappropriate, disrespectful, or unprofessional behavior. Respect and good manners never go out of style…and you shouldn’t let that happen. Bob isn’t just weird; he needs to be called on his behavior.

Thank you for reading this blog. If you would like to have a conversation around handling behaviors, call 404-320-7834, or visit, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Graphic Credit: Copyright: sorali

CEO, Behaviors,, career,