How to Handle an Employee Who Ignores the Chain of Command

Estimated reading time: 3 mins

The chain of command is an important structural element in the workplace. It helps ensure that tasks are completed thoroughly and efficiently, and that communication flows freely between workers, supervisors, and management. When an employee ignores the chain of command, it can have serious repercussions for both the individual and their organization. This article will discuss how to handle an employee who ignores the chain of command in order to foster a productive work environment.

The first step is to understand why the employee is ignoring the chain of command. Generally speaking, people ignore the chain of command because they feel their contributions are not valued or respected by their superiors or peers. They may also be trying to avoid responsibility for a project or task, or attempting to gain influence or recognition by taking a shortcut instead of following proper procedure. By understanding why they are ignoring it, you can better address the issue in a constructive manner.

Once you have identified why they are ignoring it, you should attempt to resolve any underlying issues that might be causing them difficulty with regards to following protocol. This could involve having one-on-one discussions with them about how they perceive their role within their team and organization as a whole; exploring any grievances they may have; and providing support if necessary (e.g., mentorship). It is also important that employees understand what is expected from them within your organization’s hierarchy – this can help ensure that everyone understands where responsibilities lie so there is no confusion about who should be doing what tasks or making decisions on behalf of others.

If attempts at resolution fail, then disciplinary action may be necessary in some cases – although this should always be handled delicately as it can lead to long-term resentment from employees if not handled correctly. Depending on your organizational policies, disciplinary action could range from verbal warnings (which should include a clear explanation about why such behaviour is unacceptable) through to suspension without pay if more serious infractions occur (such as deliberately undermining authority figures). You should always document any warnings given and explain clearly what consequences will result from further disregards for protocol before initiating disciplinary procedures so that everyone involved understands what might happen next if certain behaviours continue unchecked.

It’s also worth noting that there may be other ways besides disciplinary action which could help manage someone who ignores the chain of command – for example, providing additional training on how procedures work within your organization; encouraging dialogue between different teams and departments; introducing incentives for following protocol; creating specific roles which focus on ensuring processes are followed correctly; implementing reward systems which recognize good behaviour; and setting clear expectations at regular intervals throughout projects/tasks/etc.. All these measures can help encourage people to adhere more closely to protocols without resorting solely to punitive measures every time someone fails follow instructions correctly (which could end up having detrimental effects over time).

Finally, prevention is always better than cure when it comes to managing employees who ignore the chain of command – so organizations must take steps early on in order ensure everyone understands what procedures need followed (and why) right from day one! This includes providing clear job descriptions which outline duties/responsibilities along with expectations around how tasks/projects must completed; introducing appropriate induction processes which explain organizational hierarchies clearly before any work begins; offering ongoing training courses which focus specifically on protocols related directly job roles/tasks assigned individuals etc. Being proactive rather than reactive when it comes maintaining standards workplace conduct will go long way towards ensuring everyone knows exactly what expected from them– no matter their position within company structure!

In conclusion, handling an employee who ignores the chain of command requires addressing underlying issues first before considering taking punitive measures such as verbal warnings or suspension without pay in more serious cases – but preventative measures such as training courses & job descriptions outlining expectations must also taken into account order maintain high standards across organisation long term!


  1. Deshpande S., Goyal A., Tiwari M., Gupta R., 2019 ‘Employee Motivation: A Study Of Causes And Effects’ International Journal Of Research In Business & Social Science 8(2): 47-64
  2. Robinson B., 2017 ‘How To Handle An Employees Who Ignores The Chain Of Command’ HR Daily Advisor

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