Standing Up for Your Employees

I made a no good, awful, terrible mistake at work. I was ashamed of myself. My job was in jeopardy. But when I told my boss about it, he didn’t fire me. Instead, he stood up for me, putting his own reputation on the line and defending me from criticism. It made a deep impression on me and strengthened my relationship with that person. 

Now that I’m the boss, it’s my obligation to support my people in this same way. Over the years, I’ve learned how to appropriately defend my employees. Whenever someone complains about someone on my team, it’s my fault. So when someone is being rude to someone who works for me, I must take the name-calling instead of them. 

Why Stand Up for Your People?

You show that you’re a leader worth following when you stand up for your people. It immediately creates confidence, commitment, and morale.

As a leader, you must support your people. You work for them.  

Loyal employees treat our customers better, and that increases profits for the company. When we support our employees appropriately, our customers experience a better experience. 

How to Stand Up for Your Workers?

Identifying when to stand up for others is essential. We shouldn’t do it when someone has done something unethical or just to win their favor. Here is a practical guide to standing up for employees. 

  1. Understand Your Values

It is vital that you know what you want to stand up for. These should follow your organization’s mission and values. If an associate severely breached the standards of the organization, how would you react?

2. Examine the Situation and Evaluate Risks

You may need to immediately speak up for someone. So you need to trust your judgment to make the best decision. It is best to analyze the situation before acting. Gather the facts about the situation. Have you taken the time to speak to everyone involved? Or are you relying on one side of the story? 

Then examine the performance. Does it violate the company’s values, the mission of the team, or impact the well-being of an individual? Also, analyze whether the person you’re defending has done all that she can to remedy the situation? Did she take responsibility for her conduct? Did she really do her best? 

3. Decide on Action

Once you’ve examined the circumstance, decide on what on your next step. So if you accept that your employee made an honest mistake or was justified in what she did, you might choose to fully defend her.

If you believe that your employee was in the wrong, you will need to take the blame and create a system that prevents further errors. You may need to defend both sides to the other to help them gain perspective.

4. Defend Appropriately

Choose your words before you say them. Explain why you’re supporting the employee and illustrate the steps they’re taking to correct the situation. If you’ve accepted blame for their misconduct as their supervisor, describe how you’re going to make sure it does not happen again.

You must keep a healthy working relationship with the person you’re standing up to, so it’s essential to remain diplomatic while being confident and empathetic. Talk calmly and clearly. Remain professional, even if the criticism is unjust.

The person you’re speaking to will likely express some unfair criticism about your employee. It’s essential to have a plan on responding. It is common to respond emotionally to unfair criticism, but this is also a career-limiting move. Manage the situation by prompting the critic to repeat the remarks and then interpret what you understand that to mean. You may find that the criticism is based on confusion or another perspective. In that situation, it will be difficult to resolve the matter. 

Tip 1:

Don’t just stand up for your favorite employees. Apply these standards to everyone, not just who you’re closest to on the team.

Tip 2:

When you defend your employees after they’ve made mistakes, make it clear that they must learn from the mistake and not let it happen again. 


Who will stand up for you if you don’t stand up for others? There will be opportunities for you to defend employees when they’ve made a mistake. When you defend them, it will increase the sense of loyalty to you. 

Stand up for your employees by:

  1. Knowing your values.
  2. Analyzing the situation and assessing risks.
  3. Deciding on the action.
  4. Defending appropriately.

Take steps to remedy the situation if the problem was created from poor performance. 

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