This is the employee that says all the right things to your face. But you keep hearing that the things he says when you’re not around are quite different. In your office, he tells you that he’s totally on board with the new direction that you’re leading the team, but behind your back he’s telling people it’s the most stupid idea he’s ever heard. You ask them for input during meetings and they stay silent, but around their buddies, they talk about how they would do things differently if they were in your shoes. She agrees to conduct business in the manner you ask her, but as soon as you walk away, she does whatever she pleases.
There are a number of reasons employees might behave this way, but there’s only one response to the behavior that is effective. You have to confront him. Do it discretely – in your office or a private space – but do it quickly. This is one of those behaviors that you don’t want to let continue for any length of time.
In your conversation, make it clear that you expect honesty from the people you work with. Explain to him that no-one wins when trust is lost in the workplace. Give him the opportunity to explain himself, but make it clear that there will be consequences if the behavior continues.
On a final note, if you notice that this is happening with a lot of your employees, you might want to shift your gaze a little closer to home. Sometimes this two-faced behavior can be a symptom that your employees feel you don’t always handle the truth very well.