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How to deal with arrogant and disrespectful auditees.

Occasionally, as auditors, we might come across different types of auditees. One of these types of auditees is an arrogant one!

Treat others the way you want to be treated

Personally, I find these auditees are few and far between but when they do pop up they are a challenge.

First off I want to remind everyone of the Golden Rule that we were all brought up with:
Treat others the way you would like to be treated

However, there is a platinum rule which is:
Treat others the way they want to be treated

We do have to remember this platinum rule when we are working with auditees. I'm not saying that we put up with abuse or being disrespected. So, stick with me.

I'm going to go right back to the beginning with this first. The reason why I might not find too many of these in my audits is because I 'blend in'. I sit at the lunch table and eat and drink with everyone. We talk about our families, holidays, and anything not to do with the audit. We get to know that each other is human. I find this a great way to get to know the personalities of all of the workers that I will potentially be interviewing during the audit.

Now, there are 2 words here. Arrogant and disrespectful - which I think need to be managed separately or in different ways initially.

An arrogant auditee - so this is an auditee that thinks they are pretty important and likes to throw their weight around a bit. That's ok. As auditors, we can use that arrogance quite easily. These auditees like to feel important. I use sentences like. I understand that you're the person to come to about XYZ OR I hear that you know all there is to know about XYZ and Can you help me to understand how XYZ works. They normally lap this up and are so keen to help because you've played into their strongest personal behaviour - DOMINANCE.

Now I know I've taken a leap with this as this is a person that I haven't met in the flesh, however using my DISC profile training normally a person that falls in the Dominance quadrant can be seen as arrogant. The best way to adapt your style - yes, you heard it right, we as auditors should adapt as per the platinum rule Treat others the way they want to be treated.

Some ways we can do this for a person that falls in the Dominance quadrant is to be:

  • - prepared and organised before we commence

  • - get to the point and be fast-paced. People in this quadrant don't like a slow pace and they get frustrated easily

  • - ask questions about what they want to accomplish, how they are motivated, and what they would like to change - they like to be the decision-makers.

These types of personalities have a fear of being taken advantage of and lacking control - so what do you think happens when an auditor rocks up at their desk? Their worst nightmare has arrived! That's why we as the auditor need to adapt our behaviour to see how best we can manage this fear.

I would suggest that the disrespectful element of this person’s behaviour comes from this fear, as well as why they are forever trying to dodge their way out. So, if you have implemented and tried all of the above methods to get 'the best' out of them and they are still disrespectful, honestly, as an auditor you do not have to put up with being treated this way. Any type of auditor, whether you are a 3rd party certification auditor, supplier auditor or an internal auditor. I would lay it out on the table at the Opening Meeting (if you're returning for another audit) or during an audit at a debrief with top management. You are there as an auditor to help them improve their system and work collaboratively so you need their workers to work with you also.

All for the same outcome - an improved system.

Jackie is a trained DISC Practitioner and can help you to understand your own profile as well as how to work well with other profiles. This is priceless knowledge as an auditor or consultant. Contact Jackie now to purchase your DISC profile and debrief session.