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  • FIRST POST
    • w00519772
    • By w00519772 7th Jun 19, 5:37 PM
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    w00519772
    Problems with a colleague
    • #1
    • 7th Jun 19, 5:37 PM
    Problems with a colleague 7th Jun 19 at 5:37 PM
    We recruited a new member of staff nine months ago. She is ok at her job.

    I have worked in my current role for 12 years and am now a valued member of staff due to my technical ability. We have had problems with this member of staff because of her attitude. She is rude and disruptive to everyone. I am fed up of the number of complaints I am receiving from colleagues and customers. I am not her line manager.

    I find her difficult to work with and I work the most with her (in comparison to everyone else within the department). In deed many of my colleagues have said that they avoid her altogether (lucky them!). I spoke to my line manager (head of department) about this yesterday in my 121 and he said he will put her on report because he has also had complaints from many colleagues and customers.

    I believe this will happen within the next few weeks. Is there anything I need to do to "prepare" for this, bearing in mind that I work directly with this person. I have never been in this situation before and hence the reason for the question.

    I am a member of a trade union (for many years) if that makes any difference. Should I contact them? I would be very grateful to hear from others who were in my situation at some point.
Page 2
    • Smodlet
    • By Smodlet 14th Jun 19, 2:07 PM
    • 4,889 Posts
    • 8,301 Thanks
    Smodlet
    No reason. My manager has said he supports me. However, I have never been in this position before so exploring all options.
    Originally posted by w00519772
    "Your manager has said he supports you"... You know him, we don't.

    Is he the common-or-garden species of manager who is more than happy to let his reports stick their heads over the parapet while he lies low? This way he gets away with doing nothing and nothing can backfire on him while they (you) are shot down in flames?

    I recommend you grit your teeth and just wait until this individual has enough rope to hang herself or ask for a transfer to another department. Good luck.
    What is this life if, sweet wordsmith, we have no time to take the pith?
    Every stew starts with the first onion.
    I took it upon myself to investigate a trifle; it had custard, jelly, soggy sponge things...
    • w00519772
    • By w00519772 22nd Jul 19, 8:00 PM
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    w00519772
    Well, the saga continues. This employee was put on report, however continues to be difficult to work with. Just today, someone came in to speak to me because "she knew she wasn't around".

    Today I was asked by the head of department if things are improving. I tried to be diplomatic and said it has only been a few weeks since the employee was put on report, when I really want to day: "No, things are not improving". I was asked whether or not this employee is productive or not. Again, I wanted to be very critical, but I found myself being quite diplomatic saying give it time.

    I am the only person who can say whether this employee is up to scratch (because I have a very specialised role and am very experienced) and I find myself being very . I have never been in this position before , ever. Do I just let it rip and really vent out my frustrations?

    I would be very grateful to hear from others who were in this position and what you did. These days I worry what mood my colleague will be in rather than the complex work I have to do that day.
    Last edited by w00519772; 22-07-2019 at 8:03 PM.
    • Marcon
    • By Marcon 22nd Jul 19, 8:06 PM
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    Marcon
    Well, the saga continues. This employee was put on report, however continues to be difficult to work with. Just today, someone came in to speak to me because "she knew she wasn't around".

    Today I was asked by the head of department if things are improving. I tried to be diplomatic and said it has only been a few weeks since the employee was put on report, when I really want to day: "No, things are not improving". I was asked whether or not this employee is productive or not. Again, I wanted to be very critical, but I found myself being quite diplomatic saying give it time.

    I am the only person who can say whether this employee is up to scratch (because I have a very specialised role and am very experienced) and I find myself being very . I have never been in this position before , ever. Do I just let it rip and really vent out my frustrations?

    I would be very grateful to hear from others who were in this position and what you did. These days I worry what mood my colleague will be in rather than the complex work I have to do that day.
    Originally posted by w00519772
    Of course 'the saga' continues. What do you want to achieve? Shilly-shallying around and ducking the issue - which is what you're doing, albeit dressing it up as 'being diplomatic' - will get nowhere fast. How can your head of department help when you are so frightened of causing offence that you won't tell the truth?

    Don't 'let rip' - speak up before you get to that point. Your views will be taken far more seriously if you are calm (or as calm as you can be!) and objective.

    Until then, blame yourself for perpetuating the problem - because, sadly, that's what is happening and will go on happening until you speak up.
    • panika
    • By panika 23rd Jul 19, 3:40 AM
    • 138 Posts
    • 139 Thanks
    panika
    Well, the saga continues. This employee was put on report, however continues to be difficult to work with. Just today, someone came in to speak to me because "she knew she wasn't around".

    Today I was asked by the head of department if things are improving. I tried to be diplomatic and said it has only been a few weeks since the employee was put on report, when I really want to day: "No, things are not improving". I was asked whether or not this employee is productive or not. Again, I wanted to be very critical, but I found myself being quite diplomatic saying give it time.

    I am the only person who can say whether this employee is up to scratch (because I have a very specialised role and am very experienced) and I find myself being very . I have never been in this position before , ever. Do I just let it rip and really vent out my frustrations?

    I would be very grateful to hear from others who were in this position and what you did. These days I worry what mood my colleague will be in rather than the complex work I have to do that day.
    Originally posted by w00519772
    I think you may be more a problem for head your boss than your colleague. You have repeated on many occasions in this thread, how experienced and valued you are. I am not saying you are not, but you may come across as a person, who thinks is better than anyone else and your boss know you from that side. Bear in mind, that members of your team have to deal with your personality and this is taken into account.
    Second thing, anyone who works in engineering environment knows, that repairing and servicing complex machines very often involves lengthy tests or procedures, where the operator sets the device to self test or disinfection. These processes may take long time in which operator can go to toilet, do different smaller jobs in the background that's probably, why your colleague "wasn't around". As long as device is not a harm to other workers (doesn't have any live electricity parts exposed) it shouldn't be a big issue.
    There are two sides of every story. Just wanted to show you the other one...
    • KatrinaWaves
    • By KatrinaWaves 23rd Jul 19, 9:06 AM
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    KatrinaWaves
    My thought on reading the above is that this person might have symptoms of Asperger syndrome.



    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asperger_syndrome


    While this obviously at best a guess this might explain some of the issues.
    Originally posted by MoneySavingNovice
    That is a reach. There is no need to armchair diagnose someone with autism from those incredibly vague things which could apply to a million and one illnesses, or simply someone who is rude.
    • PasturesNew
    • By PasturesNew 23rd Jul 19, 9:17 AM
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    PasturesNew
    I would be interested to know what she has been doing/saying to be fair...

    Only because sometimes it is challenging to join an established team (12 years) if you aren't a complete personality fit. It can, on occasion, give rise to unfair treatment by the existing staff when they give them the "cold shoulder" etc. This can, in turn, exasperate the initial issue and give rise to a situation where the employee is "managed out" but framed to look like it was THEIR fault because they are getting frustrated. That's all despite them being "ok at her job" (you might be biased and lowered that assessment accordingly, so there's every chance she's BETTER than ok).
    Originally posted by Les79
    I'd agree with this.

    I'd want to know what she's done/doing exactly.

    Maybe she's not the one at fault here at all...

    Somebody's suggested Aspergers and, to be honest, I read this/am replying as I've got that. While I don't bang my head on the table, I can understand the level of frustration within a situation, or envioronment, that might lead one to do that.

    Behaviours tend to come from a loud/bright atmosphere, changing directions/instructions, being made to look like something was your fault and unclear/incomplete advice given when asked for clarification.

    What seems like a simple "change of tack" on a whim to one, can be a confusing "I wasn't doing it wrong when you elbowed me aside and made me look daft" to another. Being made to feel useless makes the frustration grow; when asking for clarification, being sent away with a further unclear instruction makes the frustration grow as "I asked, like you said; I didn't get an answer".... but, often, nobody's listening... so more frustration.

    If unable to gel with anybody, this would be covered by the "can't make friends" thing; I find I have absolutely nothing in common with anybody, with any of you - and therefore can't participate in social chit-chat at all and/or get instantly misunderstood and labelled "challenging" or rude.

    I'm not rude, "you're not listening and invented your own hidden agenda and made it all about how offended you are by something that was never said".
    Last edited by PasturesNew; 23-07-2019 at 9:25 AM.
    • k3lvc
    • By k3lvc 23rd Jul 19, 9:38 AM
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    k3lvc
    Out of interest what does 'on report' mean from your perspective ? Is it a defined process measuring tangible achievements reviewed on a regular basis or a looser 'threat' i.e. improve your attitude or we'll do a more formal process ?


    Given your difficulty in answering your Manager honestly I'm suspecting the latter which is where the problem lies. What are you expecting the employee to improve ? How will they know if they have improved ?
    • Dox
    • By Dox 23rd Jul 19, 4:12 PM
    • 1,617 Posts
    • 1,219 Thanks
    Dox
    Today I was asked by the head of department if things are improving. I tried to be diplomatic and said it has only been a few weeks since the employee was put on report, when I really want to day: "No, things are not improving". I was asked whether or not this employee is productive or not. Again, I wanted to be very critical, but I found myself being quite diplomatic saying give it time.
    Originally posted by w00519772
    You 'found yourself being quite diplomatic'. Why? What's the point of publicly moaning here about this person when you are being given the chance by your employer to tell it like it is, and then you choose not to? You are hardly giving your management any support if they do want to take action to improve things/get rid of her.
    • w00519772
    • By w00519772 23rd Jul 19, 7:30 PM
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    w00519772
    You 'found yourself being quite diplomatic'. Why? What's the point of publicly moaning here about this person when you are being given the chance by your employer to tell it like it is, and then you choose not to? You are hardly giving your management any support if they do want to take action to improve things/get rid of her.
    Originally posted by Dox
    I wouldn't say I am moaning. I am just asking for advice from people who were in this situation before.

    The point I am making is that everyone this person deals with has complained. The head of department said to me recently: "whenever I hear x's name it is never good". I have made my feelings clear in a diplomatic and assertive manner.

    We have had one other person similar to this in the department within the last ten years. The people she worked with were much more aggressive than I am and she ended up leaving (or was pushed - to be honest I don't know which one it was). I am wandering if I need to be more aggressive as perhaps that is what the head responds to.

    I believe I am an empathetic person (more than most). I have really tried to get on with this person to the extent that others have acknowledged this. However, there are good and bad days. Mostly bad.
    • Marcon
    • By Marcon 23rd Jul 19, 7:54 PM
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    Marcon
    I have made my feelings clear in a diplomatic and assertive manner.
    Originally posted by w00519772
    Not according to your own post you haven't. Reread post 22 and ask yourself if you come across as 'assertive' in any way.
    • Les79
    • By Les79 23rd Jul 19, 9:22 PM
    • 1,418 Posts
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    Les79
    I wouldn't say I am moaning. I am just asking for advice from people who were in this situation before.

    The point I am making is that everyone this person deals with has complained. The head of department said to me recently: "whenever I hear x's name it is never good". I have made my feelings clear in a diplomatic and assertive manner.

    We have had one other person similar to this in the department within the last ten years. The people she worked with were much more aggressive than I am and she ended up leaving (or was pushed - to be honest I don't know which one it was). I am wandering if I need to be more aggressive as perhaps that is what the head responds to.

    I believe I am an empathetic person (more than most). I have really tried to get on with this person to the extent that others have acknowledged this. However, there are good and bad days. Mostly bad.
    Originally posted by w00519772
    You are asking the questions, to be fair, so you do sound empathetic. It is clearly bothering you a bit.

    Personally, I think you've got a bit of a golden opportunity here to really grab the bull by the horns here and impress your bosses by solving a problem which they seem to be ducking out of (they've had the complaints and they aren't managing it).

    1. Sit down with your bosses and be frank about your concerns/frustrations. BUT if you have praise then be frank about that, too. [you could leave it at this stage and let the boss solve the issue]

    2. Maybe field the possibility of reducing your core work slightly so that you can offer them support whilst on report, IF you feel they have potential.

    3. Approach said employee and advise them of the concerns, BUT be frank about your praise as well and offer to help them whilst they are on report (an "olive branch").

    4. Report back to your bosses FACTUALLY as to the outcome of said coaching (or if they refuse).

    That's personally what I'd do here, would make me look like more of a leader-type person and it would potentially even get me out of doing some of my core work! Plus it *generally* works wonders to get someone's guard down.

    I have no idea how relevant this approach is to your situation but I'm just putting it out there as one possibility. Part of being "empathetic" is giving people the benefit of the doubt, but obviously not to the extent where you start lying about the situation so it is a balancing act. I'd say don't be "diplomatic", just be truthful and sincere to your convictions.
    • Marcon
    • By Marcon 24th Jul 19, 8:49 AM
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    Marcon
    Personally, I think you've got a bit of a golden opportunity here to really grab the bull by the horns here and impress your bosses by solving a problem which they seem to be ducking out of (they've had the complaints and they aren't managing it).

    3. Approach said employee and advise them of the concerns, BUT be frank about your praise as well and offer to help them whilst they are on report (an "olive branch").
    Originally posted by Les79
    How can they manage something when they have no concrete evidence to do so? OP is the one ducking the issue and failing to provide them with the information they need.

    OP is not the line manager. This sort of approach may be well meant, but also looks like meddling - and will certainly muddy the waters going forward.
    • Les79
    • By Les79 24th Jul 19, 8:37 PM
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    Les79
    How can they manage something when they have no concrete evidence to do so? OP is the one ducking the issue and failing to provide them with the information they need.

    OP is not the line manager. This sort of approach may be well meant, but also looks like meddling - and will certainly muddy the waters going forward.
    Originally posted by Marcon
    OP stated:

    I am the only person who can say whether this employee is up to scratch (because I have a very specialised role and am very experienced)
    (on a backdrop of the manager seemingly being on the fence over the whole issue)

    Which sounds to me like OP is falling just short of management responsibilities as of this moment. Perfect time, in my opinion, to take some initiative.

    If you don't agree then fair enough, the approach which doesn't involve "meddling" is also fine as well.
    • w00519772
    • By w00519772 19th Sep 19, 9:42 PM
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    w00519772
    I continue to have problems with my colleague. I mentioned it in my recent 121 and I was told that the head of department had received other similar reports.

    The head suggested that a mediator is brought in to mediate between my colleague and I. I find this a little bizarre. He said he wants to show the other person the effect her behaviour is having on me. I am a little reluctant to agree to this as I think it would be counter productive; introducing conflict in an already hostile environment. I would be grateful for thoughts.
    • Dox
    • By Dox 19th Sep 19, 10:09 PM
    • 1,617 Posts
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    Dox
    I continue to have problems with my colleague. I mentioned it in my recent 121 and I was told that the head of department had received other similar reports.

    The head suggested that a mediator is brought in to mediate between my colleague and I. I find this a little bizarre. He said he wants to show the other person the effect her behaviour is having on me. I am a little reluctant to agree to this as I think it would be counter productive; introducing conflict in an already hostile environment. I would be grateful for thoughts.
    Originally posted by w00519772
    I suspect they might also be trying to show you the effect your behaviour is having on her! Mediators aren't there to 'introduce conflict'; do a bit of googling and find out how they operate.

    Do you want the 'problem' solved or not?
    • Blatchford
    • By Blatchford 20th Sep 19, 6:46 AM
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    Blatchford
    I also think your managers don't see your colleague as the problem, but all of you as the problem. There is really no other reason for introducing a mediator. Mediators aren't for changing individuals, that what instructions are for.
    • NBLondon
    • By NBLondon 20th Sep 19, 8:03 AM
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    • 15,127 Thanks
    NBLondon
    I continue to have problems with my colleague. I mentioned it in my recent 121 and I was told that the head of department had received other similar reports.
    Originally posted by w00519772
    So this is the second time - and there are still complaints from others? Including customer complaints? As said above... tell the truth about her behaviour and the impact it has on you and on customers. If it has improved - but not enough - say that.

    Are you perhaps the best person to comment on her technical performance of the job? So the management think you can fix the other issues as well?

    Mediator does sound a bit of a strange approach. if customers are complaining about this person's behaviour - then the line management should really be tackling that first. But if Head of Dept wants to go down that route - be positive - try a stance of "Maybe that will help XXX change her approach with ALL of us and customers too" to make it clear that it's not just a problem for you.
    "I spent a lot of money on booze, birds and fast cars. The rest I just squandered."
    • Marcon
    • By Marcon 20th Sep 19, 8:28 AM
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    Marcon
    Do you want the 'problem' solved or not?
    Originally posted by Dox
    Clearly not, or OP would be willing to co-operate with what appears to be a very sensible suggestion.

    Sometimes having a 'problem' is more important to an individual than the problem being solved. Perhaps OP needs to think hard about why having a problem colleague is better than not having a problem colleague...or is OP in fact the problem?
    • JohnDorian
    • By JohnDorian 20th Sep 19, 8:55 AM
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    JohnDorian
    I think you are reading this wrong. You're coming at it from the angle if the newcomer is a trouble maker and I have been here for 12 years so know right. Your management don't see it that way as mediators aren't really brought in to solve a one way problem. They see the problem as two way, i.e. you and the colleague. Looks like she has hit back with feedback about you which now makes management believe you are part of the problem and hence the mediator.
    • nicechap
    • By nicechap 20th Sep 19, 10:29 AM
    • 1,867 Posts
    • 3,272 Thanks
    nicechap
    I continue to have problems with my colleague. I mentioned it in my recent 121 and I was told that the head of department had received other similar reports.

    The head suggested that a mediator is brought in to mediate between my colleague and I. I find this a little bizarre. He said he wants to show the other person the effect her behaviour is having on me. I am a little reluctant to agree to this as I think it would be counter productive; introducing conflict in an already hostile environment. I would be grateful for thoughts.
    Originally posted by w00519772
    And therein lies why your manager/ Head of Department have suggested it. You are not open to new ideas/ outside views, and this is affecting your behaviour to your colleague.

    There must be a reason why management want you both there - but if the problem becomes too disruptive to the aims of the business, you may not like their next step(s).
    Originally Posted by shortcrust
    "Contact the Ministry of Fairness....If sufficient evidence of unfairness is discovered you’ll get an apology, a permanent contract with backdated benefits, a ‘Let’s Make it Fair!’ tshirt and mug, and those guilty of unfairness will be sent on a Fairness Awareness course."
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