Q. My manager, “Sandra,” recently yelled at me in front of all my co-workers because I took too long to find some information. Sandra is often rude to employees and even threw one person out of her office. She’s very moody, so we never know what to expect from day to day.
I have considered reporting her to human resources, but I’m not sure if that would be a good idea. Sandra has been here for 25 years and gets along well with management. Also, I was previously given a verbal warning about my job performance, so I’m trying hard to be a model employee.
However, if I ignore this incident, I’m afraid that Sandra will do it again. Any suggestions?
A. You needn’t worry about whether she’ll do it again, because you know she will. Without any incentive to improve, Sandra is unlikely to abandon her abusive leadership style.
However, you are wise to hesitate before complaining. Taking on a well-established manager could be hazardous, especially after you’ve received a performance warning. If you make this a personal battle, you just might lose.
To reduce the risk, ask other humiliated colleagues to join you in going to HR. Avoid the spotlight by making someone else the spokesperson. Present several specific examples of employee mistreatment.
Q. My co-workers constantly ask me to assist them with simple problems. Whenever they encounter any minor difficulty, they dump it on me. This makes it hard to finish my own work.
My boss has been no help. When he talked to these people about handling their own problems, they told him that coming to me was faster. He immediately gave in and said we should just work it out among ourselves.
I’ll never be able to focus on my job unless I end these interruptions. How can I do that?
A. Since your wimpy boss has abdicated his management responsibilities, you need to develop your own plan, then tell him what you intend to do.
For example: “I’m glad to help with difficult issues, but people keep coming to me with simple things. I plan to show them how to solve these problems, then I expect them to work independently. I would appreciate your support on this.”
Ask your manager to approve the list of problems that you plan to delegate. Explain the new strategy to your co-workers, then teach them what they need to know.
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