I know I was BU, and anxious now. Tense conversation with boss...

(27 Posts)
Nicebucket Thu 21-Jan-16 23:29:38

Right, feel free to tell me I'm an idiot but I think I've had put my foot in mouth with my boss.

He's known to get very rude and tangential when stressed and he has a tendency to ask unrelated questions without fully understanding the issue - we all know what he's like. He's basically a nice person, but he can be a nightmare to work with sometimes.

He phoned me to ask me about an issue that's currently under my name. It's been escalated to another team because there's literally nothing more we can do with it. I'm juggling a lot of things at the moment so it's not always easy to have the minute details of every issue memorised, which is often what he expects. However when he phoned he was very rude and impatient and the conversation was a monologue where he'd ask an unrelated question and answer it himself. His analysis of the situation was completely inaccurate and it was going in a direction where I was getting blamed for lack of knowledge and effort.

In order to defend my position and to basically get a word in, I had to speak to him a bit firmly.

I raised my decibel slightly and my tone wasn't rude but it wasn't sweet either.

I got my point across in the end and we agreed a course of action.

However, I got messages fro people who'd overheard the phone call asking me who I was so upset with sad

I suppose I must have sounded rude and angry even though I didn't think I was?

It's my manager's manager we're talking about here, so I'm very nervous that I came across poorly and offended him ...

Any ideas for damage control?

I have been a bit short at work lately because I've had loads to deal with personally and professionally.

eastwest Thu 21-Jan-16 23:38:51

I think if you've agreed a course of action, I'd leave it at that. Don't go sending an apology or 'I hope i've not offended you' or anything. If anything you may well have made a good impression rather than a bad one, he may now see you as more professional and assertive and thus worthy of respect than he did at the start of the phone call.

outputgap Thu 21-Jan-16 23:41:10

Nah, don't worry. Blokes do this all the time. I only did it just as I was about to go on maternity leave and I was full of brilliant assertive hormones, but what a revelation. It was about time. Everyone was slack jawed but my own slightly unhinged boss actually was almost apologetic afterwards.

Keep silent now. Be strong! I got my point across in the end and we agreed a course of action.

grumpysquash2 Thu 21-Jan-16 23:43:21

Do the actions and then email him to say how well it's gone.
Win-win smile
Well done btw, I think you've achieved what a whole load of people would like to....

Nicebucket Thu 21-Jan-16 23:45:48

Ok, I won't apologise or anything yet.

I still need to follow up and give him updates on the course action we've agreed, so I'll try to keep that as congenial as possible.

I'm just worried I'm going to get a reputation at work! I've recently been asked to train two blokes who are incredibly lazy and uninterested so I've had to nag them and take a firm tone with them a few times as well. And I've been visibly stressed. I don't want to be perceived as the irritable, rude woman getting too big for her boots...

GiddyOnZackHunt Thu 21-Jan-16 23:51:25

Or the assertive woman stepping up to the mark and dealing firmly with people?

Nicebucket Thu 21-Jan-16 23:56:03

Hah! Suddenly feel better about myself.

I don't know if this is perhaps something we women agonise over more? It's certainly true that when men are firm, it's considered assertive and when women are firm or raises their voice a bit, we're considered bitches.

GiddyOnZackHunt Fri 22-Jan-16 00:04:12

Of course it is!
Sweeping generalisation obviously.

Allbymyselfagain Fri 22-Jan-16 00:04:42

Do not apologise. Has he apologised for being "rude and impatient and holding a monologue of a conversation with you?" Has he apologised for analysis in the situation wrongly and blaming you?

Sometimes you have to be firm. TBH if your he was a she then I'd think you worked for the same person I do. I've found firm, fair and not taking any shit is the only way to get respect from her!

Valentine2 Fri 22-Jan-16 00:15:40

Wait and watch. Try and get the feedback from your manager a few days from now and see if something has reacheed their ears. If not, all is well. If they have heard something significant, they will tell you. From now on, at least for the next few days, put in extra work if possible so your manager has something to defend you. Good luck

Littlef00t Fri 22-Jan-16 07:37:10

I don't know how you can say, 'no it's not like that, you've got it wrong' to someone who won't pause to let you, without being a bit assertive. It's fine!

CombineBananaFister Fri 22-Jan-16 07:46:27

You were firm, not rude. As long as no sweary words or personal insults were thrown I think you did an excellent job of it. Maybe you will get a rep for being a hardass but if its a fair hardass then there's no problem.

Leelu6 Fri 22-Jan-16 07:52:08

I think he will respect you for it.

CocktailQueen Fri 22-Jan-16 08:17:27

If you were a man, people wouldn't be commenting on it! Well done for standing up for yourself, being assertive and firm and not telling him walk all over you. And the crap trainees. No need for an apology!

Shirkingfromhome Fri 22-Jan-16 08:20:13

So your boss can be 'assertive' but if you mirror the behaviour you're bossy? I wouldn't give it a second thought, your reasons for being assertive on both counts (your boss and co-worker training issues) are entirely justifiable.

CheesyWeez Fri 22-Jan-16 08:27:18

He won't have noticed your tone, he was too busy talking to himself! He will have heard your point though. I don't think you've a problem with him. As for your colleagues who overheard, say you were talking to someone who was talking a lot and not listening and so you had to get your voice heard.

Jux Fri 22-Jan-16 08:30:45

It sounds like you are taking charge of your work and 'owning the responsibility', both of which are good things. You'll be the toast of the place before long.

Yes, people will respect you more. Your boss can now breathe easy because he will believe that you will do what has been agreed, just make sure that you keep him updated.

There's nothing wrong with getting a reputation for being firm.

SevenOfNineTrue Fri 22-Jan-16 08:38:12

You did the right thing. If you allow someone to talk to you like shit, they will keep doing so. Being firm, as long as you are not rude which it sounds like you were not, is perfectly acceptable.

averythinline Fri 22-Jan-16 08:39:02

Agree with cheesy...just do the agreed actions....
Maybe another time just say hold on I'll get the file and/or call you back to put a break in the monologue...my old manager did this to our v v v annoying senior manager ....really helped as took the wind out of the and resulted in less raised voices..
Although with the crap trainees I think you may need to be more assertive not less...if they are really being slack not just struggling then would suggest they found another job or pass on your feedback to them and their employing manager...
If someone's lazy in training maybe it's not the right job...it's very frustrating as a trainer and not much use for the company either to have lazy people... (Rant over)

Panadbois Fri 22-Jan-16 08:46:56

I've done this myself this week. Our boss had just come off the phone with my colleague, having patronised her for twenty minutes. I'm twice her age and I'm nt having him speak to me like that. Let's say I was very I was assertive for once. I came off the phone and did a super hero pose grin
I know I was being blunt with him but he shouldn't bully us!

MatildaTheCat Fri 22-Jan-16 08:58:05

So he's known to be rude and tangential yet got to be your manager's manager...food for thought? smile

Seriously, don't make a habit of being in the least bit rude, obviously but standing up for yourself whilst under fire and getting things agreed and moving forwards, that's actually a real result. Well done, you.

CheesyWeez Fri 22-Jan-16 09:07:38

Yay for assertiveness everyone! The menopause was great for me. I was much less doormat patient and stopped putting up with people's rubbish (especially men). It was an eye-opener. None of them even minded, they just did what I said. Amazing.

Sweetdreamsforall Fri 22-Jan-16 09:12:06

I think if you smile and be polite and friendly from here on then everything will be fine. You asserted yourself to your boss and that takes great confidence. Well done!

He should respect you for it and both of you move past it. If he holds a grudge against you then he's just one of those manager types that only took the job to be in the position of power and have everyone bend to his will. He shouldn't act differently toward you just because you held your own during a professional if somewhat heated debate. That's not good management.

Unfortunately almost every boss I've ever had has been a power tripper and you wouldn't dare say boo to a goose to them or ww3 would commence. That is not productive at all.

As for the trainees I would hold a meeting with them to discuss their attitudes and show them their current level of work is not meeting standards. Discuss what they can do to improve themselves, and involve them. Don't do all the talking as it will just feel like a lecture. Be friendly and positive but stay professional and firm. If they know how unhappy you are they might take more note. Let them know this is how they need to behave if they like their job, if you know what I mean....jobs aren't that easy to get and I do hate it when people don't feel thankful for the position and try to do their best. I don't get why some people think it's acceptable to be lazy in their workplace. confused

CheesyWeez Fri 22-Jan-16 09:12:29

Matilda star you're right - a great result, well done OP!
Come back and tell us when you've been promoted firmbucket Nicebucket flowers

MrsEricBana Fri 22-Jan-16 09:38:43

Sounds like you handled him very well. Agree just do the actions now and report back to him. He was probably impressed that you took charge.

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