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To have no idea how to have this conversation?

(99 Posts)
Chinnychinnychin Sun 15-May-16 21:19:28

I need to talk to my senior colleague about his attitude and in particular an awful comment he made in a meeting last week. We were discussing a very traumatic disclosure a client of ours had made, and that another member of staff had accompanied the client to give evidence at the place station. I said 'that must have been harrowing' and my senior colleague snorted and said 'harrowing? Irritating, more like'.
I was speechless with shock and fury. The meeting ended shortly thereafter and I left without confronting him.
Obviously I now need to go back tomorrow and explain to him that I cannot and will not tolerate comments like that but I am dreading it. I'm really intimidated by him and I know he's going to minimise and say it's my problem. Can anyone help me work out what to say or do? I'm shitting it but I can't do nothing.

HouseOfBiscuits Sun 15-May-16 21:38:55

Can you get someone else who was in the meeting to come with you?

AndTakeYourPenguinWithYou Sun 15-May-16 21:42:10

He's not allowed an opinion on how someone might feel in a given situation that doesnt match yours?
He didn't say anything about the client. He didn't say anything about their experience. He made a comment about the experience of the person who accompanies the client, which doesn't have to be as you want it to be.

Speechless with shock and fury? Way OTT. What would you do if he actually had made any negative comment, explode?
I don't think its up to you to tell a senior colleague that you won't tolerate him or his comments, he hasn;t said anything that anyone could complain about.

QuiteLikely5 Sun 15-May-16 21:44:05

It depends upon your profession imo.

If you are in SW or similar then yes this attitude needs to be challenged but if you are in a profession that is not a caring one then you should think twice about taking on the world iyswim as other people do have terrible attitudes but why would you want to take them on?

What will you gain ??

VimFuego101 Sun 15-May-16 21:44:09

With a comment as serious as that I would refer to HR or at least have them sit in/ guide you on what to do.

AtrociousCircumstance Sun 15-May-16 21:45:21

Do not have that conversation alone. You need HR in with you. Speak with them first.

Protect yourself.

DoreenLethal Sun 15-May-16 21:46:44

I need to talk to my senior colleague about his attitude and in particular an awful comment he made in a meeting last week.

Why do you? What are you hoping for out of this meeting?

Elle80 Sun 15-May-16 21:50:36

It's impossible to assess unless we know your profession

MadamDeathstare Sun 15-May-16 22:11:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PerspicaciaTick Sun 15-May-16 22:13:21

You felt that the accompanying colleague found the trip to the police station harrowing? And your senior colleague felt it was irritating? I can see that there is a huge mismatch between your opinions, but it is almost impossible to tell if being "speechless with shock and fury" is a reasonable response to that mismatch.

Cel982 Sun 15-May-16 22:21:15

I agree with others here that you need to tread carefully, this seems like an overreaction on your part.

Neither of you attended the police station with this client, is that correct? So you assumed that it must have been a harrowing task, which is fair enough; your senior colleague felt that in the same situation he would find it irritating. I agree that it's a rather unsympathetic thing to say under the circumstances, but that's about all he's guilty of. And he didn't say it to the client. So I'm not sure really on what grounds you can berate him. That he's not a very nice person?

I understand you being taken aback by his comment, but as you weren't able to address it there and then, I think revisiting it at this stage may land you in trouble.

Coconutty Sun 15-May-16 22:23:27

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

AndTakeYourPenguinWithYou Sun 15-May-16 22:29:14

If you are in SW or similar then yes this attitude needs to be challenged


Oysterbabe Sun 15-May-16 22:33:59

I don't see the issue.

TheDuchessOfArbroathsHat Sun 15-May-16 22:37:36

Do you have another job lined up?

NeedsAsockamnesty Sun 15-May-16 22:39:11


In any of the LA offices I worked in and my own office now comments like that in the work place or made on social media would be challenged and done so robustly.

Ridiculing or minimising a criminal matter or client disclousure even outside of the company of clients is unacceptable.

AndTakeYourPenguinWithYou Sun 15-May-16 22:44:11

Comments like what though? He didn't minimise or ridicule a client disclosure, he gave an opinion on the experience of accompanying someone. He is allowed to find that irritating.

It's all very thought police: you will not just behave as we tell you to, you will also think about it as we tell you to!

NeedsAsockamnesty Sun 15-May-16 22:48:58

Openly expressing that accompanying someone to the police station to support them through a disclousure is irritating.
If doing so is part of your professional role
Is minimising and unprofessional.

You can think what ever you want but should leave those sorts of comments for outside of the office and not in public

daisychain01 Sun 15-May-16 22:54:56

I'd pick your battles.

It was just someone's personal opinion. Why lock horns with a colleague over such an insignificant comment!?

sallyjane40 Sun 15-May-16 22:55:55

If he had said this to the client it would obviously have been rude (without knowing the full situation tho, it is hard to judge how seriously 'wrong' his reaction might be). But in a group of people who weren't directly involved, I agree with others posters, that this was just him expressing how he thinks he would feel, if he had been the one accompanying the client, and he's entitled to do that.

You will obviously note this reaction from him, and will probably like him less, as it sounds as if he is a very different character from you, but we often have to work with people who we don't especially like; I don't think it is for you (or HR) to reprimand him for feeling differently than you do, just as you wouldn't expect him to tell you how you should feel about things.

silverpenny Sun 15-May-16 22:59:19

Was he just saying it was irritating due to workload/resources of your department or whatever it is you work?

I think you should just let it drop - it was in a private meeting no member of public etc? Perhaps was having a bad day?

SilverBirchWithout Sun 15-May-16 23:10:04

Whatever you decide to do, don't assume (as a pp above suggested) that HR will be 'on your side'. HR's role is to ensure only that legislation and company rules are adhered to and in most cases will assume the role of being protective of the more senior member of staff.

The rights and wrongs of the disagreement between whether something was harrowing or irritating is perhaps irrelevant here, the snorting and disparaging tone towards you were rude and disrepective towards you in front of colleagues, which should be the main issue you have a right to be concerned about.

The question of being insensitive towards the colleague who accompanied the client, is a matter for that colleague to take forward, not you, unless you can be absolutely sure she was distressed by the way the senior manager handled it. In which case you could offer to support them if they wanted to make some sort of complaint.

WriteforFun1 Sun 15-May-16 23:15:59

I don't understand why you have to have this conversation
Also he is senior to you so surely if you feel this his comment was that bad, wouldn't you be better asking HR to deal with it?

EverySongbirdSays Sun 15-May-16 23:24:09

We need more specifics I'm afraid otherwise you just read like a member of the professionally offended, obviously this may not be the case depending on the context; your profession, his role, and the issue.

TrillKitten Sun 15-May-16 23:24:40

1) It isn't clear to me from the above if you and he were discussing your colleagues experience being harrowing, or your client's?

2) It isn't clear to me if you knew your colleague / client was distressed when you said "it must be" - perhaps they'd confided in you that they were distressed? Or whether you were assuming / projecting onto them because you would have been.

3) Without knowing your profession it is hard to judge how big a deal this was, but at the moment it seems like this guy might be a jerk.. but seems like a very big reaction to one person's insensitive comment? Is there a pattern of this stuff from the person in question, OP?

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