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to be really upset with colleague

(32 Posts)
rightsofwomen Fri 27-Jan-17 12:32:06

This all happened online as I work remotely.

Work discussion among whole group.
I feel one colleague is getting a bit aggressive in their tone.
I contact him personally and tell him and that he's making me feel defensive.
He then tells whole group what I told him and that it wasn't his intention.
I then contact him (upset) to say there was a reason I'd contacted him personally.
His reply is that he doesn't like the personal chats as they encourage gossip.

There is a history of me (and others) finding him bullish.
He used to be my boss and is the only person to have made me cry at work.

I'd rather talk to him about this in person, but can't.

SomethingBorrowed Fri 27-Jan-17 12:55:59

YANBU
Unspoken rule of group emails/chat at work is that you send a private message to someone if you are saying something personal/pointing out his mistake/criticizing something he has done - as long as it doesn't affect the general conversation

NarkyMcDinkyChops Fri 27-Jan-17 12:59:19

I contact him personally and tell him and that he's making me feel defensive

YABU. This was unprofessional. If you have a problem with something he said or did, you say so. You don't tell him how he's making you feel. It's not therapy, its work. Then you did it again.
And he has a point about messaging him privately when its a work group conversation. Why couldn't everyone hear what you had to say?

VeryBitchyRestingFace Fri 27-Jan-17 13:03:02

I think what you did was a bit unprofessional tbh.

What did the other group members say when he told them he hadn't intended to make anyone feel defensive?

CatAmongPigeons Fri 27-Jan-17 13:04:30

Hmmmm, I don't think this is an easy one. TBH, I can see both sides.

I think you have to allow for the fact that "tone" is hard to tell from an online discussion, if it's written communications.

Because if I were him, and not "intending" to offend someone, I'd find your individual comment to me - "behind the scenes" as it were - somewhat difficult - passive-aggressive perhaps.

I can see why he stopped it being between the 2 of you - although I think broadcasting it to the whole group was not ideal or productive behaviour. But if I were him, and contacted like that, I'd refer it to our mutual manager/boss.

Is he deliberately targeting you in front of the group? Is he picking out your responses, or your work in unreasonable way? Is he using unprofessional language - or language which is not the norm for the rest of the work group? is it that he's not using the usual social niceties to oil the wheels?

Because your post does suggest you might be a tad oversensitive. Although it's hard to tell - if he's deliberately aggressive & only to you, then you have a point. But if he's just generally aggressive, then it's a different matter.

WhatchaMaCalllit Fri 27-Jan-17 13:10:07

You say he used to be your boss - what is his function now in relation to you?

I think some are picking up on the point that you had a personal word with him about how he is interacting with you and how you are feeling in work as a result of his interaction. I think this is allowed and is not unprofessional.

For example - my manager has had a personal word with me in the past about how I worded emails (told me I was way too formal and to relax it a bit) and a couple of other bits and pieces, all work related. I didn't take this as a personal slight but some might have. I have since changed how I word emails as a result and am grateful to my manager for bringing this to my attention.
Good luck trying to get it sorted OP.

CatAmongPigeons Fri 27-Jan-17 13:25:21

my manager has had a personal word with me in the past about how I worded emails (told me I was way too formal and to relax it a bit)

But did your manager tell you how you made her feel ? I think this is what I'd have been a bit hohum about if a colleague privately messaged that to me.

I can't help how others feel ...

rightsofwomen Fri 27-Jan-17 13:31:22

Thanks. I'm going to hide this now. I banged the message out when cross and don't want to get into any more.

HarryPottersMagicWand Fri 27-Jan-17 13:37:15

So you didn't like the responses you received. May be that you are a tad oversensitive and you don't take any criticism at all. Can't be easy to work with someone like that.

CatAmongPigeons Fri 27-Jan-17 14:03:58

Rightsofwomen there's clearly something going on that is upsetting you. Can you think about what you would like your manager to change, to stop this? What outcome do you want - and can you work back from that.

But it would need to be specific and doable - not along the lines of you colleague changing his personality.

It's a tough one, but I think the fact that you've had mixed responses here - however uncomfortable for you - suggests that it's not a black & white right or wrong going on.

harderandharder2breathe Fri 27-Jan-17 14:13:11

So you're defensive and over sensitive in general then

There are people on my team that I find overbearing, negative etc and I would raise it with our mutual manager or just put up with it as I probably annoy them equally as much as they annoy me! I wouldn't message then privately to whine.

NarkyMcDinkyChops Fri 27-Jan-17 14:42:25

For example - my manager has had a personal word with me in the past about how I worded emails (told me I was way too formal and to relax it a bit) and a couple of other bits and pieces, all work related

Thats not at all the same thing. Your manager didn't tell you that your tone upset him and made him feel defensive. They commented on the facts of the matter and pointed out where to make changes.

Also OP is not this mans manager, so its doubly inappropriate.

HoHumming Fri 27-Jan-17 14:50:07

I would hate to get a private message from a work colleague telling me how I made someone feel.

If they have another issue and decide, it potentially looks like one of you can say it is bullying. Far better to have it out in the open so there are witnesses for both of you should things go further.

rightsofwomen Fri 27-Jan-17 15:01:36

I am facing my abusive ex in court next week. I probably shouldn't be at work at all.

barinatxe Fri 27-Jan-17 15:18:49

You're both unreasonable I'm afraid. He shouldn't make you feel this way but you have gone about tackling it in the wrong way. There is no reasonable expectation of privacy if you criticise someone - if you speak to him privately, he is perfectly within his rights to respond publicly. If you have a problem you should take it up with your manager or HR and let them handle it - but even in that case, unless you have specifically got him to agree not to discuss it with anyone else, there is nothing to prevent him telling other people.

Good luck in court next week. Court is a good illustration of my point actually - whatever you say in court is effectively public property, free for anyone to repeat or share, unless the judge specifically requires it (or the law does, as with the names of rape victims).

The right to discuss complaints made against one is very basic. Discussions are often needed to be able to make the case back. If you couldn't share the accusations you face, you would be left to mount your defence alone - you wouldn't even be able to tell someone why you looked as though you had something on your mind!

CatAmongPigeons Fri 27-Jan-17 15:30:07

Ahhhh OP that makes sense. And no, you probably shouldn't be at work - there's an entirely understandable sensitivity there. But your colleague is not your abusive ex.

misshelena Fri 27-Jan-17 15:43:28

Maybe your first private message to him made him realize that he may have come across aggressively to others as well. Maybe others have pointed out to him in the past that he can sometimes come across as aggressive when he is just being passionate about a point he is making. So he responded in the group so that everyone knows that he didn't intend to be aggressive. That's good outcome, no?

Bluntness100 Fri 27-Jan-17 15:48:07

You'd have to know someone very very well to message them and say they were aggressive and making you feel defensive, in a work environment in this on line context. I certainly wouldn't have done it, and to those colleagues I know very well and would consider friends, I'd simply message and say something like "you alright dude". It's very controlling to do as you did. This was not face to face.

You've also pretty much done the same on this thread with a knee jerk reaction as you don't like the responses. I don't think any of us know if this is because you are stressed due to court or if it's normal behaviour. Maybe you need to take some time out to yourself.

rookiemere Fri 27-Jan-17 15:55:57

In this scenario I don't think that the colleague had much option but to go public with the message so that he could do a sort of apology if his tone was misread or if he was being too abrupt.

That's not to say that you were wrong to call it out. I just think it would have been better done on the group chat, maybe by calling out that you felt the tone was getting a bit heated so could people chill out a bit, or better wording than that.

Totally appreciate that you're not in a good space at the minute, so maybe best to take some time out if you can.

shovetheholly Fri 27-Jan-17 15:56:08

I'm so sorry you're having a rough time. I think your reaction makes emotional sense given what you are going through, though I agree with PPS that handling it face-to-face and giving the guy time to explain might have been more helpful. But show me the person who hasn't sometimes misjudged tone or reacted defensively when they're having a rough time! When you've suffered so much from an overly assertive man, it's not surprising you are sensitive to this in the workplace.

I am sure you can put this behind you - it doesn't sound like anything a chat over a coffee couldn't solve. Good luck with the court date. Please be gentle to yourself.

haveacupoftea Fri 27-Jan-17 16:07:17

This isnt about your colleague so drop that asap.

You should take some time off.

dollydaydream114 Fri 27-Jan-17 16:33:58

I am facing my abusive ex in court next week. I probably shouldn't be at work at all.

I'm really sorry to hear this, and I think if you're having to get yourself psyched up for next week's court situation it's probably making it harder for you to deal with a slightly twattish colleague who is bullish and comes across as a bit aggressive.

It's also really hard to judge tone etc online when you work remotely and don't see your colleagues face to face. I work remotely quite often and sometimes conversations become awkward when they would probably have been fine face to face.

However, I also think your colleague overreacted to your message; he didn't need to share it with everyone in the group. When he did, though, I think you should have left it at that rather than messaging him again.

What's done is done and it will probably all be fine. Your bullish colleague will probably have forgotten all about it soon and you should try to do the same - work conflict is probably the last thing you need right now so save your strength and resolve for next week instead.

If your colleague causes you problems again, a polite phone call to your line manager to find out what they advise is probably the best course of action.

Good luck for your court appearance next week and I hope your abusive ex is well and truly out of your life soon.

allybally73 Fri 27-Jan-17 17:10:29

There's nothing wrong with the op telling her colleague that she felt his behaviour was aggressive, her feelings are entirely her own and if that is how she felt then that is entirely valid, she has simply expressed that SHE and possibly SHE alone felt his behaviour was aggressive, it's a feeling not a matter of fact. The op is simply asserting herself.

The fact the aggressor then went on to publically apologise suggests he was.

Again how the public apology was worded and possible sub text is obviously going to determine how it's received, If it's hinting that rightsofwomen is a delicate snowflake and agressivecolleague is doing his best not to upset sensitive lady colleague , or whether it was a genuine apology, we don't know because we haven't seen it, but the op is upset by the apology which suggests it was a bit of a dig at her, which again is not unreasonable to feel upset by, she's tried to be professional by approaching him privately and he's used it as an opportunity to promote his own agenda.

Unfortunately, I have worked with a lot of people like this, who will manipulate and twist often very mundane things into an opportunity for self promotion , so my viewpoint is slightly jaded.hmm

NarkyMcDinkyChops Fri 27-Jan-17 18:10:25

There's nothing wrong with the op telling her colleague that she felt his behaviour was aggressive, her feelings are entirely her own and if that is how she felt then that is entirely valid, she has simply expressed that SHE and possibly SHE alone felt his behaviour was aggressive, it's a feeling not a matter of fact. The op is simply asserting herself

In a relationship, or friendship, maybe. She was unprofessional and overstepped. You're right in one thing; her feelings are her own. They are not for anyone else to know about or deal with in a professional environment. That is not asserting yourself, that is complaining in an unprofessional way about your feelings being hurt.

NarkyMcDinkyChops Fri 27-Jan-17 18:10:25

There's nothing wrong with the op telling her colleague that she felt his behaviour was aggressive, her feelings are entirely her own and if that is how she felt then that is entirely valid, she has simply expressed that SHE and possibly SHE alone felt his behaviour was aggressive, it's a feeling not a matter of fact. The op is simply asserting herself

In a relationship, or friendship, maybe. She was unprofessional and overstepped. You're right in one thing; her feelings are her own. They are not for anyone else to know about or deal with in a professional environment. That is not asserting yourself, that is complaining in an unprofessional way about your feelings being hurt.

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