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AIBU to be tired of workplace cowards

(23 Posts)
BlingLoving Tue 12-Mar-19 10:57:08

Argh. I have been on a call this morning with a colleague and a client. LOTS of chat beforehand with colleague about how most recent piece of work went well, but would have been a lot better if a, b and c had happened and if we'd been able to get these things from the client. Absolute commitment from the colleague that he's going to tell the client this because we need to make sure it doesn't happen again....

..... on the call. Does a single comment get made? NOT ONE. Obviously, I am not suggesting he should be ranting to her that she's useless, but explaining the genuine challenges that made this impossible would allow us to FIX them in the future.

And I've seen this time and time again. I worked with a woman who had this problem all the time. She couldn't tell anyone when there was a problem, and the result was that she started to be seen as incompetent. She'd rant to me that she couldn't get results with what she'd been given but then say to the client, "great, we'll work on that".

Obviously, telling the clients they're idiots is not what i'm suggesting. But honest communication and feedback would make life so much easier.

And you know how I know I'm right? Almost all of my clients are long term. I tell them when I need different things to get work done. I also tell them when I've realised that if I do x or y myself it will work better. I don't tell them everything is fine while simultaneously not delivering.

ARGH. Am just annoyed.

Sarcelle Tue 12-Mar-19 11:08:14

Some people just don't do confrontation and even the mild feedback type causes them angst.

They usually rely on others to fire the bullets...

BlingLoving Tue 12-Mar-19 11:28:31

I know. But it's so counterproductive. It needs to be done nicely. It also needs to be done in a way that doesn't make it look like you're trying to shift responsibility. But...!

I am just annoyed about it. Especially as this particular thing destroyed my week last week.

Deadbydaylight Tue 12-Mar-19 11:53:42

Fully get what you mean.

A colleague and myself got put onto a call by our boss (much higher than us) to see what a piece of work was about. He basically wanted us to accept it without him making us do it for some reason, think he knew we hated him.

Anyway the person explained the work, and legally we weren't even allowed to do it. Nor did we have the time for it. But my stupid colleague starts agreeing to take it, so I interrupt and state in no circumstances will we be doing it and why. Sent the person running in the opposite direction.

Other people can get themselves into legal troubles if they want. They won't drag me into it.

Waveysnail Tue 12-Mar-19 12:01:26

Could you put what you had talked about in an email, discussing what could be completely differently in future and send to both people

BlingLoving Tue 12-Mar-19 12:29:42

Unfortunately, due to the nature of the relationships, I can't step in at all in these situations.

In other situations in previous roles or with different clients, absolutely I have and can and do step in. which is probably partly where my frustration comes from - I know what needs to be say, I'm perfectly capable of saying it but I cannot do so.

I think it's more a general frustration as well though. I'm so tired of people in all areas of life who can't just say what they think. There was a hilarious thread a few weeks ago about a woman who thought her new friend was rude. It turned out she was german and just direct. But from the start, I thought that the friend sounded great - honest. Sigh.

JenniferJareau Tue 12-Mar-19 12:33:51

Lots of people simply don't have the ability to put across potentially thorny issues in the right way. They either say nothing or blunder in and cause upset.

BlingLoving Tue 12-Mar-19 12:43:00

true. And some are just so scared of confrontation they won't do it. even though it's causing more grief. Sigh.

Sarcelle Tue 12-Mar-19 12:49:20

I have spent my working life being bad cop because colleagues cannot step up and say what needs to be said. The result, I get things changed, done completed - but they get the promotions. People like amenable and compliant people rather than pragmatic ones. It is less challenging to the ego. If I was starting again I would learn to sit on the fence. A splinter in the arse is more comfortable than some of the crap I have had to deal with!

SpenglerOswald Tue 12-Mar-19 12:52:03

Unfortunately, due to the nature of the relationships, I can't step in at all in these situations. Sounds like something a “workplace coward” would say.

Hadalifeonce Tue 12-Mar-19 13:04:47

Someone I work for is owed thousands, and is constantly belly aching to me about it; I have offered to escalate the matter, but he is too scared to even let me do that.

BlingLoving Tue 12-Mar-19 13:04:48

No @spenglerOswald, that's just not true. but my role in these conversations IS clearly defined, and a big part of it is that the relationship with the client sits with my colleague. I'm just there as the "hired help". When it's MY clients, things are very different.

HundredMilesAnHour Tue 12-Mar-19 13:07:59

I have spent my working life being bad cop because colleagues cannot step up and say what needs to be said. The result, I get things changed, done completed - but they get the promotions. People like amenable and compliant people rather than pragmatic ones.

This!

In my last two jobs, I have worked with so many cowards who never speak up (but they're very good at moaning behind people's backs). It's really frustrating. Whereas I seem to be genetically pre-disposed to speaking up. I blame my mother. wink A recent colleague called me "a force of nature". He meant it as a compliment but I know it also means I scare the sh*t out of some people as I get things done and not everyone likes that.

Sometimes people just want things to fail quietly so they can all slink away and point fingers at each other. Not my style I'm afraid. I refer to myself as a 'boat rocker'. I am incapable of standing back quietly and letting things fail even if/when it means 'rocking the boat'. As I've got older, I've learnt to embrace my inner boat rocker. It means that at work, if you're results-driven you will probably adore me. Whereas if you want a quiet life and just to take your salary and go home, I'm probably your worst nightmare. I try to choose my roles/employers accordingly.

SpenglerOswald Tue 12-Mar-19 13:29:10

that's just not true. but my role in these conversations IS clearly defined, and a big part of it is that the relationship with the client sits with my colleague. I'm just there as the "hired help" covering up your hypocrisy with corporate jargon.

That being said when you go into a work place you need to quickly work out what the expectations (these are often different to the ones in the job description) meet them and you’ll go far. It’s beyond me why people martyr themselves and damage their own progression by “rocking the boat” (I.e annoying their colleagues by being self righteous) to “get things done” (usually trying to force the rest of the work place to fit in with their expectations).

HundredMilesAnHour Tue 12-Mar-19 13:33:05

It’s beyond me why people martyr themselves and damage their own progression by “rocking the boat” (I.e annoying their colleagues by being self righteous) to “get things done” (usually trying to force the rest of the work place to fit in with their expectations).

Perhaps these people are actually doing the job they get paid to do. But don't let that get in the way of you jumping to huge conclusions.

SpenglerOswald Tue 12-Mar-19 13:50:44

Perhaps these people are actually doing the job they get paid to do. But don't let that get in the way of you jumping to huge conclusions. I’ve experienced people like this and generally they don’t achieve much apart from antagonising people.

Oblomov19 Tue 12-Mar-19 14:01:21

"Antagonising people"? shock

TheLastNigel Tue 12-Mar-19 14:13:19

Yep.I've never experienced this before how really but the new director at my work is a bully and at times doesn't seem to know what he's doing. People have been in tears at the way they are spoken to and up in Arms about some of the things they've been asked to do. But not one person except me will even try to reason with him.(which seems to have got me on his shit list, despite the fact that I've been very professional when I've raised questions). It's really made me realise just how scared people can be at work. Some of the things we're being asked to do are putting vulnerable people at risk-and so I can't just let it slide-but everyone else is! Infuriating!

JenniferJareau Tue 12-Mar-19 18:54:11

All the colleague had to do was frame it in a positive way.

"I'd like to review the project and look at what we did well and what we could do better next time. Are you up for that?"

Jamiefraserskilt Wed 13-Mar-19 08:24:15

It's about managing your client's expectations.
So many account managers find it hard to manage clients and allow the client to manage them. This leads to frustration on both sides. We all want to accommodate their needs but they have to beto be realistic and achievable

ReanimatedSGB Wed 13-Mar-19 08:28:41

Maybe some of these 'cowardly' colleagues are scared of, you know, being fired and therefore potentially losing their income and maybe their homes. Those who 'stand up for themselves' usually have some sort of safety net should they get the boot for their attitude, whether that's plenty of savings, highly desirable skills or a partner who can afford to support them for a bit. Not everyone has a back up plan.

Sarcelle Wed 13-Mar-19 08:53:08

Or maybe some of the cowardly colleagues sit back and let others fire the bullets so they keep their hands clean.

BlingLoving Wed 13-Mar-19 09:57:34

@jenniferjareau - YES! Exactly. I'm certainly not advocating slamming the client as an idiot! It's about improving and ...

@jamiefraserskilt I agree completely. The client needs to have expectations managed. Years and years ago when I was very junior, I had a boss with a very demanding client who made unreasonable demands. But she never told him that. He would demand something, she'd promise to deliver, she'd fail. Needless to say, we lost the account. While actually, I was pretty sure that if she'd said no, AND offered an alternative, he'd have gone for it.

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