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Dysfunctional Team - Huge personality clashes - need strategy

(15 Posts)
gagafan Wed 12-Feb-14 21:05:06

Due to reorganisation at work I have been taken into an existing team with 2 others who seem to resent the fact that this has happened. We don't physically work together but have meetings every week or so. Every team meeting I feel that my position is being undermined and I feel belittled and bullied. A range of issues are usually brought up with the intention of making my contribution look inadequate. The senior manager is usually present at the meetings. I am also often kept out of the loop.

What strategies can I use to make sure I regain some sort of footing as I am feeling very demoralised. Anyone with any experience in this type of situation.

happygolucky0 Wed 12-Feb-14 22:26:57

Isn't there policies on bullying? Can't you talk to you manager about how its making you feel? Sometimes you just gave to push for what you believe is right. Take other people ideas on board but don't dismiss your own. Just stand your ground in a polite way.

gagafan Thu 13-Feb-14 17:31:42

Happy thanks for your comment. There are policies - not really looked into them at this stage. Did not really want to play the bullying card just yet. I was hoping that depending on how I dealt with it, I might be able to change things. I saw my manager this week, who has said that he had noticed the snide remarks. I said I would give it a few weeks to see if things improved with the 'team working', but feel it is down to me to react to negative comments in some constructive way.

pluCaChange Thu 13-Feb-14 18:19:59

There's no need to go with "bullying" at this stage, when there's a perfectly sensible point (complaint) to be made that your so-called team isn't working properly yet. Once they're explicitly instructed to information share and work together, any obstructiveness can be disciplined.

gagafan Thu 13-Feb-14 18:43:53

Thanks also plucachange. Still feel nervous about putting in a complaint. I don't know anyone that has been in this sort of situation.

gagafan Thu 13-Feb-14 19:23:23

Thanks also plucachange. Still feel nervous about putting in a complaint. I don't know anyone that has been in this sort of situation.

happygolucky0 Thu 13-Feb-14 20:46:31

It is tricky to help as dont know what is being said. Can you give an example?
If you want to deal with it yourself then I guess you have two options one is to ignore it. The other is to confront them and ask why they are using a tone that you feel isn't professional towards you and uncalled for.
I can tell you a story of mine if it would help. New person starts and is quite rude to me at times. I never gave her reason to be. When she was under pressure it would be me who got it. So one day before going home ( I picked this time as u was fed up with going home with work issues bothering me) . Anyway she totally lost her temper with me. Through a pen across the room and ended up crying to the manager of the shift when I said it was uncalled for the way she had been speaking to me that day to her.
Next day she wanted to say sorry and hoped we were alright. As from that day, she has never treated me like crap and has always been nice.

EBearhug Thu 13-Feb-14 21:26:31

The meetings you have, are they face-to-face, or are you all in physically different locations? I mean different office locations, rather than different parts of the same building. If you're in separate places, I'd suggest seeing if you can get a face-to-face meeting at some point, because that can make a big difference.

Otherwise, I'd go to my manager and say I feel we could improve our team work and collaboration, and make some proactive suggestions about how to improve it. Are there any projects or other work that can be managed in a way that would mean you have to collaborate?

Also, is there any way in which you can showcase your contributions at all? We have to do weekly reports, and I've been getting a lot better at mentioning specifics. So instead of, "Worked on some documentation," I will say something like, "Created 2 documents and updated 5 others," and give links to them. Even if you don't do regular reports, you can still communicate it - send round a mail to let people know there are new and updated documents, and where they can find them, if they want to review them. (Not a great example, but hopefully it gives some idea.)

It's possible they'd still pick holes in some of this, but if you keep doing it, it will build up a picture.

gagafan Fri 14-Feb-14 12:11:08

happy thanks again for your example, yes I think confrontation is the key, the passive responses are just not helping.

Really sick of being in this position and feel the way its making me feel.

Definately time to 'man up'.

Ebearhug. thanks also, I can see how that could work. I definately need to start being more specific - showcase my contribution which I can see will help my position greatly. I will be ready next time. Thanks again.

happygolucky0 Fri 21-Feb-14 14:32:56

Come back and let us know how it goes!

BerylStreep Fri 21-Feb-14 14:52:34

I had a colleague who did this - at the management meetings she would always announce my inadequacies - or dream up ideas which she thought it was my responsibility to do. I always felt a bit hi-jacked as she wouldn't speak to me about it beforehand.

I spoke to my boss about it, and once I had highlighted it, she started to notice it.

I had a range of responses, always in a calm manner, such as:

'Oh, that's the first I have heard of that'
'I don't recall us discussing that previously'
'it's certainly an idea which would benefit further discussion outside of this meeting - why don't you arrange some time in my diary for tomorrow to discuss in more detail?'

Basically anything that was going to close down the opportunity for her to have digs at me in front of an audience, sort of starved her of the oxygen of attention, and it also highlighted to everyone else that she wouldn't bother herself speaking to me directly.

Hope you get it sorted. Mine never did properly, but the strategies above helped me to manage it a bit more.

DustBunnyFarmer Fri 21-Feb-14 18:58:16

I was in a shit situation at work - arsehole manager behaving very rudely and unprofessionally towards me, often in public settings. I reflected on the advice I gave my son when he was having trouble with rough boys (classmates) in the playground. I said to him that he needed to tell the boys he didn't like their rough play and/or wasn't enjoying the game & that they needed to be more gentle. That would give them an opportunity to change their behaviour - they might not have realised he wasn't enjoying the game. Once he'd told them clearly it would remove all doubt. If they carried on then, take it to the playground supervisor or a teacher to get it sorted out, as they were definitely being unkind and not listening and no-one should have to put up with bad behaviour.

I'd say the same goes in work situations. You pull someone up about it - make sure you give explicit examples so they can see exactly what you dislike and are expecting them to change. I didn't even mention bullying. I focussed on the behaviour which was "inappropriate in a professional setting", actions that were not compliant with my organisation's HR policies on good management practice etc. You pick your moment and tackle it in very cool, dispassionate terms. If they carry on with the unprofessional, bullying behaviour regardless after you've set your boundaries and told them what you think constitutes bad behaviour, you need to escalate it but you will have already addressed the first action HR will advise & they will take you more seriously. In my case, my arsehole manager was really shocked to be confronted about his behaviour - on the back foot immediately. He also professed that he was completely unaware of the impact his behaviour and certain things he'd said were having on my team, was shocked to hear staff had interpreted one particular rangy bout in (perfectly logical) way. Twat.

On the whole I'd say that setting very clear boundaries with colleagues is helpful. Don't put up with any shit.

gagafan Fri 21-Feb-14 22:27:31

Beryl Streep I can relate to feeling highjacked that is just how it feels. No prior warning - my face must look an absolute picture at the time. I just realise this is a point scoring exercise for the benefit of the senior manager.

Thankyou for the strategies. I will be armed next time.

Dust Bunny just hope I can remain very cool and dispassionate in my actions, I realise that is the best most appropriate reaction to these sort of people, I certainly don't want her to think for one second her behaviour is having an impact - Thankyou for your example and advice and I will endeavour not to put up with any shit.

Squiffyagain Sat 22-Feb-14 01:48:16

Now your boss has noticed it, you can stamp it out very easily. Ask him to change the structure of the meeting and inform the team that you can only discuss items that have been raised in writing and distributed to all beforehand, in order to create a formal agenda for the meeting. It will firstly make them pause before submitting their aggression in writing, secondly it will provide a mass of evidence should you need to escalate at a later stage, thirdly it will make them look a little bit pathetic in your boss's eyes if they keep it up, and fourthly you won't be blindsided any more and can prepare your responses calmly, making them look foolish instead.

gagafan Sat 22-Feb-14 10:56:39

Squiffy. Thanks for your comment. Your new structure format sounds like it could be the solution to make them think twice and also provide me with more of an opportunity to ask more questions so as I won't be blindsided anymore by her. Definately worth a try.

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