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How to tell line manager i felt she was unreasonable?

(7 Posts)
Playthegameout Thu 14-Jan-16 09:14:27

We had a department meeting on Tuesday. Our line manager spoke for about 5 minutes then asked if there was anything else. Recently a long standing member of our team lost her mum very suddenly. A few of us have individually sent condolences, but as yet there has been no contact from the school itself. It is commonplace that, in these circumstances (or other major life event e.g. birth of child), the line manager would organise flowers and a card. Our school has undergone a period of change recently and it was assumed,(by myself and other colleagues),
that in the business of the period, the condolence message from school had been overlooked.

Somehow I have become the unofficial spokesperson for our team, probably because I'm used to speaking in meetings. I was asked by others in my dept to ask about the condolences for our colleague.

When the line manager asked of there was anything else, I raised my hand then asked "We were just wondering about the condolences for x?" Line manager said "I know nothing about it." I said, ok no worries , would you like us to put a card etc together?" Line manager said "i just said i know nothing about it, I've only been here a year." I apologised and explained it's usually organised via line managers. She then put her hand up to silence me and shouted "we dont need this. You go off talking about things, people get angry. I don't need it."

She then walked out. My remaining colleagues were all pretty shocked and one joked,"Well, you got told!" Others made comments about her reaction being over the top. She didn't speak to me for the rest of the day.

I don't work on Wednesday or Thursday. When I got home I asked my husband about it. He is a line manager in a different industry and thinks she was defensive, because she knew she should've arranged something, but didn't and was embarrassed I brought it up. I know she will probably come to see me and say I was out of order. But I felt the way she shouted was very humiliating and disproportionate. I want to be able to express this but I'm not sure how. I don't want to make the situation worse but I do feel it was unfair. Dh said i should "tell her straight" but she is quite an emotional person and cried the last time one of our team disagreed with her.

MrsChrisPratt Thu 14-Jan-16 12:37:43

To be fair, if you have all been whispering behind her back and then brought it up in the team meeting, that's not the best way to go about it. If she's only been there a year and not dealt with similar before she may not know this is the done thing. Why didn't one of you helpfully say whennit happened 'usually we arrange xyz when this happens', then there would have been no issue. No need for the whispering or confrontation. Why are you the team mouthpiece? Can others not speak to the manager? You sound like a difficult team to manage to be honest.

MrFMercury Thu 14-Jan-16 12:41:21

Only been there a year? She's been a human being for longer I presume? Sending a condolence card is just a kindness surely?

ShatnersBassoon Thu 14-Jan-16 12:46:13

I think it sounds like you wilfully let her fail, then waited until there was an audience to point out her failing. Why not have a quiet word with her as soon as you could have done? She didn't know the routine.

She shouldn't have got so angry, but I can understand why she felt cross and silly.

insancerre Thu 14-Jan-16 12:46:51

I feel sorry for her
You obviously made her feel inadequate
Maybe she doesn't handle death very well. Maybe she is recently bereaved

ShatnersBassoon Thu 14-Jan-16 12:48:00

Who says she didn't send a personal message, like everyone else seemingly did? It's only the message from work as a whole that wasn't organised.

Playthegameout Thu 14-Jan-16 14:37:16

Ok to be clear no one whispered. I only knew about it when I returned to work on Monday. The lady berreaved was visited by another member of the team at weekend and she told her nothing came from the school. I'm the most senior member of the team so team messages come from me, this has worked fine ,everyone including line manager was happy with this. I had tried to see her prior to the team meeting but she was busy.

We are a difficult team, we are all individually heads of our own areas, most of us are longer into our careers than line manager. So I agree it's no mean feat.

Its an extremely commonplace and regular event (every milestone birthday, every birth, wedding etc) for a token to be arranged from school. It's not new or irregular and it happens maybe 5 - 6 times a year, but I accept she might not be aware.

I was very polite and apologised straight away. The insinuation that we had all chatted about it was completely incorrect, as a team we work all over the school so it was basically a passing comment on the way in. People did speak about her shouting and raising her hand after she walked out of the room. I wanted to clear the air but she ignored me all day.

No one is perfect, I don't mind saying I should have waited for a different time and it's really unfortunate if she felt I'd tried to show her up. I'm not great with bereavement either. Mt dad died a few years ago and I'm about to lose my mum by the look of things.

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