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How do I deal with an incompetent assistant manager?

(3 Posts)
MarbleFox Fri 08-Jul-16 13:00:56

At the moment I work in retail as a sales assistant, I've been at my current position for just over a year. The company that owns the shop is fairly small and the shop itself is VERY small, it's so small that for the past year we've gotten by on just three members of staff; myself, another sales assistant and a manger. Given how small the shop and team of staff is it's somewhat vital we all get along or can at least tolerate one another but three months ago the manager hired an assistant manager who's a nightmare to work with. I spoke to the other sales assistant, she feels exactly the same way I do. In short, the problems are;
1. She's lazy, which I could live with if I didn't have to constantly to listen to her drawl on and on about how hard she works. I've never seen her do anything besides float around the shop floor or stand behind the till staring at the clock.
2. Takes credit for other peoples hard work.
3. Two-faced, bitchy and a bit of a bully. Despite it being REALLY unprofessional she constantly bitches about the other sales assistant to me, I'm certain she bitches about me to the other sales assistant and about both of us to the manager. She actually told me she's cut the other sales assistants overtime hours purely because she doesn't like her! I think that's very nasty and spiteful.
4. Lies. A lot. All the time, about really stupid things there's no need to lie about. It's gotten to the point I question everything that comes out of her mouth.
5. Talks about incredibly inappropriate and personal things at work, topics that make other people feel uncomfortable.
I could honestly go on and on! The problem is I feel I can't approach her for a chat about any of the problems because she comes across as so emotionally unstable, I have the feeling she'd either burst into tears or become so pissed off she'd cut my hours/make my work life a living hell. The manager is currently on holiday, she's back on Monday, how do I deal with this situation? I'm 21, this is my second job and I'm just so clueless and anxious. I'm really terrible at dealing with confrontation of any sort.

PlanBwastaken Fri 08-Jul-16 13:15:52

You don't deal with it. Sorry. In my experience, having this sort of conversation with people like her doesn't work.

What you can do that might work is highlighting to your manager what she does/doesn't do that directly affects your own job - i.e. "I keep having trouble managing to put the new stock out as I have to go up to the till to serve customers when Sarah is here, as she doesn't do it". Probably a rubbish example, but it's got the key elements:
A) It's about how she affects your ability to do your job
B) It's factual
C) You're asking for help with an issue, not complaining

Don't trust her, and don't engage - find something to do when she's bitching, and whatever you do don't participate. If you can get your other colleague to follow the approach above too it will be more effective - hopefully the manager will realize the assistant manager is useless.

Unfortunately, having been in this situation myself, she might be there to stay - in which case you will either need to develop selective hearing or move on. Sadly, the corporate world isn't fair, and you're not in a position where you can force her to change her behavior. It's much better for your mental help to accept that and not let it eat at you, take it from me...

Hopefully, it will become obvious that she's not pulling her weight and she will be let go. Unfortunately, getting rid of someone like that requires a lot of difficult conversations and a bit of backbone from their manager. Many managers will not be up to that and take the part of least resistance, which of course is counterproductive in the long run but easier today.

Sorry, it is shit - but the good news is that realising those things early on in your career will prevent you from getting stuck and bitter later.

Rosamund1 Tue 12-Jul-16 22:03:01

Excellent advice above. I often used to visit a website called www.notalwaysworking.com which is pretty much rants about incompetent employees, coworkers and managers. They are everywhere and this is a good opportunity for you to learn .

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