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Am I being bullied?

(18 Posts)
ILoveAGoodBrusselSprout Wed 25-Jan-17 16:27:12

I work in a professional role in a project environment but do not have people management responsibility (more process management but it's difficult to explain).

I held a responsible position for 8 years where I was fairly autonomous, trusted and reported to a senior manager. Predictably, the role changed as the project I was working on ended and I now find myself in a difficult position.

I now work for a manager who holds the type of role I did (her role is more senior to the one I held but it's along the same lines, i.e. she manages and is responsible for an entire process).

Although not friends, she and I have been friendly for many years but this is the first time I have worked for her. I know she likes me and respects the work I do - she actively pursued me for the role. I should also say that she has given me excellent feedback in appraisals.

However, since working for her I have become increasingly unhappy:
- She micro-manages me, constantly checking what I'm doing, have I completed this task, how I'm going about doing it.
- When I speak in meetings she often talks over me.
- She has, on a few occasions, stretched over me and taken my mouse out of my hand if I am not doing something EXACTLY the way that she would (even if the final outcomes are the same).
- She 'corrects' me on the most trivial things, for example, how I space an excel spreadsheet, the wording of comments or emails
- A new one this week is that she sat down with me after I had made updates from a meeting to check my notes and how I had actually executed the updates (these were very simple updates that I had been solely responsible for previously).
- She gives me tasks piecemeal so it ends up that I actually don't have responsibility for anything all at.

This behaviour has eroded my confidence, I'm constantly second guessing myself wondering if I'm doing things the way she wants. It's demeaning and demoralising.

My confidence is already low as I've had a lot of time out of work recently due to surgery then a difficult recovery.

I know what advice I would give if I read this post BUT because we have a 'friendship' it's very difficult to deal with this in a professional manner without falling out.

Also, she does this in between being very friendly so it's like stealth attacks that I don't see coming and don't respond appropriately.

Is this bullying? I'm really not sure. Does anyone have any ideas of how to deal with this? I am actively looking for another role within the organisation but it could be quite some time before anything is available for me.

greenfolder Wed 25-Jan-17 16:29:13

honestly? it sounds like she doesn't know how to manage people.
Have you discussed this with her?

ILoveAGoodBrusselSprout Wed 25-Jan-17 16:32:24

Yes, I have. But I think I went in too softly in the hope of avoiding conflict.

I told her that I was struggling with her 'management style' and gave a couple of examples - but probably not the ones that really bother me.

She listened, was open then went back to our desks and nothing changed.

Horsemad Wed 25-Jan-17 16:38:52

I don't think it's bullying as such, just crap management. Do you have appraisals? I'd be mentioning it.

ILoveAGoodBrusselSprout Wed 25-Jan-17 17:00:24

We do have appraisals, however not till late summer. I can't wait that long.

I know I need to talk to her but I'm just not sure how to go about it.

Do I give her a comprehensive list of everything? That will probably feel to her like a character assassination.
Do I pick the worst ones? Then risk her keeping doing the others?

Although, as I mentioned earlier, I have addressed some with her already and nothing changed.

I'm not happy with how I've been dealing with this so far - I've ended up being passive aggressive, not responding at the time then being annoyed with her so there's an atmosphere. This is unlike me - I'd normally be more professional but I just feel scared (for want of a better word) and unsure, probably because of my recent confidence knock and the fact it's being compounded by this.

greenfolder Wed 25-Jan-17 17:43:00

Who is above her? Who else reports to her?

ILoveAGoodBrusselSprout Wed 25-Jan-17 18:14:22

One other person reports to her - she does the same to them.

She reports to a senior manager (Head of)

Horsemad Wed 25-Jan-17 18:14:53

I've speak to her LM then and see if anything can be done. I work with a bit of a control freak, so I know what it's like!

greenfolder Wed 25-Jan-17 21:03:14

I would write down specific examples of what she does. I would raise it with her once more. Then go to her line manager and explain.

messystressy Wed 25-Jan-17 21:11:32

I have to say I was in a similar position. Like you, I ended up being passive aggressive and my confidence was shot. I got through the other side but have to say my relationship with other person never fully recovered, and he is highly respected and valued (more so than me). I regret dealing with things poorly (I essentially started avoiding him) and wish now that I had had a conversation with him about how he made me feel. I am convinced I could have put it in a non confrontational way and we could moved on on better terms. I learned the hard way that work politics are tricky - and need to be dealt with in a way that don't reflect badly on you, regardless of who is in the right. I would avoid going above her head unless you talk to her about it in a more open way first to give her the opportunity to understand how you feel. Good luck!

Muskey Wed 25-Jan-17 21:31:28

Your story op is very similar to mine except that my manager was unknown to me. However he started in the same way he was extremely passive aggressive and over a period eroded my confidence whilst so called professionals on my team sat there and did nothing to help despite knowing exactly what he was doing. At the end of the day what your manager is doing can be interpreted as bullying the question is how can you deal with it. If this person is a friend I would say you piece and then see if it gets better. If not if you go to senior management/HR will you get the support you need. If the answer is no then perhaps you need to start looking for a new job. Sorry to be a bit of a downer but have been through the same scenario I would really hate to see other people going through the same.

ILoveAGoodBrusselSprout Thu 26-Jan-17 00:05:35

Thank you all for your input.

I have spent time this evening writing down everything that she has done which has affected me in this way. I'm worried about hitting her with the full list but, if I address it with her at all, I think I need to say everything.

I actually have some time with her tomorrow so I'll try to bring it up then

Horsemad Thu 26-Jan-17 00:28:46

Good Luck OP. Better to have it out now than bottle it up and risk it all come spilling out in a rage.

mirokarikovo Thu 26-Jan-17 01:09:28

You are not being bullied.

Your manager has poor management skills, poor interpersonal skills and poor perception of how her behaviour is coming across. These are all things she can learn, with support. I don't think she's deliberately setting out to make you miserable for her own sadistic pleasure.

ILoveAGoodBrusselSprout Thu 26-Jan-17 16:19:08

I do agree mirokarikovo that she's not setting out to make me miserable and she can't actually see her own behaviour.

I haven't really thought I'm being bullied - The only reason I've asked for opinions about bullying is because of the way her behaviour make sure me feel - nervous, lacking in confidence, worried about what she'll do next.

Thanks for your opinions

picklemepopcorn Thu 26-Jan-17 16:36:00

Push back where you can, and don't take things personally.

So when she speaks over you, say "did you mean to talk over me?" Or "sorry, I'm still speaking" etc.

When she questions your spreadsheet spacing say "I'll think about that for next time" or "I think it's clearer this way. Shall I change it, because I'll run out of time for X y z if I do."

"Why don't you leave that with me, you'll burn out if you keep micromanaging everything like this!"

I've been practicing phrases for a similar situation I'm in, where my boss(ish) wants me to spend a very long time perfecting something which is actually fine as it is, because he doesn't realise how fiddly tiny changes can be.

ILoveAGoodBrusselSprout Thu 26-Jan-17 18:25:02

Thank you pickle I do like some of those phrases

picklemepopcorn Thu 26-Jan-17 20:24:56

You have to practice them! I can't bring them up in the moment without practice...
You can always go back and say "I've been thinking about your suggestion and I'm worried that... What do you reckon?"

Good luck!

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