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Please tell me how to handle this work issue(19 Posts)
I work in a team of 10, for approx 13/14 months everything has been good, I've got on well with colleagues and my Manager. Over the last few months there have been several new starters, who are considerably younger than me, one of them is a very difficult person, constantly arguing with other team members, disrupts group sessions, interrupts Manager constantly, thinks he knows best, has had complaints, makes rude comments to others etc etc. Another is very outspoken and has said some not so pleasant things to me about my appearance, age etc, all under the guise of 'banter' however we have sorted things out and he has apologised.
Now to get to the actual issue I need help with. On Thursday another colleague mentioned to him that he had done something incorrectly, he immediately got very defensive and an argument started between them, our Manager has been off so another Manager heard and told him to stop shouting as it was disrupting others, however, he then had to leave for a meeting and the colleague continued to talk loudly and would not stop, I asked him politely to stop and explained why he was in the wrong, he continued to talk over me and would not accept what I, and others, were telling him I asked him again to stop shouting but he was continuing to shout over me and, unfortunately I lost it a little and told him to just shut up as he was irritating and disrupting everyone. Another colleague got involved and was rude to me, I could feel myself getting worked up so I got up and left my desk to calm down, another Manager from a different team came to check I was ok and I told her what had happened and she said she would have a word with him later. A while later, whilst that Manager and her Manager were in earshot he started again and was told to leave it, he later had a meeting where he was told that he was in the wrong and he needed to stop shouting over everyone.
On Friday I had just started work, I was not feeling well, I had had no sleep and I've got several personal issues that I'm dealing with, one of the Managers came in and basically shouted "if there is any bickering today someone is getting the sack". Obviously this was quite upsetting as I felt like it was directed at me. The colleague that I had had issues with in the past regarding personal comments then asked me where I got my jumper from, I told him and he then sneered at me and laughed, I'm obviously very sensitive at the moment and that combined with other comment and everything that is going on upset me to the point where I started to cry so I got up from my desk and went to break room. After I left the shouty colleague made a comment along the lines of "omg she is at it again the crazy emotional wreck". He then had a verbal fight with 2 other colleagues who were defending me, long story short I got a days holiday and came home. My question is, what do I do on Monday, I feel embarrassed that I started to cry, it's not like me at all, I don't want to be in the presence of this colleague as it's causing more stress to me on top of everything else I have going on and my Manager who has been off has to come back to all this drama. I know I have to go in but I'm really dreading it!
There's a line where banter becomes bullying. Arrange a 1 to 1 with your manager and explain how this is all distracting you from your work.
Now I've written it down and read it back it sounds so ridiculous, I'm completely embarrassed, in fact I'm mortified by my behaviour. I should be able to handle a bit of banter, I know it sounds like this was what set me off but that was just the straw that broke the camels back.
I will ask for a meeting on Monday but I know I will be asked what I want to happen and I've no idea how this can be sorted, other than for me to leave.
While his behaviour isn't on at all, I can't help but focus on you joining in the argument between him and the other colleague, assuming it wasn't directly involving you. He may have felt ganged upon and instead of trying to see reasonableness he responded in a very defensive way. Especially if the colleague pointed out the mistake loud enough for others to hear.
I think it's telling that you comment on him being younger, is it possible he's picked up, wrongly, that people are dismissive because of this? Did he start out like this or has he responded to a feeling has picked up? Again not saying this excuses his behaviour at all, but it may be a reason and possibly needs exploring in order to resolve the differences in the team.
Obviously if the guy is just a massive arsehole then a couple of you raising this with your manage might be a good way forward.
It’s bullying and creating a toxic work environment. Contact HR and your manager. Submit a formal complaint.
You shouldn't leave! It's clear they made a huge mistake employing some of these people. Insulting the way you look and your age is really awful. Shouting over people is awful. Why should you be the one to leave?
Those people need to be on a warning. You should receive an apology.
In future I wouldn't speak to them in that kind of situation, but leave the room and find a manager. If you stay in the room when they're like that, record them.
Although op banter is only banter if all parties are going along with it. You had every right to ask him to stop.
@Lovesagin The reason that I got involved was because for one he sits directly opposite me and I could not concentrate on my phone call and also that I am considered to be the "senior" within the team and am expected to step up when Manager is not there. I do realise that he felt "ganged up on" which impacted on his reactions, however, it's nearly every day that he just starts and he just will it give in.
With regards to the banter, I'm not saying that I don't take part in it sometimes but I would never comment on someone's weight or dress sense, it's such a fine line that I'm unsure whether it is bullying, all I know is that I don't want to be part of it anymore, it's a stressful enough job as it is and I'm completely miserable on this team.
If his comments are upsetting you then it's bullying. Do you have a HR person to speak to?
He sounds completely unprofessional and needs to be told his behaviour is not considered acceptable!! He sounds like a teen.
I would list all the hurtful/inappropriate comments made and when, including the overheard one. You need to build a picture of how frequently it happens.
Sounds like he needs some training in office etiquette at the very least.
Tbh I don't think it's great that this all happened in the office in view of everyone. I'd expect a senior member of staff to get the
knob person in a room out of the situation which was clearly escalating and discuss why his behaviour isn't appropriate and then let your manager know at the first opportunity.
At the very least he needs telling in a noted meeting that his behaviour isn't acceptable, and if he continues there will be further action taken. it doesn't sound as if this has happened yet.
Tbh if he is still within his probation I'd get rid and try and start afresh, but would also address the expectations I have of other longer term staff members in conflict situations, especially senior members of staff.
We do have HR but first step is to speak to Manager and then see what happens next.
I agree, it was all handled badly, firstly by the other Manager who should have nipped it in the bud early on and then by me, it's an open plan office so not easy to take someone off the phone and away to discuss further as nowhere to go and although I'm considered Senior I don't have the authority to take someone off the phone. Our Manager, as far as I'm aware, has had discussions with him in the past about his behaviour and I think he is still in probation so maybe it won't be an issue for much longer.
I'm still going to request a meeting on Monday as I do feel this needs to be documented.
Surely if everyone was arguing then they were off the phone anyway? I'm sure your manager would have understood if you explained it was to diffuse the situation and set a good example before it escalated even further and caused more disruption. And there's always a meeting room or breakout area or quiet part of the office to speak in.
Manager as a first step is right, HR are generally only there to guide managers through these things not address them, so you'd probably find hrs advice would be to speak to your manager anyway.
Hope Monday goes ok, if he's in probation he'll prob get binned off anyway and then you might find the others causing trouble will pipe down considerably.
I've had this. My manager hires completely unsuitable people, gets me to train them and at the end of their training asks if I think theyll be a good fit - completely ignores it when i say no and only seems to realise it after the probationary period is over or we get loads of staff and customer complaints.
There's a whole company who avoid us now because we can't hire suitable staff and theyre sick of their drivers being pissed off with us... each of these unsuitable hires were flagged as not acceptable during their training (one in the middle of his first training session)
They're all male, all rude, shouty, women can never be right types... but have all been young and very pleasing to look at (manager is a single woman who has slept with at least 2 of the 3 unsuitable male hires... make of that what you will :-/)
Have a meeting with your manager about it. I now go directly to the area manager if a new starter isn't suitable and she makes a random visit before their training is finished to assess them. It pissed my manager off no end but employee and customer relations shouldn't be sidelined because she wants eye candy.
I think it's unfair to expect you to be the unofficial senior person - and so expected to step up in this sort of situation - but yet you have no authority to deal with it effectively (by removing the person) or, forgive me for saying, training in how to deal with this sort of thing correctly. Clearly the team have no respect for you in this position either, or don't recognise it. I don't like unofficial seniority. Managers need to have a proper recognised deputy in place!
If you are a standard team member, you need to keep your beak out, and find a manager to deal with any unprofessional situation. No manager available then straight to HR.
If you are the 'senior' person then you need an agreed level of authority so that you are able to step in appropriately. You also need some guidance on how to deal with this sort of behaviour should it erupt again.
As for the personal comments, they need to stop. You need to document this and take it to our manager with a form but polite request that this is dealt with. If it's not, then go to HR. Keep a note of times, dates, etc.
I would continue to reinforce the fact the only reason you needed to get involved was because you were taking a phone call in the execution of your role duties at the time and he was preventing you from concentrating because of his unprofessional behaviour, shouting and being inappropriate.
I can hardly believe how these new starters even managed to get through an interview. They sound absolutely appalling. Hopefully you can say sufficient to ensure the ring leader is dismissed, he isn't adding any value to the company.
If you're considered as senior and expected to deal with staff in the absence of a manager that should be formally acknowledged. If it isn't, don't bother because it'll only lead to problems for you.
Crikey, the entire place sounds really unprofessional with people shouting at each other. It's clear there is a culture where there are no professional boundaries and a clear lack of any proper management.
I agree with others who have said this unofficial seniority is not working and is leaving you vulnerable.
Both the individuals you have mentioned need to be sacked. I think you also need to try to extricate yourself from these sort of scenarios.
I would just go in on Monday and get on with the job. Are you allowed to where earphones to listen to music whilst working? You are not responsible for the behaviour of others. If he asks you any personal questions or makes any comments, just tell him to stop being a bully and a bitch. I would also talk to the manager about the disruptive and stressful work environment. The manager needs to sort it.