Difficult Colleagues

(10 Posts)
Frolicinameadow Thu 14-Jan-21 13:51:02

I’m hoping for some sage advice here.

I had a promotion at work a while back. There was someone doing a similar role previously and when they left it was re-jigged in terms of the responsibilities. So while it’s under the same title the role itself is different in duties and responsibilities.
It’s a small company, so no training as such, more of a look and learn/hit the ground running.
Since I took the role there have been things I haven’t known how to do and I’m happy to ask for help so I can learn.
However, there are 2 women who are making everything really difficult. They refuse to share information, but then when I don’t know the information they get annoyed at me, they fuss and shout and stomp around the office and then send emails cc’ing everyone at management level.

I have addressed this with them several times and asked them what exactly their issue is, that I am still learning (as is expected in this role) but if they won’t info share I can’t be expected to know these things.
The crux of the issue is they think I’m too young for the role and I don’t know the business well enough and they don’t like that I’m now at the same level as them in the business structure.
There’s maybe a 10-15 year age difference.
The business has gone through massive changes since I took my role but the two things are not related in any way. I haven’t implemented the changes and I’m not a decision maker in the areas of change. But they keep referring to things changing and appear to be aiming their dislike of this at me.

I do my job well and my direct superior is very happy with me. But I am drained by the constant battle with these two. They also run to the MD telling every little thing and while he might question my version of it and then brush it off, the constant telling tales like children is undermining me and I feel it’s bringing negative attention to me that isn’t warranted.
Short of hiring a hitman what can I do?
As I said, I’ve asked them what their issue is, I’ve told them they need to share the information etc. But it’s like talking to a wall. When I spoke to my superior about it they rolled their eyes and said “we all know what they’re like, stuck in their ways”. So not much help.

OP’s posts: |
daisychain01 Thu 14-Jan-21 17:27:16

Sorry to say there isn't much you can do, if the senior managers aren't prepared to reign these people in. They're being enabled to create a toxic environment and you'll spend hours of your life agonising over their nasty bullying behaviours.

It normally boils down to insecurity (eg your age), low self esteem (not wanting to share information to sideline you), attention-seeking (running to the boss like kids at school).

It's very normal behaviour in small companies that enable queen bee behaviours, where policies are not well formalised and no HR to create the firm boundaries, processes and structures needed.

You won't solve it in a month of Sundays. Leaving is the only inevitable action, trying to change them is futile. Don't waste precious years of your career trying to make it work. They probably don't pay you enough!

TarnishedSilver Thu 14-Jan-21 19:47:23

So our MD in our small company would go frigging nuts at the telling tales - he doesn't have time for it - he'd bat it straight back, he solves these kind of problems like this.
He gets everyone in a room and he says I'm not happy - I have people moaning in my ear - you're all grown ups, so I am making you jointly and severally responsible for the success of this relationship. I will be following up with you all again in the same room - no one is to come moaning separately in my ear and I will view you all as having failed if you don't sort this out.
It has worked for him, over and over again - he doesn't tolerate this kind of behaviour but it can fester not just in small companies -between teams and often in projects with big teams who have interlinked dependent deliverables.
It has to be called out - if it doesn't get called out it will simply continue. You have tried but they don't respect you - you need to ask someone they respect to sort it out.

dizzyupthegirl86 Thu 14-Jan-21 20:00:41

I’m with @daisychain01 - I had a similar problem years ago, company had hired a new manager who the two ‘old timers’ didn’t like, and I was her first new hire. The manager was out of her depth a little in terms of what my role involved, and the old-timers who I worked with directly were deliberately unhelpful. Would only tell me half of what to do, would sometimes tell me the wrong things, and then deny it. Made me look ridiculous, it was awful. I bought it up with my manager who basically said ‘I know what they are like, but what can I do?’.
I handed my notice in when I realised it wasn’t normal to cry on the way home every night.

Frolicinameadow Thu 14-Jan-21 20:55:32

Thanks for the replies!

@TarnishedSilver I’m going to suggest this to the MD.

Agree @daisychain01 and @dizzyupthegirl86 I’m not going to change them alone but if he stops enabling the tattling it might help.
I don’t understand why people carry on like this. I would never behave in such a stupid childish manner.

OP’s posts: |
dontdisturbmenow Fri 15-Jan-21 11:33:06

The problem is is the old timers with the experience don't want the job because they don't want to deal with the bureaucracy and leadership but resent that they have to support someone with less experience.

Saying that, depending on your level, it might be expected that you find the I formation yourself. I had a new colleague who I was happy to help and gave her links where she could get all the information, but even months later, she would constantly interrupt me for info that she could find herself but she found easier to pester be about.

BashfulClam Fri 15-Jan-21 12:54:57

If they refuse information put it in writing and cc all the people they normally do. ‘Good Morning, as stated I require the following items/information in order to complete x, please can you confirm by reply when this is available?’ Back yourself up.

daisychain01 Sat 16-Jan-21 03:46:41

I don’t understand why people carry on like this. I would never behave in such a stupid childish manner.

- poor self-esteem
-insufficient meaningful work to do
- being allowed to, or knowing they'll get away with it.

@TarnishedSilver I commend your MD but they are by far the exception to the rule. Small companies grow organically and the original staff rarely have the people skills to handle bad behaviour as the company grows, they tend to do an impression of an ostrich, because it's a lot easier than confrontation and making oneself unpopular with the troups.

TarnishedSilver Sat 16-Jan-21 11:01:26

@daisychain01 MD has a lot of miles on the clock and is a master at dealing with difficult people in a very clever way - he really does lead the way in dealing with people, he treats everyone with respect - he sets a fantastic example to all of us. As a company we expect very high professional standards from all our colleagues and we get it or we deal with it directly - even a sniff of bad behavior will be picked up on and the message will be delivered - bad behaviour affects everyone in the team - we all work too hard to have to put up with it.

It's the client's staff that are often the challenging factor - and that is altogether more difficult scenario to manage - but if it isn't managed, the project success would be compromised and the client would definitely not be happy with that - so contronting these difficult people has to be done, the road blocks have to be removed.

CoRhona Sat 16-Jan-21 13:55:03

Op, I would put absolutely every single request to them from now on in writing.

And if they verbally say no, follow that up with an email saying that you wanted to clarify their response which you then forward to your line manager.

Every. Single. Time.

Your manager's response is not good enough and your colleagues' is appalling. Don't put up with this crap, no more calling them out face to face - everything documented and in writing from now on.

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