Unpleasant messages - Wwyd (work related)(21 Posts)
I am a manager and an employee recently left the business. I took her laptop and phone back to get some files and contacts off before handing back to IT. She has left loads of SMS messages on there with other colleagues just slagging me off. I get it that everyone loves a bit of boss bashing, and am trying to not take it personally. But I'm only human and am hurt by it.
I also found an email (saved from 2013) from a customer to an ex colleague that implies they have been talking about me, and neither like me. It also mentions another customer who doesn't like me. Both customers I thought I had a good strong relationship with, that they valued. And both are significant customers. I don't want to be ~that~ person.
I make a conscious effort at work to be nice, try to be supportive to my team and valuable to customers. We have been massively overworked and under resourced for the last two years, but the email was before that all started so I can't blame it on that. I feel like this is the tip of the iceberg, and that everyone loathes me.
If I need to change something I need to know about it, right? Do I show this all to my boss and ask for support (which I probably won't get and risk losing his confidence in me) or just bury them and ignore them? I honestly don't know what to do.
But you know that they say snoopers never find anything good about themselves....and also that as a manager, you don't expect to be friends with the people on your team. I think (and I am a manager too) that if it were one person, I'd leave it. You've said a few current colleagues and clients are doing it, so tbh, something's not right is it?
I think, on reflection, I would go and have a talk with my boss. Calmly.
What you risk is it all coming out into the open, and, if it's spurious nastiness, then they will "hate" you even more. If it's a valid beef they have about you, then you risk your position.
I'd be more worried about clients slagging me off and try to get to the bottom of that one first.
People can be bloody horrible. Only you know whether you are nice and supportive. If you are happy with they way you treat people I wouldn't worry about it. It says more about them tbh plus they must be pretty stupid to use a work account for slagging you off. I sometimes moan about colleagues etc but certainly would never do this on work email or phone!
That's tough. If it were me (and I do suspect this could happen to me!) I would let it "settle" for a bit in my head. Try to work out what the characteristic is that might be pissing people off. I don't think I'd feel able to go to my boss - I think it would do more harm than good to your career unless you have an unusually supportive boss.
Shouldn't have snooped old messages.
If you had to snoop, I would have deleted every last msg that was horrible about me. I'd also file away these facts to consider before I write references for anyone. I mean Refuse a ref as you're "too busy" rather than slag them off.
Yes you can swallow pride & try to think about what you did that upset so many people without you remotely realising. But maybe they are the bastards.
I am very fond of my boss but on a few occasions he has passed me off big time. I would never write down anything about him but if l did it would have not made good reading just at that moment. But in the overall scheme of things he is fine and l have moved on from those incidents now. So l would let it go. I'm sure he would say the same about me. If you wrote down all you thought about those people along the way it might surprise them too. It's a moment in time not the sum total of who you are. Hard to read though.
What were they bitching about though. Your hair, your mannerisms or you making them do some actual work? Bosses in general are bitched about all the time so I'd take it as a compliment.
With the clients, i'd be most concerned. I'd probably invite them each to a catch up meeting to check all was well and give them an opportunity to reflect on the past relationship and if nothing bad is said, forget what you read and take it as just the utter bollocks that alot of people will write to make themselves feel good. Remember, clients don't give work to people they don't like. So if they really didn't like you, then you wouldn't be getting the work.
Every email should be treated as though it was for publication. Don't think much of someone who openly slags colleagues off like that. Poor discretion.
I have read something similar but different about myself. It really fucking stings doesn't it. I would do nothing for a month. Then see how you feel. In hindsight I can see my situation was one twat winding other people up. Twat has left the company and the other people all settled down. And if they hate me they do a good job of hiding it so it doesn't actually matter iyswim.
I think some more info is required here.
The messages between colleagues - how recent and how senior are their positions? For example, if the comments are between the ex colleague and other past colleagues or very junior/temporary staff, that's one thing. But if they include someone in a more supervisory role, different story.
In my most recent workplace, I was in a senior management role. I had been promoted to this internally. I knew that once I accepted the post, certain conversations down the pub just couldn't happen anymore. I know for sure that junior staff would moan about management. This has always happened. But unfortunately some people in middle management just could not see that a boundary needs to be in place. So a few middle managers would go along and feed the gossip. All in an attempt to be liked by all the trendy young things.
These people have left now but it got very uncomfortable.
So your ex colleague bitching - ignore. If it involves more senior staff, needs to be dealt with. Another way of looking at this us that the ex colleague may have done you a favour.
I was thinking similarly to Giveme it sounds like one disgruntled person stirring others up. It is horrible though, I wouldn't do anything immediately but wait a little while
and see how you feel in a week or two.
I think we need more info too
What kind of thing did they say?
Why do you think your manager won't be supportive?
Well, neither colleagues nor clients need to like you in order for a good working relationship to happen. In fact in some cases its better that you remain slightly aloof from subordinates just so that familiarity doesnt breed contempt.
I personally wouldnt approach my boss with this until everything in the messages had been digested. And then only if there was something that showed the business in a bad light.
I would expect much as PPs have said that this all stemmed from one person who had a beef about you and encouraged others to join in. I would be more concerned if there are several conversations initiated by different people and on different topics.
But of course you do want to be a likeable person and if these messages have anything concrete in them that you can tackle you might look at is as a project for you to improve yourself by . Only if you believe there is any substance to them at all that is.
I agree it would gave been better not to snoop, and I wish I hadn't read them. The ex employee also applied for the management job I have now and didn't get it, I did, despite her being there longer, so am putting the bitching down to that really. I think she may have done me a favour by leaving. I agree that you can't be friends with direct reports, but would like to think respect might be possible. I don't think these messages display this so need to think about how I behave and what I do that means I am not respected. And how to be a better manager.
I am more concerned about the customer email tbh. It's old, so perhaps irrelevant now. As pp's have said, things are said in a moment which maybe don't reflect on the whole relationship. This particular customer had emailed my boss previously telling them how great I was so it just doesn't make sense in my head. I have wondered if that employee has somehow doctored it. It's completely out of context but I think smacks of utter unprofessionalism.
Thanks for your comments, it's good to read and I think I will reflect on this for some time. I may bring this up with my boss in a general context - I.e, how can I be a better, more respected manager. What is it I specifically do that makes this difficult etc.
I don't obvs want to give the actual content of the msgs for fear of outing myself but along the lines of its all her fault we lost that contract, she doesn't know what she is doing, she's an embarrassment, she's a big mouth, nobody likes her etc.
i don't think I can give detail on the customer email, but was a short, 'hope we don't have to work with busy again' - no reason given.
It all sounds quite childish and bitchy so I'm not sure I'd do anything other than remain professional and keep working on being the best manager you can be.
What was she like as a worker? I wonder if she was making mistakes/ annoying people and then making out it was your fault to them?
Objectively what are the team like. I worked with one time who really had a handful of cliquey people who were unbelievable two faced, and basically the office had to have a fall guy to be bullied to make life easier for everyone.
They were always nasty about each of the managers both professionally and personally...
I would just be grateful that she has left
Do you think the fact that she left those messages on there, hoping you would find them, as a final sticking the finger up gesture?
Well it is good that you are reflecting, and have the intention of always being a better manager, but IMHO people always like to complain about management and often complain more about the nicer managers than about the downright unpleasant ones.
And then I'm a bit guilty myself of occasionally of letting off steam about friends who I dearly love and if they were to read those comments they would be terribly hurt, but I know how much I love and appreciate them.
Well you got 'her' job, so I'd assume it's not about you - it's about her.
The client one sounds odd. If you've previously been praised by that customer I wouldn't think too much about it. And it sounds as if the other client is all rumours stirred up by disgruntled ex employee & not necessarily factual at all.
Delete, ignore, move on
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