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Advice needed. Constantly being overlooked + undermined at work

(4 Posts)
wuwubaba Thu 14-May-20 20:30:29

Looking for some advice from my fellow mumsnet-ers x

I been in my job for almost 5 years now. I worked in a big department with different section, with me specialising in section A & B while there are several others with similar payscale/experience scatter across different sections.

I have been tasked with training these people over the last few months. Since then whenever one/couple of them being assigned on the same section as me, for some reason whenever theres an issue come up, and when I am trying to solve/making decision, they will either cut me off with their solution or making slight remarks about how they think my suggestion is redundant, despite I am the one having the most experience dealing with similar issues before.

I take my job and duty seriously and i do admit I have a "resting bitch face". I know some of you will be shouting at me to speak up! But the reality is that I just cant. I am not a confrontational person and I do not believe in shouting the loudest in order to get any point across.

My seniors are of no use despite multiple attemps to speak to them about my concern. I do not feel that I am being suported by them, and instead of dealing with the rowdy bunch, or the one with the "strong characters", my seniors will pick the easier way out by telling me to just ignore them.

is there anybody out there willing to share any method that can help me?

Thanks in advance

maxelly Fri 15-May-20 11:16:24

Why do you feel it's either 'shout the loudest to be heard' or not be heard at all? Surely there is a middle ground to be found?

I too am a shy/non confrontational person but I think you have to be careful, at the end of the day you are making the choice to sit back and not say anything to them, you can't then complain they don't know you are upset or aren't dealing with you how you'd like to be, anything that hints of passive aggression will just wind people up no end. You absolutely need to cut the 'resting bitch face' out if it's something your colleagues are noticing, it's not acceptable to sit scowling at people and refusing to actually say why you are upset - not saying you have to sit with a fake grin plastered on your face at all times but most people can manage to look 'neutral'....

What I do, knowing how much I have to 'work myself up' to a confrontation of any kind and how much I'll analyse it later down the line, I pick my battles. If we have an issue and my proposed solution is to do ABC but my colleague prefers XYZ, and XYZ is also a reasonable solution, then I don't mind going with that, even if I am the more experienced or senior one. Perhaps if there is time I might try and ask some questions to understand why they prefer XYZ and try and help them through the process of the conversation to see my point of view (e.g. they may say they prefer XYZ because they think it will be quicker or cheaper fair enough, but they don't fully understand that ABC will actually work better in the long run), but even if we ultimately don't agree, so long as the outcome is OK then fine, that isn't me 'being undermined' it's coming to a consensus/majority decision that I personally disagree with. I also might try and work more with that colleague outside a situation where there's an immediate or urgent problem to be solved, to build the trust/relationship/communications up so that if it happens again we better understand one another.

If however the issue is something that is really important and they are plain wrong, you can get your point across/insist without getting worked up or shouty about it. So the conversation might go:

You: We have this problem, I suggest ABC because...

Rowdy Colleague, butting in: No no no, what we need is XYZ

You: If you'll let me finish...

RC: No that suggestion is wrong, we need a quick solution not some long winded thing bla bla bla

You: (deep breath) That is interesting you say that, why do you think ABC is not a quick solution?

RC: bla bla bla ABC sucks, XYZ is better

You: Are you aware ABC could be in place within 48 hours and would improve the situation by 100%? And XYZ will take 20 days to implement and cost 10 times more for the same result?

RC: no no I think XYZ will be better, I know more about this than you

You: OK we seem to disagree here, as I am responsible for section A my decision will be we will do ABC, I will report back to you on progress within 2 days

OR: Ok we seem to disagree here, as neither of us are responsible for making this decision, I propose to email Line Manager with the problem and we will see what s/he says.

RC: But why can't we just do XYZ, bla bla bla

You: I'm afraid that's my decision RC, now I need to get back to work. Maybe at our next team meeting we can discuss as a whole team the issue of X problems and see what everyone thinks, then we can review our approach. See you later!

Obviously I have summarised the conversation there, there would probably be more discussions, and at the end of the conversation RC will probably not be super-happy, but does that really matter? You stayed calm, professional, the conversation focused on the actual issue rather than anything personal (note how you didn't pick up the bait about whether or not s/he knows more about this than you) and you stuck to your guns about what you know to be right, so no-one can criticise you there. Following such a conversation I would send a short summary email to him/her saying 'Just as a reminder, you came to me with problem X, you suggested solution XYZ, I proposed ABC as an alternative for [reasons] and we agreed...'. That way no-one can later dispute what was said....

Possibly if this is an issue for you, you could see if your work would fund some constructive communication/assertiveness type training? It can be a bit cringe but gives useful hints and techniques for better communication all round, not just in conflict type situations (ideally much better to avoid getting to the point of conflict at all).

And overall if you found this particular workplace is more populated with rowdy colleagues/arseholes than others you've worked in, maybe it isn't the place for you long-term? After all you are just one person and you aren't likely to change the prevailing culture to suit you, especially when the senior management don't see it as a problem, unfair as that may feel, so maybe you need to be looking for a long term escape route to somewhere you do feel valued and listened to?

Iamthewombat Fri 15-May-20 11:29:32

Some good advice in the post from @maxelly

Being completely honest with yourself, are you absolutely sure that your way is the best way and couldn’t be improved? The risk you run is being considered the old stick in the mud who discounts new ideas because she’s been doing it like this for five years and if it’s not broken why fix it etc etc.

Also, and this is a shame but it is true, your managers are unlikely to be interested in these types of concerns. They just want the job done. They won’t want to tell your colleagues not to challenge you.

Which is a way of saying, could you invite a trusted colleague to run through your way of working with you and constructively critique it? Then you will be prepared and confident when the time comes to defend your way of doing things.

wuwubaba Fri 15-May-20 18:39:36

Hi guys just want to say a quick thank you for the suggestions.

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