Today’s reader note emphasizes the importance of having good working relationships. It’s a long story, but I think you will find it interesting.
Hi Sharlyn. I’m very glad that I found your blog. I’m having a hard time working with my direct supervisor. I read your article about distinguishing a tough boss and a bullying one. My initial assessment is that yes, she’s bullying me but you may have a different idea after you know my story, which is totally fine. I just hope that you can give me some advice for my situation. A little background:
When I joined the team, there were already tensions between our team members and my boss. I was warned that I should keep my own documentation of conversations/meetings with my boss. As a young professional, I didn’t take this seriously, which I really regret today. Here are some of the things that have happened:
- There was a mandatory training offered in our headquarters. She made me wait months to sign up. However, another new hire was approved after a few weeks. As far as I know, no one else in HR has waited this long.
- I requested to attend another training, which she let the other generalists attend previously. She denied my request. She said that I could go if I paid for it. We have a company policy clearly stating that the Company will support training pertaining to core job responsibilities.
- I also requested to take the PHR test and got the same answer: “I don’t have money”. My co-workers have taken the test and she paid for their registration fees and books.
- I needed to go to headquarters for a training. I had two options for the return flight home: one was early in the morning and the other was in the afternoon. I asked which one I should take. She told me take the early flight because she needed me back. So that’s what I did. However, when I came back to the office, she was not even there. So I wondered what she needed me for.
I’m not sure what I should do in this situation. Similar things happened to a co-worker, who quit eventually. She talked to our office manager and my boss’s supervisor but nothing has changed. So I’m very hesitated to talk to them now. Should I just start looking for another job and leave? Thanks!
Let me start with some tough love. If your co-workers tell you to start documenting the conversations you have with your boss, that’s a very serious red flag. Even if you like your boss and company, it’s a red flag. Even if your boss hasn’t given you any reason to start documenting conversations, it’s a red flag. Even if the employees are making the whole thing up, that’s quite a story to spread around the office. Red Flag. RED FLAG.
Okay, now that we’ve established that. There’s a lot going on in this situation and it would be unfair to label it as bullying or not bullying without a proper investigation. I can see how the events that have transpired could make someone feel like they are being singled out. I also know that there are times when companies have no money and have to make tough decisions. Even when they just approved someone else to attend a conference or workshop.
And, as someone who has managed a department, I do want to point out that I wasn’t always there when the rest of HR was in the office. The department should function just fine when I’m gone. I might have asked someone to come in early because I couldn’t be there. That’s what being a team is all about. I would stay late so they could go home. It’s about doing our job, not just everyone being there at the same time.
I don’t want to sound like I’m defending the boss. But managers often do things that, from the outside, make absolutely no sense. But once they are explained, it makes perfect sense. That’s one of the reasons it’s important to build a good relationship with your boss – if you can. Communication is critical so you can ask questions, determine if the information is credible, and gain understanding. Then you’re equipped with information that can help you make good decisions.
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