Collaboration

What should I do: Is this miscommunication, bullying, or both?

This week, a TechRepublic member writes about a situation she is experiencing with a boss she doesn't respect at all.

This week, a TechRepublic member writes about a situation she is experiencing with a boss she doesn't respect at all.

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A TechRepublic member e-mailed this scenario to me in response to my request for descriptions of problematic workplace scenarios. This is her situation:

"My manager makes me very tense and uncomfortable, so I would appreciate some advice from my peer group.

I am a programmer and an analyst in the IT department. Our IT department is split into three sections (Helpdesk & Hardware, Application Support, and Development). I work in the Development section with one other employee. My manager was hired one year ago. He is about 60 years old and worked for this company six years prior as a Director of Process and Procedure. He left the company for a while to work in another capacity but has returned. He is best friends with the one other employee on my Development team.

I have had an extremely hard time trying to find ANYTHING to respect about my manager. While his desk was next to mine, he repeatedly violated my personal space, almost like he couldn't hear or see me unless he was about five inches from my face.

During my annual review, he told me that I need to 'lower my expectations of everyone in order to be happy.' It's my mission to help a company to excel by educating, empowering, and encouraging people. Unfortunately, I'm not in a position of authority, and those that are in those positions of authority are not good at communicating, training, or disciplining. I am most certainly not going to 'lower my expectations.' Since my December review, I've taken to wearing headphones a large portion of the day. I still work often and well with the other sections of the IT department.

Last week the air conditioning unit went out in our building. Below is an excerpt taken directly from the log that I am keeping of other situations.

8/5/2008

Context - Las Vegas, NV. The air conditioning on the 2nd and 3rd floors was out since before 7am when I arrived.

Around 11:10 [a manager of another department] gave his employees the option to relocate to the other facility or work the remainder of the day at home.

At 11:15 [my manager] did not issue the same offer. I discretely used the Office Communicator (IM) and asked this, 'Unless you have any strong opposition I would like to finish my day from my home office. I can be available via email and IM.'

He responded with, 'No strong opposition. Are you OK?'

I responded with, 'Yes, but this is a bit ridiculous - neither [other employee] nor I need to be here to do our jobs. I don't see the need to be uncomfortable any longer.'

My manager responded with, 'We need to discuss this. Let's take a walk.'

Now at this point I am uncertain what needs to be discussed -- I figure he just wants to reinforce that working from home is a luxury that not all employees have.

I walked out into the hallway and he followed. He began by stating, 'Flexible scheduling/telecommuting is not a policy that the company currently embraces. I will have to talk to my boss tomorrow about it.'

I'm confused why my working at home the rest of the day needs to be approved tomorrow. That seems a bit late to me.

He continued along the lines of working from home in the case of an emergency or unique situation would be okay but not as a permanent thing. (It was nearly 113 degrees in the office at this time. Legally, the company was close to having to close the 2nd and 3rd floors.)

I retorted, stating that, 'Due to the heat, I would prefer to work from home the remainder of the day.'

My manager claimed that I did not state in the IM that my request to finish my day was based on the heat.

I stated that the heat was implied. He said that it wasn't and that what I had asked was to work from home from now on.

At this point I have lost patience, and I will not stand for someone implying that I am lying -- especially when it is in electronic format that can be retrieved and proved.

I asked what he was talking about. I am aware of the current policy and was not asking Gary to institute a flexible time schedule -- I simply asked If I could complete my day at my home office.

I'm not sure what was said next because he advanced across the hall directly at me. (I was shocked because there was no reason for either of us to move. Gary is an ex-Marine Corp Officer and may be accustomed to such methods of intimidation -- I'm not sure.) My immediate response was to put up both hands, palms facing out, and I told him to 'back up.' He did not retreat, and I repeated the direction with my hands remaining up.

After reviewing my IM statements, I have no idea where he got that I wanted him to initiate flex time today or that this was an emergency.

The dialogue above was extracted directly from the IM log.

So this is the latest in a series of 'miscommunications' and violations of personal space that have led me to have absolutely no respect for my manager.

I know that I have to figure out a way to work successfully with him. At this time, I am defensive, uncomfortable, and generally avoid him."

Wow, this is quite a story. If a situation can escalate from a simple request to work the rest of the day at home to a perceived physical threat, then there is definitely something wrong.

I don't like to jump to conclusions from one person's side of the story. As anyone who has read this blog knows, perceptions play a huge role in any kind of interaction between people, especially for those who only know each other through the office.

Therefore, first, I'd like to address your statement:

"It's my mission to help a company to excel by educating, empowering, and encouraging people. Unfortunately, I'm not in a position of authority."

Is this a mission you've assigned to yourself? I don't think it could be a job role you were officially assigned if you were not also given the authority to make it happen. If it's your own goal, how do you go about making it happen? Do you think your efforts at "educating" your co-workers or your boss may have created some bad feelings? Was the comment in your review about lowering expectations of everyone, maybe a constructive, gentle way of suggesting that you can't control the actions of others, only yourself?

I believe your boss may have jumped to some conclusions about your initial IM. I'm just wondering if there was some pre-existing reason for his doing so.

A agree that the personal space issue is a little alarming. (I'm referring to the beginning situation when you sat next to each other.) While "close-talkers" are not always trying to be intimidating, it may be that this man was. I understand it would have been awkward to talk to him about this issue in a less heated moment, but did you try?

As for his actions during the confrontation when you held up your hands and told him to back up, he was wrong. Even if he hadn't intended the first advance to be intimidating, it soon became clear that you perceived it that way, and he was wrong for not stopping. That action could very well constitute a hostile work environment. I'm curious as to what ultimately happened in that situation.

I'll throw this out to our wise readers now to see what advice they can offer.

Got a career scenario of your own? E-mail it to us here. We'll post it anonymously, and see what kind of feedback your peers have to offer.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

31 comments
spasierb
spasierb

Wow so terrible! I strongly encourage you to talk to your HR Department.... I was in a similar situation a few months ago. It escalated to the point in one of "our talks" I said I did not feel comfortable without a 3rd party in the room to continue the conversation. He proceeeded to crumple up a piece of paper and throw it across the room and yelled Why? I answered because of his anger and that I felt I was being personally attacked (long history of issues) he then screamed that he didnt answer to me I answered to him he was the boss, walked out slammed the door so hard it broke the door jam. I never took it HR or his manager because I was under a strong impression they were close friends outside the office and he had been there for several years where I was new. It is a very small company of 70 people. I was very wrong. The issues between myself and my boss severely affected my work. I finally couldnt take it anymore and I went to his manager and HR and it was amazing. First I immediatley felt better by letting someone know about my uncomfortableness, and it put the ball in motion of fixing things. I can now say I am very happily employed here still and I actually like coming to work.

Bizzo
Bizzo

I am not saying you are wrong in the way you feel towards this person, or that you should change your opinion of him. But here's a few things to think about. You start the post saying that "[he] makes me very tense and uncomfortable" and continue to say that you've had "an extremely hard time trying to find ANYTHING to respect about my manager". When did you first feel this way? Did you just not like him from the start? Or could it be that you resent him because he left the comany and has now returned? Maybe you think he returned because he couldn't "hack" his new job, hence the lack of respect? You say your missions is to "help a company to excel by educating, empowering, and encouraging people.", yet you say you work in the development section. Not everyone likes to be educated, empowered or encouraged by a peer, who has been self-appointed into a coaching role. Maybe your enthusiasm is a little too much for some people. You seem to be the kind of person that likes everyone to pull in the same direction, and strive for the same goals, and it's obvious that someone with that kind of passion gets disheartened and frustrated when things don't go that way. You manager saw this, knows what you're like and can see that you were unhappy with the outcome, and so offered some advice in your annual review: "lower [your] expectations of everyone in order to be happy". Why do you wear headphones during the day now? It does nothing to remedy the issues you're having in the office, it just shows that you are unhappy with the office environment. With regard to the air conditioning problem, I feel that because your view of your manager and the office has been coloured by what's gone on in the past, it might be miscommunication on both parts. "[a manager of another department] gave his employees the option to relocate to the other facility or work the remainder of the day at home" What made the manager come to this decision? Did a number of staff request this because of the heat? If no-one complained to your manager, how is he to know that you were too hot to work? Was he aware of the other manager letting his staff work from home? Your first IM to your manager,does not mention the heat, and does not mention the other manager's decision. Your manager's first response asks if you are OK. Your second IM says that "this is a bit ridiculous", "you don't "need to be here to do [your] job", and that you're "uncomfortable" where you are. Sorry, but again no mention of the heat or the air conditioning. If you combine these three emotive statements with the fact that you wear headphones for most of the day, I can see why your manager requested a chat. Reading the conversation that followed, your manager obviously thought your request was to work from home on a more permanent basis. You say that the heat was implied in your first message. Maybe it was when you typed it, because you knew where you were coming from in the conversation, he just got a request to work from home. I cannot comment on the next part as you don't know what he said to you as he "advanced across the hall directly at you". Maybe he said "Excuse me I can hear my desk phone ringing"? Were you stood in a doorway? What happened next? Did he continue walking towards you, at what point did he stop? Something that's confusing me a little. You say he's been your manager for a year, which means he started around October 2007. He then did your annual review in December 2007, and since then you've been wearing headphones for most of the day. When he had his desk next to yours, was this in his current role as your manager, i.e. after October 2007, or when he was previously employed by your company. That seems to be where most of the resentment comes from. Do you resent it that he came back into a position of authority where he can educate, empower and encourage people, but doesn't, when you want to educate, empower and encourage people, but can't? I can empathise with the situation you're in and how it makes you feel, so if I've said anything wrong or anything that upsets you, I apologise. This is just my opinion on the situation as I see it. Good luck in trying to resolve this.

lexys
lexys

What's wrong with you people? Why is there so much blame being put on the "complainant"? It's obvious the guy makes her feel uncomfortable! If there was any issues with her work or trying to "educate" her colleagues then it is up to him to communicate this clearly to her. Having worked with old ex-military personnel before I know what their communication style is like - BAD. He would also know that invading someone's personal space is intimidating as it is an old-fashioned method of breaking down new recruits and it was probably done to him. The complainant needs to take all her documented incidents (which is very useful for backing yourself up) and go through the company's grievance procedure. Bullying in the workplace should not be tolerated, miscommunications, personality clashes or not. I have dealt with these types numerous times, mostly as the mediator between two parties, sometimes as a witness, and a few times as a complainant myself. The one thing that stands out is, as soon as they know you're on to them, they back off.

michalshome
michalshome

Great advice about having to high of expectations of yourself and others without the authority. Military people are who they are and should be accepted as such, so finding a way to work with them may be your best bet, if you don't want a war. I did not read "heat" as the reason for leaving to work at home, so I think it was a mixture of "miscommunication" on that point. What should you do, look him in the eye and talk it out. Get courageous, confident and work on communicating. Good luck! Michalshome

elizabethbennett
elizabethbennett

A lot of times when we are communicating online, miscommunication can be very common. This could be a breakdown in communication and that happens. If he is intimidating, twisting words, implying things that are not there.....then it goes into bullying. Keep a detail record of your interactions. Much luck, Elizabeth Bennett Peer Abuse Know More!

santeewelding
santeewelding

Has nothing to do with miscommunication, bullying, heat, or space. She reveals the problem in the first eight words of her complaint, then underlines it in the 10 that follow the eight. Only, there will be no hearing of this by her -- short of religamentation, as in the root of "religion". It is that deep. Only she can do it. Which is what she will not hear.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

The claim that others do not communicate well. However this is just a lack of communication again, from the person with the problem. "At 11:15 [my manager] did not issue the same offer. I discretely used the Office Communicator (IM) and asked this, ???Unless you have any strong opposition I would like to finish my day from my home office. I can be available via email and IM.??? He responded with, ???No strong opposition. Are you OK???? I responded with, ???Yes, but this is a bit ridiculous - neither [other employee] nor I need to be here to do our jobs. I don???t see the need to be uncomfortable any longer.???" Fisrt, the request was made, and no strong objections. followed with "are you ok". The following IM seemed out of place and can easily be determined that you are upset about having to work in the office. It can also be taken that you want to work from home more permanently. Having written it in that manner suggests that you are stressed and upset. The manager did the right thing asking to go for a walk, trying to find out what was wrong, and what exactly was being requested. It shows concern and good management on his part, whether you had agreed or not. My suggestion: Re-evaluate what you do and how you do it. If this place or our manager offends you so much, maybe you should move along. Either that or, it appears you are looking for a reason to be pissed off, and accusing of lack of communication, when it is, in fact you with the communication issue. If you want to be

NotSoChiGuy
NotSoChiGuy

There is no tone (as in a phone call) and no body language (as with face to face) involved with e-communications; as such, you always, ALWAYS have to be as clear and as concise as possible. For example, had you said the same exact thing face-to-face as you put in the IM, but wiped some sweat from your brow, and did the pinch-pull thing with your shirt, indicating you were hot, it would have been CLEARLY implied that the heat was the reason you wanted to go. As it is, you last IM statement could have been interpreted many different ways; such as you and the colleague were uncomfortable working in the presence of the manager; which seems as though it was the way he took it given the behavior afterwards. It doesn't say how much time has passed since the incident, but a meeting with the manager and an HR rep wouldn't be out of order. Print off the IM, and concede the point that maybe it was a little too ambiguous. That said, clearly point out that the hostile approach was unwarranted in any event, and made you feel threatened. I'd also get the resume together and start looking. Assuming both you and the manager remain at the firm, I wouldn't expect any sort of substantial raise/promotion/recognition anytime soon, barring a significant thawing of relations.

jim
jim

There are a lot of times when we think it obvious other people will know what we mean by a statement and they don't. He may have thought the reference to being uncomfortable was due the longstanding atmosphere of tension between the two of them. The first part seemed to be a simple misunderstanding, but the last part was alarming. Having come from a military family, (Dad, one brother and a sister all Army) I would offer this advice. In getting a message across to this person, be direct to the point of bluntness and leave nothing implied. Be assertive rather than aggressive, but make very direct, clear statements regarding the behavior you're uncomfortable with. Example: " I see you doing (behavior X, behavior Y ...) and I feel like you're invading my personal space . Maybe you don't intend it in that manner. I find it intimidating and I'm very uncomfortable. Would you mind trying (behavior Z) going forward?"

OrlnOrtiz
OrlnOrtiz

From reading the first IM message, it was simply stated that employee wanted to work from home, nothing about the fact that it was due to the heat. The Manager said OK and asked if everything was OK, which sounded like he was a concerned manager. The response was to the affect of "it's ridiculous to work in this place and we feel uncomfortable" Again, nothing was mentioned about the heat. There's an assumption here that the Manager should've known that it was due to the heat. Now my own personal assumption is that considering that this guy used to be in the Marines, maybe he is used to the heat and didn't even think about it. So the employee should've made it more clear that "working in this heat is ridiculous", and then I don't think things would've escalated as they did. So I think the Manager acted accordingly when handling the work-from-home request, EXCEPT for when things almost got physical, now that's a different story in itself.

lexys
lexys

You are right, it is miscommunication on both sides. However I strongly believe that as a manager he is in a position of responsibility and should be the one ensuring she understands her duties. The statement " lower your expectations of people...." is ambiguous. Yes she should have asked for clarification, but if she continued doing the same stuff she was doing before the review, THE MANAGER should have addressed it with her. Also as THE MANAGER he should have sent her home when the air conditioning broke down. If he had the slightest concern for her well-being and comfort at work, which last time I looked, managers are responsible for, he would have sent her home just like all the other managers did. Did it occur to you that she might not have respect for him and feels uncomfortable around him because he treats her with disrespect and gets in her personal space? Yes I hear a million people saying "SHE SHOULD TELL HIM" but she already finds him intimidating enough to not be able to communicate to him clearly about smaller issues, and I would like to see all you people in the same situation with somebody who you find intimidating and let's see how much you communicate to them.

cupcake
cupcake

I have been in a similar situation. I had been in a relative 'senior' position within my group and when the manager went out on maternity leave never to return, they hired someone from outside the company who immediately took a dislike to anyone who offered a perceived threat to his newly assumed position. No amount of communication - verbal or otherwise - could convince this guy there was anything wrong with his behavior. I KNOW it wasn't me, as I had been there over 6 years and got along famously with everyone in and outside my department. I miss the company, but it was having to deal with him that persuaded me to leave and in the long run, it was one of the better decisions I made. I am not recommending that she leave, but know that sometimes you end up working for someone that you just don't mesh with and no amount of "communication" can change it.

SKDTech
SKDTech

Maybe we are looking at the reported situation through the eyes of unconnected observers. Maybe we are seeing that there is only one side of the story being presented here? That her boss makes her uncomfortable is obvious, she even tells us so. But has she told her boss that he makes her uncomfortable and what behaviors of his are making her uncomfortable? I am ex-military myself and can tell you that personal space is often something you can become unaccustomed to thanks to the close living and working quarters we have to endure during our service. Their communication style is not "BAD", it is different. A grievance may help resolve the issues, but any reasonable mediator is first going to ask if she has brought up the issue directly with her boss before filing a formal grievance. "Bullying in the workplace should not be tolerated, miscommunications, personality clashes or not." I agree bullying should not be tolerated, but miscommunication and personality clashes are not bullying. Edit: I am playing the devil's advocate here.

C'Town LarryMac
C'Town LarryMac

It definitely sounds like something was lost in translation, nothing more. The same can be said of being told to "lower your expectations" of other people. Perhaps the manager has been receiving feedback from other users that you're overestimating their knowledge when developing applications or not providing enough documentation or training. This, too, could have been communicated better by him but I think speaks to the likelihood that this is just two clashing communication styles.

Peconet Tietokoneet-217038187993258194678069903632
Peconet Tietokoneet-217038187993258194678069903632

And this goes towards both the boss and the employee. If you want to say something, do not go around in circles, say what you mean word for word. Get straight to the point, do not leave people guessing what you are trying to say. People need to be straight when in a difficult situation. When it is heat related then this can cause a miss-communication. How it sounded (the post) it seams that the employee was trying to be the boss when in fact she was not. Basically in a work place that is under a lot of heat you have to keep your cool, keep your head otherwise you will loose it. It sounds like they both lost their cool. So if that were me (boss wise) i would chuck them both in the freezer to cool off. :) A pointer to the women (employee), if you have something to say to your boss say it face to face it works out better. If you feel frightened or scared then take along a work mate. I find cool heads work better than hot ones. :)

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

A long time ago, I worked at a store, and worked I did. But my manager always thought that I had an attitude problem around him, and didnt know why. I thought he was a royal pain in the a$$ that was just offloading everything under the sun onto me. However, I did not complain, or communicate the problem. Finally I had an outburst (low toned) that he heard (not really meant for him to hear), I said something along the lines of he s*cked donkey balls or something. Anyway, after my shift, he asked me to go out for a beer (his treat). I turned it down (why would I wanna spend time with him). He convinced me to go, and then he asked told me that he thought I had a lot of potential for this, that, and the other, and my main problem was attitude when customers were not around. This started the opening of communications for us. To end up, we had 3 beers, rarely had problems afterwards, went otu for beers other times, and seemed to fix or problems. He was unaware that he did things that I thought should have been obvious, that upset me. Just getting the communication started is the hardest part. But, once there is less 'implied' and 'suggested' material, and actual communications -- things can work out in a manner unforeseen previously.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

to get the communication flowing and set expectations for each other.

DONC314
DONC314

Your boss may be a jerk however it sounds to me like you may very well be trying to make a "case" against him. It strikes me as a little odd that you use electronic messages to communicate with someone who is close enough to invade your personal space. Your comment about a hostile workplace sounds like you have been studying the law a little and may just know enough to be dangerous. Your boss may have come to the same conclusion. If this is the case I urge you to step very carefully. This guy is experienced in office politics and chances are if it comes to a show down you will loose. My advice? Come to work every day and do the best Job possible. Be polite, professional efficient. The time will pass quickly and you will maximize your opportunities at this company. Spend the time and effort you are expending finding things to be upset about into doing an excellent job. Your boss is in his 60's. He will retire soon. Start building working now to move up when he leaves. Consider loosing the earphones. Unless they are needed for your job. Others may think you are unprofessional or maybe just weird.

TheProfessorDan
TheProfessorDan

I have to agree with Orlan. I didn't see anything in the story that leads me to think that the manager was out of line. He did express concern and did address the situation. Another aspect of this story is the IM communication. A lot of people like to communicate electronically because it leaves a trail. If it is possible, I prefer to communicate in person. There is so much that is missed when communicating electronically. I result to electronic communication when face to face is not working.

santeewelding
santeewelding

You found what you say on "intimidation" as given, valid, and not addressable. You do otherwise with "intimidating". Of course you decide as you do.

w2ktechman
w2ktechman

then there is something to go on. If she never said/says anything, and she leaves everything open to 'interpretation', then she really is not even trying to communicate. It IS her fault in this case. This entire incident could have been avoided with a few extra words. In the communication going out back and forth the manager was not wrong, she did not communicate anything and as stated it could easily have been interpretated as an annoyed rant. His question asking her if she was OK, could again, have changed the outcome. Something like "it's too hot/uncomfortable" would have put an end to it. Instead, she seemed already annoyed that she had to reply, even when the manager stated that he had no strong argument against her working from home. With the exchange shown, it would appear that she was frustrated and already pissed off, showed poor judgment, and then b!tches that the manager wanted to talk. Already being in that kind of state of mind could induce bad interpretations of someone elses actions. Where he may or may not have lunged at her, I cannot say, however it did not need to go that far. Communication goes BOTH ways. However if the manager does not know about the problem(s) how should he fix it? This is not the managers fault unless she has mentioned something in the past, or tried to communicate her issue(s). Bottling it up and thinking that 'everyone must know how I feel' is just plain retarded. If the manager was one that could not be confronted, then there are other avenue's to take. But this case, laid out as it was, was handled wrong from the get-go. That is why she took the flak for it.

lexys
lexys

True, and sometimes the amount of stress just isn't worth it.

lexys
lexys

You are absolutely right, people are looking at it with the eyes of unconnected observers, and my point is that all those unconnected observers are pretty much saying the "complainant" is at fault, which is a reflection of what happens in our society a lot, which is exactly why people don't want to complain when something serious has happened to them. I can't help but look at it through the eyes of a mediator, which is what I do a lot of in my part-time job on weekends. This job is a youth organisation affiliated with the Navy, and I have been trained by the Navy in Equity & Diversity. The number one principle that I have had drilled into me is that if someone says they feel uncomfortable, then you have to take notice. It applies to every workplace in Australia because if you don't back off as soon as someone says you are making them uncomfortable, it is classified as bullying and you can take the employer to court for negligence, stress etc etc. Yes she probably didn't tell her boss that his behaviours/ communication etc is making her uncomfortable. This is because she finds him INTIMIDATING, or perhaps does not have the skill to deal with it, in which case it would be good for her to go to HR because they would be able to guide her in this. By communication style being BAD I mean that they don't listen. They are always right. Especially if you are in a perceived "lower rank" than they are. And I'm not the only person who has noticed this. Miscommunication and personality clashes are not bullying, what I meant is they are not an excuse for bullying. I'm playing victim's advocate, seeing as though the majority here are not!

jim
jim

Luckily for me, I learned this lesson early in my working life, because it made a difference from then on. When I was 21, I was working at a fast food place in a mall while going to college. Part of job was to show up at 7:30 in the morning every day and prep a bunch of lettuce, onions and tomatoes and such so there'd be enough of them for the lunch rush. The shift consisted of me and two girls, one the supervisor. I wasn't a morning person, and I was already naturally reserved. I would come in, go straight to the back room and start working for the first few hours until sometime after 10:00 when I became more fully human. After a few weeks of this, the shift supervisor called me in and asked if I had a problem working with them. To me, this came from left field, and I answered truthfully that I didn't have any complaints, and then asked for more information; I thought maybe someone was talking behind my back or something. She described my exact behavior and how it looked to them. I seemed aloof and arrogant and it made them think I couldn't stand talking to them. I immediately apologized and told her my 'not a morning person' thing. After that, I made a point to stop and chat with them a little bit before I started my work. That felt artificial and uncomfortable to me for a few days until I got to know them better, after which it felt completely natural. I had no further trouble and we all became pretty good friends. Afterwards, when starting a new job, I always made it a point to greet people and talk a little bit, ask them how the weekend went, etc. It always feels a little uncomfortable at first because I'm naturally introverted, but it wears off shortly once I get to know them, and then I'm perfectly comfortable socializing with my new acquaintances. I internalized that lesson. People don't know what's in your head, they only see your actions and hear your words. They will provide their own explanations if you don't.

lexys
lexys

thanks, i understand now......I think? LOL! (Do you have a lawyer degree as well? ;-})My remarks about finding one's own self in the same situation is an attempt to get people to think what it would feel like in her shoes.....I have said earlier that I have dealt with similar ex-military types in a workplace so I do know what it is like for her, hence I am inclined to sympathise.

santeewelding
santeewelding

"Found" refers to foundational. "Intimidate" proceeds by active voice to passive-voice intimidation. "Proceed" means linear cause to effect. It is that structure -- foundational causality -- that I get at. That structure is treated as "given, valid, and not addressable". The effect, that of intimidation, can have by definition no operative, back-acting control over the intimidating. Anything you say vis-a-vis the two participants, and you do say, is constrained by and within that structure. Your heartfelt remarks about finding one's own self in "the same situation" are, as such, entirely constrained by your foundational structure of causality. This is what I meant by, "you decide as you do". I said as much in my remarks above (The "Problem") with respect to her opening: "My manager makes me..." Once laid down, no alternative thinking and acting is possible. Cut and dried.

lexys
lexys

I don't understand what you have said here, but would like to. Could you please explain, maybe in a different way?

cupcake
cupcake

And I am sticking to my postings. And just because there is a discrepancy between a manager and an employee doesn't mean the employee is wrong! I was simply pointing out that someone can ask "are you all right" and not really mean anything positive. There are plenty of non-verbal communication that happens that probably isn't being taken into consideration.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

that she is just a complete introvert. Just trying to do her work? As long as she is left pretty much alone, and her work is getting done well, he just lets things be! In this case, he did seem concerned with the "are you all right" statement. And again when he asks to talk to her 1 on 1 after a reply that seemed irrational. Just because you had a bad experience with a manager in the past does not mean that anytime anyone does not like their manager, it is the managers fault! From the information provided in this example, I stick to my postings on this. From the info provided the manager was not wrong, and the employee was just assuming that her mind can be read through an IM

cupcake
cupcake

is, of course, is that there is PLENTY of communication going on, just not verbal. I suspect that the manager is aware of her uneasiness or unhappiness and the complexity of their working relationship. I've been there. Seriously. The difference between what is verbally spoken and was is communicated with body language, attention, lack of attention, communicated with others is a far larger part of the issue. And sometimes, no matter what is "said" or written, the manager can chose to interpret however he wants. How many times does a person have to backup from someone being "in your face" or in your space, before that is communicated. I suspect that he knows she is uncomfortable, so he is playing on that now. Blowing the whole 'working from home' thing out of proportion. I read the same thing ya'll did and considering that the heat was the same where he sits and everyone else was leaving, why would she have to be explicit in explaining that. I think he was taking advantage of the situation to make her even more uncomfortable.

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