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Is this a new form of touchy-feely management?

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Sad in AZ posted 7/14/2014 23:45 PM

OMG; I had the most bizarre experience at work tonight.

Background: I'm a supervisor. One of my team leads has been with the company for 6 years (I'm there less than a year.) She's been passed over for promotion (to my position) several times because she simply is not supervisory material. I was warned about this and about her attitude by the head of HR when I was hired.

Fast forward to present time. She requested a part time position starting in the fall because of her school schedule. A part time team lead is useless. We are shorthanded even when we are at 'full staff'. I've proved this to management over and over to no avail. My boss turned down her request and the team lead wrote her a scathing email response . Then, last Monday she requested the coming Friday off; I had to turn her down because I had another key person out (plus I'm short another key person who is out for the long term on FMLA--probably won't be coming back, but that can't be determined yet.) I also had to institute a short-term policy that only one person could be out at a time due to the short-staffing and pressure from our district VP. She knew this, but pitched a fit.

My boss called me on Thursday about an email she had received from team lead. She was furious about the previously mentioned scathing email. In the meantime, I discovered a serious breach in policy by this same team lead, and she was going to have to deal with that too. She said she was preparing a response to the latest email but was waiting for some information from HR. Then, on Friday, I received a cryptic email saying she was coming to our site on Monday (today).

She called both of us into the conference room. She said we could say anything in the room, as long as it didn't leave the room and did not cause trouble after the meeting--screaming, cursing, anything goes. She started the meeting saying Miss Team Lead seemed to have some legitimate complaints (they were all bullshit, but too involved to get into here.) She had the 'perception' that she was being treated unfairly.

For the next hour I was cursed at, spoken over, mocked and blatenly lied about. I was totally blindsided by her complaints; I had a lot of back up, but none of it with me nor was I prepared for her charges. I held my own, but I feel I was made a scapegoat. The manager also said (before the team lead stormed out) that she didn't think we could work together any longer as professionals. I told her that was ridiculous. I certainly can handle someone like this team lead without being vindictive and snarky. This was an insult.

I'm so dismayed that my manager thinks this was ok. My only misstep was toward the end. Her persecution complex was getting so ridiculous that I was incredulous, and I expressed it with a smile--that set her off the deep end and she walked out of the meeting. Afterward, my manager said she (my manager) was way out of her element in this whole thing and should have had HR involved-ya think??

I'm so angry. I was close to lodging a complaint against my manager, but I'm not going there. She's done a lot of stupid things, but this took the cake. She never mentioned the serious breach (basically, you only get one chance in a year to make this type of error; a second one gets your fired--no recourse.) I still have to write up a report on the breach, and my manager should have been involved. I know she's overwhelmed with another branch, but I don't like being hung out to dry.

OK; vent over. I need to go to sleep. Maybe tomorrow will be better.

[This message edited by Sad in AZ at 11:47 PM, July 14th (Monday)]

Jrazz posted 7/14/2014 23:53 PM

She called both of us into the conference room. She said we could say anything in the room, as long as it didn't leave the room and did not cause trouble after the meeting--screaming, cursing, anything goes. She started the meeting saying Miss Team Lead seemed to have some legitimate complaints (they were all bullshit, but too involved to get into here.) She had the 'perception' that she was being treated unfairly.

For the next hour I was cursed at, spoken over, mocked and blatenly lied about.

I don't care if she said you could punch each other in the face - that's against the law. You were subject to hostility at the invitation of your manager? I'm floored. How utterly unprofessional and ILLEGAL. She should be reported.

I know you would rather keep your job than get litigious, but the company and the supervisor are in serious breach for encouraging that the two of you hash it out in this manner. I'm not surprised HR wasn't involved in this - they would be horrified as well.


Kajem posted 7/15/2014 00:55 AM

Document this event. I have a bad feeling about this. Please Protect yourself.

The lead lied to your manager, manager bought the lies and played into the leads hands in order to subject you to abuse. By setting you up, she helped create a hostile work environment for you. do you really think anything was resolved ? Does the manager?

The lead lies, do you think this meeting is going to stay within those walls? This is a frigging lawsuit waiting to happen. It just depends on who gets to the attorney first and my guess is your not visiting an attorney soon.

Please CYA here. I think you may need it.


Document write out what happened and email it yo yourself so it has a time/date stamp.

authenticnow posted 7/15/2014 06:41 AM

I'm sorry you had to deal with that. I agree with Jrazz and Kajem. That was not handled properly at all.

simplydevastated posted 7/15/2014 06:56 AM

That is messed up on so many levels. I'm sorry that happened. There's not much I can add to the advice already given. HR needs to be made aware.

Sending you strength and (((hugs)))

Alyssamd24 posted 7/15/2014 06:58 AM

I agree that it was not handled properly at all and you should document!!

Sad in AZ posted 7/15/2014 07:04 AM

I sent my manager and the HR manager a 'setting the record straight' email afterward with hard evidence that refutes most of the team lead's complaints; in fact, I had sent them most of this evidence and a few other pieces prior to my manager's coming to the office. As I said, I was not given a chance to prepare for this meeting, and I didn't have access to my files during the debacle.

HR and my manager have been trying to 'manage' this employee out of the company since I started working there. This has been the topic of many conversations, but nothing is in writing. I can't put it in writing now because that would be evidence if this employee does decide to sue.

Thank you for the suggestion of writing this out and saving it. I need to keep emotion out of it and stick to the facts.

Kajem posted 7/15/2014 08:39 AM


Thank you for the suggestion of writing this out and saving it. I need to keep emotion out of it and stick to the facts.

Keep the emotion out of it.

The lead obviously knows she's being managed out - she's reading the writing on the wall. You're her target because you are being set up by your manager to get rid of the lead. I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. But I have to ask, how much crap are you dealing with daily from above you and under you? Is the manager effective working with unproductive/problem employees? If she's not, you're going to find yourself in the position of terminator again.

If the manager set you up this time, what's to stop her from doing it again with another employee that's pissed their request didn't get approved?

The manager should have known better. At the very least allowed you to go into the meeting knowing that you might get attacked. THAT was a low blow. One that stinks of a lack of respect for you IMHO.


Sad in AZ posted 7/15/2014 09:06 AM

My staff are young, in entry-level positions and most are in school for medical careers. It's a 2nd shift position, so they go to school during the day and work from approx. 4pm-12:30pm. Some are in medical school, and some work weekends too, so they work 7 days a week. It's production work; they are expected to do a certain amount of work per hour for at least 6 hours a night with minimal errors and no critical errors. But they knew this when they signed on--nothing is a surprise. However, most have terribly entitled attitudes.I advocate for them, but I have to pick my battles. It's a large corporation, and profit is the bottom line. There is no formal training program; most of the newer existing staff received no training (the team lead was responsible for this; she was not equipped to handle it.)

Prior to my start, they went without a supervisor for 3 months. The manager was completely absent (on some kind of medical leave) and they did whatever they wanted. The team lead ran the show. She was shocked that she didn't get the supervisory position. She is honestly not supervisor material. She's now in nursing school.

I've hired one new employee since I started. I set up a training plan, and it appears to be working. She's already head and shoulders above the rest of the staff. I had an issue recently where two employees goofed off an entire evening while the team leads and I were out of town for a training course. They didn't realize I could review all of their actions in our system. Both were given written warnings as a result. Neither received a raise because this weighed heavily in their appraisal (corporate system, not my doing), and I'm sure they'll be leaving soon.

The team lead didn't receive a raise either because of her attendance. My manager threw me under the bus with this because she claims that I completed her performance review incorrectly. I didn't, and that was part of my rebuttal. However, now the team lead thinks I screwed her over. She's also incensed that she did not receive any 'exceeds expectations' on her review--she didn't deserve any. However, she did not receive any 'does not meet expectations'either. At least my boss pointed out to her that meeting expectations is often the best she can hope for.

I agreed to adjust the team lead's schedule in January to accommodate her class schedule. She was given every Thursday off for 3 months (she either worked Saturdays or took personal leave to make up the time.) Then in April, she asked to start at 5:30pm and work till 2am. I was hesitant but I discussed it with my manager and we agreed to do it for this one semester. Well, she never worked a full 40-hour week for the final quarter of our fiscal year. She never did the auditing work I gave her to make up her full hours, so I was always behind the 8 ball with my auditing. THe manager and I met with her recently to explain that she had to adjust her schedule or work the hours she requested; she's been doing this but barely, and I'm pretty sure she's not staying the full time; you can clock in and out using your smart phone or home computer, and there's no way to detect it.

My manager is responsible for 3 sites--Long Island, Albany and Portsmouth NH. It's too much for her. And now we have this mess...

FaithFool posted 7/15/2014 09:19 AM

What a trainwreck. That's no way to run a company. Ugh. (((Sazzy)))

Crescita posted 7/15/2014 09:31 AM

This all sounds so terrible. I don't have much experience in formal business settings, but this sounds more like dealing with a toddler. If the manager gave into her tantrum like this you should brace yourself for another

norabird posted 7/15/2014 09:44 AM

Unbelievable. The team lead has no business working there and your manager royally screwed up. HR should get involved at this stage I guess? I am so angry that you were put in this position! It is good that you are covering yourself, keep us posted.

purplejacket4 posted 7/15/2014 13:39 PM

Document everything you can remember and go to HR.

Phoenix1 posted 7/15/2014 15:51 PM

Your manager is not a manager. Period. That is an inappropriate way to handle the situation. I have been on the receiving end of a similar situation one time (many years ago) where I was blindsided and attacked, only it was by the HR Director and my boss! It truly sucks.

That being said, document the event with detailed facts (no emotions) and take it to your manager's boss and lodge a complaint about the attack (that's what it was). Go up the formal chain of command. You don't put employees into a room to duke it out (even verbally) when there is disagreement, regardless of what that disagreement is about. That is the ultimate in unprofessional behavior. Keep going up the food chain until you get someone to address it. This is not appropriate, and your manager needs to know this. Take it to HR if you cannot get it addressed through the formal chain of command.

wifehad5 posted 7/15/2014 17:07 PM

Your manager is a coward. From what you say about the team lead, I'd expect a call from her mother before too long telling you to stop picking on her

gahurts posted 7/15/2014 21:16 PM

I think the only choice you have is to start documenting a file to make a case for termination. Sounds like you've tried everything else and this attack in the conference room is totally uncalled for and unethical.

yewtree posted 7/16/2014 00:02 AM

Document everything. Their actions will end up with you taking the fall when she claims retaliation if you fire her or take any action against her.
You manager needs to be disciplined. Who the hell allows a supervisor and ee to go at eachother like that?
I'd be on the phone with hr first thing tomorrow!

Sad in AZ posted 7/16/2014 01:16 AM

I was contacted by HR, asking if everything was cleared up and did I feel better about things??? I explained what happened and now she's coming down here in a few weeks My manager is back peddling but still trying to be touchy-feely with the team lead. If I hear about her 'perception' one more time... We were also admonished to be professional.

My boss had me write up the critical error disciplinary action, but she is going to present it to the team lead. I'm ambivalent about this because I know how to handle it; I've done them before. On the other hand, now the team lead can't claim that I attacked her in any way. I would still like to be involved in the process to counteract or at least hear first hand if she tries to turn it into another situation where I'm picking on her, but maybe it's best to let the manager handle it.

I hate this; the manager screwed this whole thing up and now she's trying to cover her ass.

tushnurse posted 7/16/2014 08:03 AM

Yup she sure did. I would suggest talking to HR and finding out if you can still file a formal complaint. This is not OK. Your Manager should be fired for this.

I have had one situation in my work career where we were brought into a room and told we could say whatever we wanted without repercussions. HR was present, and it had to do with an abusive Dr that the hospital did not employ. This man actually had several of the staff afraid. But even in those situations, you can't act like a complete idiot, it causes a loss of credibility.

I certainly hope that HR responds to this whole thing appropriately.

(((and strength)))

Sad in AZ posted 7/16/2014 08:51 AM

Ugh; another sleepless night. At least I put it to good use. My mind was swirling, so I grabbed a pad and wrote down my jumbled thoughts.

I have pages of:

Encumbrances--ways that I am being blocked from doing my job.

Insults: For instance, my manager told me last night that one of the reasons she hired me was because she liked my style of conflict resolution. The not-so-subtle hint was that I was not handling this situation well. I didn't even know there was a 'situation' to handle, and she's the one that caused it to skyrocket.

Good points of the team lead-could only come up with one last night I'll add more.

Work deficiencies of the team lead

Facts that refute her allegations

My deficiencies

I will put these together into a cohesive document. I'm not sure if I'll send this to HR or wait till she gets here, but at least I got some things out of my head.

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