What do you do when you have an argument with a coworker? - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-29-2008, 05:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I've worked at my job for 6 years, and for the most part I never have these problems, because we are adults and the vast majority of us act like adults.

However, as with any group, there are a few people who are stuck in high school and use inappropriate measures to convey their displeasure to others.

I had a bad, bad week at work last week. We have a new job responsibility in our group for which we have received inadequate training and the group from which we have assumed the work is as confused as we are about who does what, etc. This responsibility was supposed to be a step up from our current duties, but in reality it is a much lesser position, mainly because our lack of knowledge puts us far under the tier 2 group in terms of being able to complete tasks properly.

So after a negative interaction with the tier 2 group, I went to complain to my supervisor about the responsibilities, the lack of training, the other groups treatment of us, etc. I'll be honest, I was totally bitching. I was tired, frustrated, and angry. I mentioned the name of the person in the other group to my supervisor (because he asked me what brought all this on) but I was not complaining about him... it was more the situation.

Well, someone in our group told the person in the tier 2 group that I was bitching about him to the supervisor, so he came over to me and yelled at me because he felt I should have taken it up with him rather than the supervisor. Unfortunately he didn't give me the chance to bring it up with him... I was actually checking with the supervisor to see if what he did was correct before I talked to him about it. As it turns out, he (the yeller) was in the right in asking me to perform that task.

Now I feel attacked by this person. When he yelled at me he didn't even give me a chance to defend myself, he just yelled at me then walked away. He was clearly just trying to intimidate me, he had no intention of letting me defend myself or even settling the matter between us.

So what should I do? I feel really uncomfortable interacting with him at all. I hate confrontation and would have preferred to avoid this situation all together. As it stands I'm still performing the new responsibilities, but I am considering asking my boss not to do it anymore, because it sucks so much, and also because I don't want to deal with this guy anymore.
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Old 08-29-2008, 05:38 PM
 
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THis is a tough situation. After a little while - like maybe Monday or Tuesday, I'd go over to his desk and ask to talk. Go to a conference room and just say

Ted, I think we've had a misunderstanding and I want to apologize. I did go to Sup for guidance and I think word has gotten back to you that I was complaining. I want you to know that isn't true. The transition has been really difficult because none of feel we were trained properly. When you asked me to do X_________ I was a bit taken aback because we hadn't covered that in training at all. But given all the difficulties everyone has had with the transition, I figured I needed to get more information from my sup before I questioned you. And I'm so glad I did because now I see that IS my responsibility.

Anyway I think there is some confusion here and you only got part of the story. I still need help on completing x_______ can give me some advice or on-the-job training? I can then pass that onto my team.

You might also consider bringing someone from HR, your group or your supervisor with you if you feel "Ted" might explode. However, you are in charge of the discussion. Ted sounds like a bully and I think you can disarm him.

Third generation WOHM. I work by choice.
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Old 08-29-2008, 07:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you think an email might be appropriate at all? I hate talking to people if I even think things could get aggressive.

Maybe I could say something along the lines of:

Dear X,

I have been thinking about the problem we had last week and I wanted to let you know that I was not complaining about you personally to Y. Looking back on it I remember that your name was brought up in the interaction, but that is only because you were the person I was dealing with at the time. I did not intend to malign you in any way and I apologize if you thought that I had.

I hope that you and I can continue working together cooperatively. In the future if you have an issue with me I would appreciate it if we could address it in a more professional manner, perhaps in a conference room or by email rather than on the office floor.

It is always my intention to interact with you as professionally as possible. This transition has been hard on everyone (including you) so it would be best if we could work together to make things work more smoothly.

Thanks,
Lisa
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Old 08-29-2008, 07:17 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lisac77 View Post
I hope that you and I can continue working together cooperatively. In the future if you have an issue with me I would appreciate it if we could address it in a more professional manner, perhaps in a conference room or by email rather than on the office floor.
I've been in an similar situation. For me it worked best to go face-to-face with the person. Maybe you could use some of what the pp in the email, if that is what you are more comfortable with.

I would probably drop the above paragraph. Or reword it a bit. It sounds accusatory, though I know where you are coming from on it. He behaved in a very unprofessional manner, and it's tough to overlook it. It's also possible he was also having a bad week with the transition. Maybe, you could use:

Quote:
I hope that you and I can continue working together cooperatively. If you would have a few extra minutes, I would like to take the time for us to go over some of the concerns I have, and areas where I think my team could use some additional clarification. blah blah blah
.

Just my opinion. And good luck. Next week will be better.
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Old 08-29-2008, 07:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So should I just gloss over the yelling altogether? Pretend it never happened?

I could do that without sending an email at all.

To be honest, I don't like being yelled at and I don't want him to do it again... that's my main motivation in either talking to him or sending him an email.
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Old 08-29-2008, 07:42 PM
 
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Originally Posted by lisac77 View Post
So should I just gloss over the yelling altogether? Pretend it never happened?

I could do that without sending an email at all.

To be honest, I don't like being yelled at and I don't want him to do it again... that's my main motivation in either talking to him or sending him an email.
I would not gloss over the yelling. I would calmly tell him you find that sort of behavior in the workplace to be unacceptable and to please address you in a professional manner from here on out.
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Old 08-30-2008, 02:29 PM
 
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I'd talk to HR about the situation and have them be a mediator, if possible. Getting yelled at in the workplace is completely inappropriate. If he comes to apologize before that- you know ' sorry, I was frustrated, I lost mycool, etc.' I'd probably let it drop, but if it happened once, it's likely to happen again.

Michelle -mom to Katlyn 4/00 , Jake 3/02, and Seth 5/04
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Old 08-30-2008, 02:46 PM
 
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I'm the HR head and a lot of my job is helping bring people to the table who have disagreements. I like to use interest-based negotiation techniques - which center around the assumption that everyone wants a good outcome and once you set the appropriate stage, people will work together to get there.

I've had disagreements with people and I try hard to deal with them one on one...since that's what I encourage others to do. When that fails I bring in a mediator.

Do you have anyone in your organization who can act as a mediator/facilitator for the discussion?
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