A Problem Workplace–But Two Coworkers Are The Worst

Question:

This has been going on for a while. And I admit that I have irritated my coworkers which I have been seeking therapy for. I had a baby this year so the hormones have not helped. This is going to be long. First, a little background: Recently we just had a manager get terminated because she was not only discriminating against certain employees but she also got caught in borderline illegal activity. This has resulted in her telling other things about me that were not true and her telling them about some personal medical information, as well as some complaints about some unethical workplace issues I had. Okay, now with that background I need some advice with an ongoing issue.

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Constant Criticism and Anger at Work

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about an employee who criticizes how things are done:
I have an employee at work who is constantly criticizing how things are done. She is a perfectionist in her tasks and indeed does a very good job in her duties, often staying until late and performing way beyond the standards that she is asked for.

However, whilst doing so, she is constantly complaining, especially to a small group of people, about how others do their work. Even though of course everything can always be improved and done at a higher level, as a manager I don’t see any clear reasons for complaint. All the opposite, I feel that everyone is working well and that the job is certainly getting done; many times even way over my expectations.

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What Can I Do About A Coworker Who Says My Work Overshadows His?

A Question for Ask the Workplace Doctors:
What can I do to get along better with a coworker
who accuses me of overshadowing his work? 

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Question:
I have been working with this group in a creative arts position in a company working on a group project. It is very team oriented, and a very competitive workplace. At the same time we all, for the most part, work together like gears with little friction. A coworker I am going to call James has told me numerous times that he is tired of creating work just for it to be overshadowed by something I have contributed, and wants to surrender working for the company because he feels anything he contributes will be looked at as inferior compared to mine. I have tried all types of methods to support James and help boost his confidence in his abilities, by bumping it above mine to be reviewed instead of some of my ideas, working with him under the guise that I want to learn things from him, and constantly make positive, but not overbearing compliments on his work on a week to week basis. [Trying to make sure I don’t smother him].

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How Can I Become Part of the Team If They Won’t Help Me Learn?

A new question to Ask the Workplace Doctors:
How can I become part of the team
if they won’t communicate with me or help me learn?

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Question:
I recently started a new job in a new field. I was extremely excited about this and ready to learn new things. That all ceased within my first 3 months. I am working in a small office, there are just 3 of us, my boss, my coworker and myself. I came from an office that employed 35 people at any given time and had been there for 20 years so I expected some “growing time” taking this new job. I have pretty much been on my own learning a new business and new tasks since day one.

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How To Deal With An Overbearing Colleague Who Pulls Rank In An Inter-Office Team Project?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a colleague who pulls rank
in an inter-office team: How can I handle this in a way
that doesn’t reflect badly on my work? 

Question:

I have had some tension with a female colleague (herein after I refer to her as “T”). I think T. is getting more and more overbearing and I would like to know how to deal with or handle this conflict professionally so as not to affect my work product. I work for a large multinational organization and I have been working here for a little over two months.. I interviewed for a Vice President of Implementation role but was offered the role as an Assistant Vice President, with the promise of promotion to VP next year, which I am completely fine with. T. has worked here for 10 months and is a Vice President, but I do not report to her, although I work on a project team with her and another colleague, “N.”

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Ice Breakers To Get A Team On The Same Page

A question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about improving Credit Unions’ work group communication.

I work at a credit union and my manager is having us meet with another credit union to help their business. She asked me if I know any good starting tactics, like ice breakers or ways to start the meeting or if there’s a certain personality test everyone could take before coming to the meeting so everyone can find out how everyone communicates.

The other credit union is having problems functioning as a team and struggles with communication as well because some people take certain things one way when they were supposed to be taken another way. I hope this makes sense! Thanks for your help!

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Supervising Those Who Don’t Respect Coworkers

A question for Ask the Workplace Doctors about supervising: How do you supervise those who don’t respect each other and are individualistic?

I am the supervisor in a kitchen at an on campus job, and I have been noticing more and more lately that the people that I work with seem to have no respect for one another, much less me, and are very individualistic, in the sense that they don’t appreciate group achievement and are more concerned with their own personal outcomes than that of the kitchen staff as a whole.

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Supervising Non-English Speakers

Question:

I am a supervisor at a retail store and am responsible for teams. The team I am primarily responsible for is composed of 6 associates, 4 of which have limited grasp of english. In spite of the language barrier, I try my best to learn Spanish phrases that could convey instructions more clearly. However, at the end of the day, I still need to course it through my partner who is Spanish speaker. As a result, I am told that I am being ineffective as a leader and am unable to do my job as a leader. However, for the other teams I have to work with, most of whom have a better grasp of English, I have no problems managing them. I feel like I’ve hit a wall about the communication issue. It does not help that my fellow leader specified that he would like more spanish-speakers on the team. I do not mind having a bi-lingual associate, but chances are, they will hire another associate who can barely understand English again. What is the best way to address this concern? I understand the value of learning spanish, but for a team to work efficiently, there has to be effort on all parties to communicate effectively.

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Favoritism About Workplace Privileges

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about favoritism:

We have a in-group and an out-group where I work, in a school environment. Eg. Out in the playground, some staff are allowed to sit whilst supervising the children, while others are not. There are other issues also, eg. some staff are given food from the kitchen, while others are not.

Signed, Feeling Left Out

Dear Feeling Left Out:

Nearly always when something seems so blatantly wrong, there is some other issue going on. Ask HR or your direct supervisor about any organizational rules related to sitting, eating, etc., and see if there is a misunderstanding. If you have worked there for years, consider if anyone has ever been fired or disciplined for violating such biased-sounding rules. If not, there probably is no such rule and people just keep blindly sticking to a misconception. Or, you may find out that there is a clearly stated policy that relates to job description, tenure, work schedule or some other issue. For example, in a pre-school with which I’m familiar, employees can eat the school-prepared food, according to the shift they’re working. Some get only breakfast, some get breakfast and lunch, some only get lunch and some do not get a meal while working.

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Why Are Senior Managers Rude and Ignoring Me?

Question:

I often wonder why senior management (the more senior and younger they are) the more they would be disrespectful of my time, ignore me, gatecrash my meeting time to get their agenda through with the person I’m meeting …and only acknowledge my presence if they needed something from me. They are white S.Africans , I am not … I am quite amused by such behaviour as word / reputation of such attitude would only get out … why would they want to do that? Please help me understand if there is something I did, I am or ????

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