Am I Handling This Supervisory Problem Correctly?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about subordinate: We both started the same day but I got hired before her and was offered the position of Supervisor. Since then this person has cursed at me, yelled at me and throws a fit when I ask her to do something.

I’m having a problem with someone that I have been working with for a year now. We both started the same day but I got hired before her and was offered the position of Supervisor. Since then this person has cursed at me, yelled at me and throws a fit when I ask her to do something. She goes running to higher-ups saying that I’m giving her attitude and yelling at her when I’m not. I finally decided to go to my new manager, who is the head of the department we work in. I asked to have a meeting discussing this person’s aggression towards me. Did I go the correct route for solving this problem?

Signed, Frustrated

Dear Frustrated:

If this issue has been going on for over a year, probably your new manager will wonder why something hasn’t been done before now. So, I think one thing you should do is to prepare a timeline of the things you have attempted in your efforts to not only resolve the conflict but to stop the behavior of the employee you supervise.If she has cursed at you or yelled at you, those things should have been documented and you should have directed her verbally and in writing to stop such conduct. Or, you should have asked for formal disciplinary action. I hope you did those things already! If she has accused you of wrong-doing, those things should have been investigated and statements taken from others to either disprove her allegations or prove them. I hope that happened as well.

The employee’s evaluations, if you have completed a formal evaluation for her, should reflect all of the things that concern you as well as any positive things about the employee’s work or behavior. Those will be needed when you talk to your new manager. You can see a picture forming here, I’m sure. Your new manager will be much more likely to respect your efforts and feel that you have done your best, if you can show that you have made sincere attempts to change wrong behavior and performance and reward good behavior and performance.

It will be especially helpful if you can show you have worked very effectively with others and that you commend them as well as correct them, just as you do this employee.A good motto for this type of situation is, “Don’t complain about the behavior or performance of someone you supervise unless you can also say, ‘Here is what I have done to improve things.'”

Before you meet with your manager, get all of your documentation and notes together so you can show that you have tried to improve the behavior and performance of the employee, but have not been able to do so. Then, you can more easily ask your manager to help you.Best wishes with this project. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens.

Tina Lewis Rowe