Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about past coworkers discrediting:
I transferred to another department several months ago. In my previous position I was bullied by a new senior colleague who expected me to do his work as well as my own. I received no support due to a constantly rotating stream of managers. While working in this position, there was an employee who I indirectly supervised was always trying to get me and her colleagues in trouble but was very good at sucking up to the right people.
When my transfer went through, she was upset because it was a position she would have been interested in had she known it was posted. She was eventually promoted to my previous position. She is now going out of her way to discredit me and my previous work and turn the other employees and the newest manager against me.
Unfortunately I am still required to work with this department in my new capacity and having been experiencing a great deal of frustration when having to deal with them. This person has successfully managed to suck up to my new boss so speaking to her about this is probably not an option. I have been doing my new job for about half a year but having to deal with my previous department is making me question whether i should seek employment at another company.
Signed, Feeling Pushed Out
Dear Feeling Pushed Out:
The right person to talk to, especially in a situation like this, is your new boss. The more she can know of you and your desire to do good work, the better. Rather than talking about the coworker and what you think she is doing to harm you, focus on how you can improve and develop and what you can do to help the department. It may be that the coworker has, “sucked up” to bosses, but apparently she is successful enough in her work that they have confidence in her.
My experience has been that people who are accused of trying to ingratiate themselves with bosses are often very good employees who simply communicate more openly and more often than others. You can do the same thing if you choose. Or, you can keep quiet and feel talked about. Your coworker can’t turn everybody against you if your behavior and performance are excellent. She won’t be believed because they will see plenty of evidence to the contrary. But, if your performance and behavior have some problems, your coworker may be happy to point those out. She’s not creating the flaws, merely noticing them and talking about them. That’s where you can make a difference.
I often say it takes three things to have influence; and that’s true for your coworker as well as for you:
1. You must be credible: Your work product and behavior must be considered effective and you must be correct in your statements and judgments, more often than not.
2. You must be valuable: Others need a reason to link with you and to support you. Usually that means you must do or say something that helps them with their work or that gives them something else they are seeking.
3. You must communicate effectively and directly. That also implies that you are appropriate as to tone, timing and topic—talking about the right things at the right times. The best thing to talk to bosses about is what they need from you and how you can help the business do better.You say that you are thinking about quitting. If you think you can easily find a job that pays as well and offers as much, you should quit and move forward. But, if this job offers you what you need financially and you are able to use your skills effectively, it would seem a shame to quit over one employee who you have disliked for a long time.Talk to your supervisor and build a positive relationship based on your work and your contributions to the team. Then, be the kind of team member, coworker, colleague and friend who others support. Best wishes to you in meeting this challenge.
Tina Lewis Rowe