Feeling Humiliated By My Manager

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about manager humiliation:

I’m a female cashier with about 2 months at my job. My manager at my job has verbally humiliated me twice in front of other employees and customers.The first time was when I had informed him about unfulfilled tasks that were supposed to be done by the day crew (I was working a graveyard at the time) and even showed proof of this. I was told by him, incredibly sarcastically, “I will let her know that you said she wasn’t doing her job”Another time that same night I talked to him about lack of cleanliness in the break room, since there is a memo from the company asking everyone to clean up after themselves. Again the sarcastic tone saying it was night crew’s job and the day crew didn’t have time. We were in front of a male coworker was when he said this to me. I know that this is untrue as coworkers who use the break room often come in early before their shift.

The second incident was during a day shift. I was on the far end of cash registers and was quite busy. We are supposed to welcome customers as they come in. Being on the far end and dealing with customers, I didn’t feel it right in shouting the greeting right in my customers face also it is almost impossible to hear people coming in anyway.He had another coworker actually spy on me and watch my actions. He yelled at me afterwards saying that “You are being watched and it’s my job to make sure you are performing good customer service, so if you can’t handle this, you should leave”I did tell him that I was busy and that it was hard to hear the door from where I was. All I got was “there are no excuses” All of this was in front of customers.

I have been told by my supervisors that I am a great cashier and performing very well. I have become friends (not romantically) with one of my male supervisors who manager dislikes and I don’t believe that it is a coincidence that I am spoken to like a naughty child each time after my manager sees us together.I know that I am there to work and not make friends but, why should I be humiliated because of who I get along with? How should I handle this?

Signed, Tired of the Treatment

Dear Tired of the Treatment:

That sounds like a very unpleasant work situation all the way around! It sounds as though your manager has a negative feeling about you that isn’t going to go away any time soon. And, with your short tenure there, it’s unlikely you would have enough influence to force a change.

Your direct supervisors are the ones who should be talking to you about company issues and you should be talking to them.Why not ask them if they have suggestions about how you can improve your work, do a better job of greeting people when someone is standing right in front of you and similar things that have been a problem until now?

Be very careful to not criticize the manager or even refer to his actions–although they probably know about them. Just ask for tips and techniques.Sometimes a strong-minded new employee forgets that work instructions are not optional. It’s also easy, as you discovered, to focus on what someone else hasn’t done–but find excuses for what you haven’t done. I don’t mean that in a harsh way, it’s just a realistic view of how your manager might be seeing it.

Try getting your focus back on your own work and keeping it there. If you’ve been told to do something, do it. If you haven’t been told to do it, and there is any doubt at all about whether it is your responsibility, don’t do it until you ask a supervisor about it. That still doesn’t fix the humiliating way in which your manager chewed you out in front of others. That was wrong and there is no excuse for it. He sounds unpleasant and not able to work with people very well. But, if you want your job there, you may find you will have to let others deal with that, since it is out of your control.You’re the one living with it, so if it truly is so awful as to be unbearable, consider going to HR or to the person who hired you and asking for help with the situation.

I doubt this is the first time he has done this, so it could be the company simply tolerates it, even though they should not.I wish there was a magic way to make this better but I’m afraid there isn’t.

I’m glad you have a friend there and hope you will make many more. If you do, you’ll probably be like many others and enjoy working but at the same time you’ll dislike and not respect your manager. Be the example to other employees of how to be friendly, pleasant and uncomplaining even though work isn’t going so well. They know the issues and they’re probably watching. So, this is a great time for you to be strong in a pleasant and appropriate way.Best wishes to you as you work through this bad time with an ineffective manager. If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.