Problems With A Manager I Don’t Trust

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about mistrust of boss:

I went a manager and explained to her that I felt as if two employees had stolen money from me. The next day, on my off day, my phone is ringing off the hook. I’m receiving text from the employees stating that I accused them of stealing. I don’t want to go back to work but I need my job and this lady has created an uncomfortable environment.

We have this rule at my job called closed door policy which is why I told her. Also she and I have had confrontations several time because she goes on hearsay at work and feeds off of it. Just last week I told her that I felt as if she was attacking me because she made a comment at me in front of the staff. She is not the only manager that does this.

I am afraid that since everyone in this company are close friends, including the owners, that they would find a way to protect her and not me.I am so upset and I don’t know what to do. Oh also technically she is a key employee who pulls manager shifts all the time. What do I do?

Signed, Worried

Dear Worried:

It sounds as though you and your manager have many, many issues that go far past the matter of her telling your coworkers what you said. It also sounds as though you don’t see a way for things to be better, especially since it seems those above your manager would support her All of that may be true, which puts you in the situation of having to decide whether you want and need the job badly enough to find a way to tolerate it and maybe even try to improve things. Or, if your manager and you have such a problem getting along that you simply are going to have to quit one day soon.You know your situation best, so I might not be on track all the way.

But it seems to me that you have some tough decisions to make if you really, truly want to just work and get along. You will probably have to promise yourself to focus on your own work and not put yourself in a situation where you will be in conflict. If that doesn’t help you will have to go to the person higher than your manager and ask for assistance. Those are really your only options, wouldn’t you agree?

Take, for example, this recent situation. If you don’t trust your manager why did you go to her to complain about something you apparently couldn’t prove anyway? You say she operates on hearsay and feeds off it. So, you gave her something to feed on and it’s not surprising that she acted just like she’s always acted. But, even if she would have acted right, your coworkers would have found out you complained about them at some point. A closed door policy, in any workplace I know about, means the door can be closed when an employee needs to work without interruption or when a supervisor needs to talk to an employee without interruption. It doesn’t mean that anything said behind the closed door has to stay there. No policy can say that, because something might be said that requires further action.In your case, you were saying two other employees were breaking the law by stealing from you. Your manager was wrong to call the employees and tell them what you said, just to stir up trouble.

She should have asked HR or others for a full investigation. But, if she had done that, the employees would know about your accusation and you’d be in the same situation you’re in now. Try this at work: If you can remember what categories are on your performance evaluation, write those down. Or, get a copy of the next one you receive or ask to see your personnel folder and look at the last one you received and write down the categories.Use that as you guide.

Make sure on a weekly basis that you have done something to fulfill the things you’re being rated on. Keep a notebook if you need to. If you think your manager didn’t know about something you did, let her know. But see to it that you can never be accused of not doing your work–all of your work—well. That will give you a bit of protection.Next, get your workspace set up for yourself without anything that is likely to be stolen. Then, put your focus on doing your work well. Be friendly to everyone but don’t look for trouble or start trouble. Communicate with coworkers mostly about work and figure your friendships will be away from work until this situation calms down.Above all, now that you know your manager isn’t trustworthy, don’t trust her. Follow her directions, be as supportive as you can be, for the sake of the paycheck, but don’t think of her as a helpful counselor you can vent to. She’s proven that isn’t true!

In your situation some employees take the low road and complain all the more to everyone about everything. You’ll have to take the high road and say to yourself, “I want this job and am willing to do what it takes to keep it and not be miserable–and not make anyone else miserable.” I hope you can do that, for your sake. On the other hand, perhaps this is a reason for you to look elsewhere. If you have a lot of offer as an employee maybe you can find better work somewhere else and you won’t have to deal with the person who is causing so many problems right now. Best wishes to you. 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.