Problems With My Supervisor

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about a boss’ criticism: She told me I was boisterous, nosy, responsible for everything wrong in her department and that every e-mail or phone call she receives is a negative about me.

My boss has pulled me in her office three different times now and told me I was boisterous, nosy, responsible for everything wrong in her department and that every e-mail or phone call she receives is a negative about me. She wrote me up for swearing, which I did, but she said that people complained. When I asked them they said hell no they would never do that, why would a bunch of IT men complain about a women swearing.

She told me that I was in everyone’s business and it was affecting my work and if she had another auditor I would be out. Yet the other day I got an e-mail for doing a GREAT job which I kept. She also yelled at me because she bought us lunch and I did not eat any cause I was suddenly a vegetarian. I knows I am a vegy and have been for 10 yrs. Just lies and stupid shit that I have no idea what she is talking about. What do I do?

Signed, Feeling Picked On

DearĀ Feeling Picked On:

It sounds as though you are close to losing your job, so what you do will depend upon how much you want to keep your job and what the policies are in your organization about discipline before dismissal. You may want to look at your employee handbook to see if there is a progressive discipline program or what the protocol is for sanctions or employment actions.Your supervisor has reprimanded you about a variety of things. She may be right or she may be wrong. The best way for her to have handled it would have been to have several specific situations she could have pointed out to you. That would have allowed her to explain exactly what she meant about being nosy or the exact nature of complaints from others about you. In that way she could show you precisely what you are doing wrong and she could provide clear instruction about what you should do instead.

However, even if she didn’t document those things and give you complete instructions for improvement, in most businesses the level of dissatisfaction and displeasure she expressed is enough to talk to HR and ask for dismissal. If she has a manager, she has probably talked to him or her about it already.So, the bottom line is, what are you willing to do to keep your job and what are you willing to do to improve your reputation, if that is a problem?

First is the issue of complaints about you being nosy and sticking your nose in business that isn’t yours. If there is no way that is even possible, you could perhaps show HR that your boss is lying to cause you problems. But if there is a chance your actions could be interpreted that way, you’ll probably need to change your habits and the way you interact with people.You acknowledge that you used swear words, so that appears to be a valid complaint. Whether or not your IT friends would be truthful to you about complaining is beside the point. She has told you not to do it, so that is another habit you’ll have to decide about.

You apparently can do good work, since you got an email saying you had done a great job on something. That’s just one email and it won’t be enough to overcome the negatives but it at least points to your ability. If you have other positive messages, collect those so you can submit them if needed.You may want to talk to someone you like and respect at work and ask them if they have thoughts about your interactions with others and what might improve those. Ask your friend to be honest and let you know if some of what your boss says could be true. That is sometimes tough to hear, but it’s better to hear it and keep your job than believe it can’t be true as you pack your things to leave.None of these comments are meant to imply that your boss is doing a great job of dealing with the situation. She might not be very effective herself or she might be exaggerating many aspects of the problem.

She may dislike you and be looking for things to complain about. But, it seems that she has some valid things to use as examples, whether you think they are significant or not. Clearly the two of you will never like each other. I doubt you’ll ever be able to do more than be civil to each other. But, that might be enough for the short term and even down the line. If you like your job and want to keep it, you have few or no options except to find out what is needed in the way of change on your part, then do it. The only other option would be if you could convince your boss’s manager that your boss is out to get you and is making everything up. If the manager believes that, you might get some relief from the complaints about you.You could also try to develop better lines of communication with your boss, on the chance that over time she would appreciate your good qualities more. Best wishes with all of this. I’m sure it is frustrating and even hurtful. Hopefully it will be worth it to you to make some of the changes necessary to get back to a better situation.

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.