Two Managers With A Relationship Gang Up On Me

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about job boss/friendship conflict:

I’m 24 and I’ve been with my company for about a year and a half. The operations manager 26 (also my roommate) and myself do not see eye to eye at times, typical in business. Most times we work out our issues fairly easily but now we have this problem. Another employee at the management level, 26 (female, and the ops manager have become more than just co-workers.

They deny the personal relationship to the end but like I said, he’s is my roommate I see a lot. I find it hard to believe that it’s strictly platonic when she is over 2 to 3 times a week making dinner and sleeping in his bed, when she lives about 3 blocks away.Now my problem is that every disagreement between the Ops manager and myself will result in her butting-in and agreeing with everything he has to say, and disagreeing with me no matter how asinine his argument may be. Very frustrating to deal on a day to day basis, not to mention I have to deal with her at home now as well. Any advice?

Signed, Stuck in the middle of managers

Dear Stuck in the middle of managers:

Wow, you DO have a problem, don’t you? I’m assuming you are a male; that your boss, the Ops Manager is a male; and the other manager is a female. If the Ops Manager is your immediate boss, it would seem to be a problem that you are roommates with him, just as it would be if you were of another gender and had a relationship with him.However, apparently your company doesn’t care about that situation. (You can see why rooming with a boss is a problem though–and now you can see it doubly!)

Let’s think about this as if your roommate did not have a personal relationship with your manager. Would she normally become involved in communications with the Ops Manager and the people he supervises? Does she usually jump into disputes with the Ops Manager and other employees, or only with you? That is a good thing to use to remind your roommate about.Even when you take out the personal relationships you can see that it is not a good way for managers to act. Your conversations with your supervisor should not be open for anyone to join in, unless you both have asked for that person’s input, or if a higher level manager knows about it and approves it.

The best person to stop this is your roommate. If you know each other well enough to room together, surely you can talk openly about it. Tell him how irritating this has become. Ask him to consider what he’d do if some other manager butted into his arguments with an employee.Point out how it hurts the work situation AND the home situation for things to be this way. You may want to ask him if he is looking for reasons for you to move out. (That might startle him enough to get his attention. And, if he’s planning on it, at least you’ll know.) If that doesn’t work, you have only two other choices: Talk to the female manager (with or without your roommate present) or talk to a higher manager.

Unfortunately, moving out wouldn’t really help because they could still gang up on you at work.I think it is probable that your Ops Manager doesn’t realize how bad it has become for you. So, maybe just talking to him about it will encourage him to tell the other manager to stop becoming involved in your disputes. It is almost inevitable that they will break up their relationship at some point. If not, they’ll get married. Either way you won’t have the same situation to deal with for long.Best wishes as you work to resolve this. I’d be interested in knowing how it works out, so keep us informed if you have the time and wish to do so.

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.