The Cost of Integrity
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  1. #1
    Registered User daughter of pearl's Avatar
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    Default The Cost of Integrity

    So I have this crazy situation in my work place. My supervisor is basically bullying one of my colleagues. This colleague is not very experienced in the field but is eager and ready to work hard, and instead of encouraging her and focusing on the things she does well, and then supporting her to do more, our boss yells at her and makes her feel stupid.

    Last night, my colleague called me in tears after a run-in with our boss. I do not receive anything remotely like the same treatment, because I have actually more experience than my boss, and I think she knows if push came to shove, I can "take her".

    But I feel terrible for my colleague and do not know how to support her, short of blowing the whistle on my boss, and creating a massive issue.

    Help!? Suggestions?!

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    Registered User Linus's Avatar
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    What about talking with the boss? Perhaps they let a bad day get to the better of them? Is this regular behaviour by them?

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    Registered User Contrary Housewife's Avatar
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    There's little you can do except give her your own support. Her options are to suck it up or look for a new job. If she 'reports' her boss or responds to him in kind she will loose her job, one way or the other.

    Abusive managers are not new. My husband left his last job because of a guy like this.
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    Registered User Greebo's Avatar
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    Start by talking to the supervisor directly.

    Your title - "The cost of integrity" suggests you think you may suffer somewhat for maintaining yours. I would counter that by saying that for some things, dollars are not an adequate expression of value.

    Your integrity is priceless - and if maintaining your integrity costs you a job, it may cause short term problems, but those problems will be a small cost compared to the cost of your integrity.

  6. #5
    Registered User daughter of pearl's Avatar
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    I just feel really strongly that I can't stand by and watch someone be treated so badly! Greebo, I completely agree with everything you said. At the end of the day, I have to be able to live with myself, and turning a blind eye while someone else is being bullied doesn't sit right with me.

    Because I work in the public sector, this kind of supervision is REALLY frowned upon, even if the person in question is a total screw up, which is not the case with this woman.

    This was not just a bad day, this is a pattern that has existed (and is escalating!) since January.

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    Registered User Greebo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daughter of pearl View Post
    I just feel really strongly that I can't stand by and watch someone be treated so badly! Greebo, I completely agree with everything you said. At the end of the day, I have to be able to live with myself, and turning a blind eye while someone else is being bullied doesn't sit right with me.

    Because I work in the public sector, this kind of supervision is REALLY frowned upon, even if the person in question is a total screw up, which is not the case with this woman.

    This was not just a bad day, this is a pattern that has existed (and is escalating!) since January.
    And because you work in the public sector - they have policies in place for dealing with these kinds of situations.

    Step 1 : Address the issue directly with the person involved.
    Step 2 : If that is unsuccessful, go up the chain of command.
    Step 3 : Repeat as necessary.

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    Registered User melanies's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by daughter of pearl View Post
    So I have this crazy situation in my work place. My supervisor is basically bullying one of my colleagues. This colleague is not very experienced in the field but is eager and ready to work hard, and instead of encouraging her and focusing on the things she does well, and then supporting her to do more, our boss yells at her and makes her feel stupid.

    Last night, my colleague called me in tears after a run-in with our boss. I do not receive anything remotely like the same treatment, because I have actually more experience than my boss, and I think she knows if push came to shove, I can "take her".

    But I feel terrible for my colleague and do not know how to support her, short of blowing the whistle on my boss, and creating a massive issue.

    Help!? Suggestions?!

    So, you don't think that the boss feels threatened by her? That's fairly typical when people do this sort of thing.

    I'd encourage the employee to stick up for herself and give her all the support that she needs to do it without becoming entangled. But, there's usually a price for it, and it comes with accepting the possibility that you may lose your job. You just have to plan for that and make sure that you are in the process of seeking other employment just in case.

    Are you telling her she's not stupid and she is capable? It's probably the best support you can give her right now

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    I don't know...I've been in these types of situations before and it seems that I have been the one to get burned while the two individuals in question enjoy their jobs and go about their merry way.

    I would tell the colleague that the she needs to stick up for herself and if there is truly bad behavior going on in regards to the supervisor to report the supervisor. At the most I'd probably say that I would vouch for the bad behavior by the supervisor.

    If it were me, and the colleague didn't want to stick up for herself for the most part I would stay out of it. If I felt compelled to act (because of the level of abuse), I'd report the supervisor and say that the supervisor's actions is creating a hostile work environment.

    [edited out this sentence because I cannot write the thought out clearly and convey the proper tone ]

    My thought is that you should do what you feel you need to, but balance that out with knowing what your colleague would want. You might get involved and the colleague might not back you up (have had that happen) - and then you're the one looking bad.

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    Registered User Nada.Leona's Avatar
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    My DH was in such a situation recently. His colleage who has no business in his department kept coming in and giving him crap about things and making the workplace unpleasant.

    Finally, after another colleage had spoken tothis guy for him (DH didn't ask him to, his colleage just spoke to this guy on his own) my DH said to this guy, "Look, you have to stop talking down to me. I agree with what you're saying but you have to stop treating me this way."

    the colleage argued that he wasn't saying anything out of turn and DH interrupted him ad said, "No, it's the way you're talking to me. You have to stop it. You have to treat me with respect."

    There are two points that need to be addressed here: 1. Your coworker is an adult and it is his/her responsibilty to speak up for herself and say something. 2. You cannot fight others' battles for them. What happens when someone else gives this coworker a hard time? People have these experiences in order to learn how to deal with them. You can't do it for them.

    Your role in this situation is to be a friend and encourage and support your coworker. But it is not your place to speak to her boss about it.

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    Registered User Libby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LadyNada View Post
    Your role in this situation is to be a friend and encourage and support your coworker. But it is not your place to speak to her boss about it.
    I agree with that statement.

    Some companies have a 'whistle blowing' policy - its done confidentially. If it really bothers you that much to see on a daily basis, you can call in a complaint about how you see others being treated, w/o leaving names and identifying anyone or encourage your coworker to call in directly.

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    A similar work situation from many years ago. New boss at company comes in and immediately starts harassing a co-worker that was also a friend. I'll call her Sue. I knew that the harassment was going on cuz' she'd told me and I offered her support to stand up to said boss.

    One afternoon, I was walking thru her area of the plant (I rarely had to be there as I worked in engineering and she was accounting). I saw said boss had her literally backed up against the wall with a finger in her chest and was screaming at her. I choked and paused and said "Excuse me, that's not right.

    Boss told me to leave. I refused. He said "I'm your boss and you'll do as you're told" Me - "You are my boss but I'm not leaving without Sue. Your behavior is out of line." Boss 'let' Sue and I leave. She was fired that afternoon and I was fired the next day. Neither one of us could use them as a reference.

    So - Pick your battles carefully.

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    Registered User Greebo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JerryG View Post
    So - Pick your battles carefully.
    Are you saying you regret your decision?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Greebo View Post
    Are you saying you regret your decision?
    No - I don't regret my decision. But I still wonder if I could have handled it better. There was no one higher in the chain that I could have gone to. I did the right thing by not leaving Sue to his abuse, but . . . .Losing my job was a major thump in the head.

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    Registered User Greebo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JerryG View Post
    No - I don't regret my decision. But I still wonder if I could have handled it better. There was no one higher in the chain that I could have gone to. I did the right thing by not leaving Sue to his abuse, but . . . .Losing my job was a major thump in the head.
    Perhaps it could have been handled differently - but if the boss was being physically confrontational - in other words threatening - I doubt it.

    I think 100% you did the right thing.

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    Registered User krbshappy71's Avatar
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    A friend of mine stood up for me, risking her own job, and it was because of her willingness to risk it just for me that I drew courage to follow through myself with the official paperwork, the HR discussions, to get the situation documented and handled. I wanted to hide and avoid and ignore and suffer in silence and she refused to watch her friend go through that. I'm forever grateful and have stood up for myself since then, I don't want to be in that situation again.

    That being said, had she taken that risk for me and I still didn't follow through, then I would not have blamed her for turning a blind eye later. It probably would have ruined our friendship as well. You can only help people so far as they will allow you to help.

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