Author Topic: was my coworker justified in feeling attacked?  (Read 4954 times)

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Syfygeek

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Re: was my coworker justified in feeling attacked?
« Reply #15 on: October 31, 2013, 10:14:41 AM »
Because I work with file hoarders, is there any chance Complaint coworker still has that file?

If that can't be the case, then where is the file? Is it possible that File Clerk has misfiled it, and can't find it and that's why she's defensive?

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cwm

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Re: was my coworker justified in feeling attacked?
« Reply #16 on: October 31, 2013, 10:38:06 AM »
Wow, your new file clerk sounds exactly like my dad. Nothing he did was wrong, and if you tried to help improve something, it was a personal attack and how dare you be so mean to him, he's the victim here.

First of all, I'd clarify with your boss exactly what he wants from you. And if he wants you in a supervisory position to her, even just to oversee that she does the filing right and nothing else, he needs to make that clear to you and to her. The sooner the better.

I agree with PPs, don't set yourself up in an antagonistic position, put yourself on her side immediately. But if it were me, there would be no kid gloves. I'd set myself up on her side, "Let's see what's going on here so I can get back with OtherCoWorker and let them know what's going on," but past that, I would not be taking baby steps with her. If she was making a mistake, I'd tell her that what she's doing is a valid way to do things, but it's not your company's ways of doing things, which is how things need to be done now.

I've had to help co-workers like this. And here's what I said to them. "I'm not attacking you, I'm trying to help you. I haven't said anything mean to you, all I've done is try to explain why we have to do things in a different way. I'm trying to prevent problems down the road and keep other people from attacking you because they think you don't know how to do things. Now, let's get back to this filing, show me what you've done in this step."

blahblahblah

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Re: was my coworker justified in feeling attacked?
« Reply #17 on: October 31, 2013, 10:44:18 AM »
Quote
Because I work with file hoarders, is there any chance Complaint coworker still has that file? 

If that can't be the case, then where is the file? Is it possible that File Clerk has misfiled it, and can't find it and that's why she's defensive?
I didn't want to go into too many additional details, because it's kinda long and all over the place and a lot of it doesn't make sense, but here goes (in case you're really bored and need to read a terribly exciting story (lol) about filing mishaps) - No. Complainer was telling the truth. In fact, we ended up later locating the file that was supposedly checked out to her. Strangely, that file wasn't even the volume that Complainer was looking for. It was weird. In her file request, she made it pretty clear that she was looking for the most recent volume file for a large client. That file was NOT checked out in our system. Neither was the second or third most recent volume. The file that Clerk claimed was still checked out to Complainer was the fourth or so down the line. I don't know WHY she was looking at that particular volume because there was nothing in Complainer's email to indicate that that was the volume she was looking for.

So then File Clerk found that older volume and was getting ready to send Complainer an email saying that it was still checked out to her... This was before I realized that she was referring to the older volume being checked out, so when I saw that file on her desk, I didn't think anything of it, assuming that she had managed to find an older volume but not the recent one that Complainer was looking for.

But then on a whim I decided to look in the system myself. And that's when I found out that the most recent volume was listed in our system as "available", meaning that it WASN'T checked out to Complainer the way File Clerk was saying. Hmmm. Interesting. So I went to the drawer where that file was kept. Took me all of ten seconds to locate it. Sigh. I told File Clerk that I had found it, she insisted that it hadn't been there before and told me that she'd take the file to Complainer. She did, leaving a note on the file saying that it had been located in "another drawer." (Nice way of implying that it had been misfiled when she had actually been looking in the wrong place and at the wrong volume!)

Long story short, it was all File Clerk's fault and IMO Complainer had every right to be miffed with her attitude. One reason you don't want to imply that the other person is lying about returning a file is because you might end up with egg on your face as a result, haha!

LeveeWoman

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Re: was my coworker justified in feeling attacked?
« Reply #18 on: October 31, 2013, 11:20:06 AM »
Quote
Because I work with file hoarders, is there any chance Complaint coworker still has that file?

If that can't be the case, then where is the file? Is it possible that File Clerk has misfiled it, and can't find it and that's why she's defensive?
I didn't want to go into too many additional details, because it's kinda long and all over the place and a lot of it doesn't make sense, but here goes (in case you're really bored and need to read a terribly exciting story (lol) about filing mishaps) - No. Complainer was telling the truth. In fact, we ended up later locating the file that was supposedly checked out to her. Strangely, that file wasn't even the volume that Complainer was looking for. It was weird. In her file request, she made it pretty clear that she was looking for the most recent volume file for a large client. That file was NOT checked out in our system. Neither was the second or third most recent volume. The file that Clerk claimed was still checked out to Complainer was the fourth or so down the line. I don't know WHY she was looking at that particular volume because there was nothing in Complainer's email to indicate that that was the volume she was looking for.

So then File Clerk found that older volume and was getting ready to send Complainer an email saying that it was still checked out to her... This was before I realized that she was referring to the older volume being checked out, so when I saw that file on her desk, I didn't think anything of it, assuming that she had managed to find an older volume but not the recent one that Complainer was looking for.

But then on a whim I decided to look in the system myself. And that's when I found out that the most recent volume was listed in our system as "available", meaning that it WASN'T checked out to Complainer the way File Clerk was saying. Hmmm. Interesting. So I went to the drawer where that file was kept. Took me all of ten seconds to locate it. Sigh. I told File Clerk that I had found it, she insisted that it hadn't been there before and told me that she'd take the file to Complainer. She did, leaving a note on the file saying that it had been located in "another drawer." (Nice way of implying that it had been misfiled when she had actually been looking in the wrong place and at the wrong volume!)

Long story short, it was all File Clerk's fault and IMO Complainer had every right to be miffed with her attitude. One reason you don't want to imply that the other person is lying about returning a file is because you might end up with egg on your face as a result, haha!

If she returns the files to the cabinets, wouldn't its being misfiled still be her fault?

veronaz

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Re: was my coworker justified in feeling attacked?
« Reply #19 on: October 31, 2013, 11:32:15 AM »
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it was all File Clerk's fault and IMO Complainer had every right to be miffed with her attitude.

And Boss wants you to use kid gloves when dealing with File Clerk?  Really?  ::)

At the very least, she should be written up/disciplined.

While I realize turnover is a pain, I'd rather deal with that than deal with File Clerk's mistakes, over-sensivity and attitude.

BarensMom

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Re: was my coworker justified in feeling attacked?
« Reply #20 on: October 31, 2013, 11:42:17 AM »
I would go back to Boss and tell her what happened with Complainer, File Clerk, and the file.

File Clerk was wrong and way oversensitive.  It obviously was a misunderstanding on File Clerk's part, made worse by her defensiveness.

Boss needs to make it clear to File Clerk that you are supposed to help her and, when you question, it is not a personal attack.

redboothe

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Re: was my coworker justified in feeling attacked?
« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2013, 12:56:56 PM »
While I think it does sounds like your coworker was being unnecessarily defensive I think that the fact that you are not her supervisor but are overseeing her work probably does have something to do with it. I can understand how she would feel defensive if she felt like people were essentially tattling on her by talking to you (who she sees as a peer not a manager) - not speaking to her directly, or to her supervisor if there was an issue.

If I were you I would clear up what it means to "oversee" her work with your boss and with her. If your boss wants you to oversee her work - which is essentially supervising her - he needs to make that clear to you and her, giving you the positional power you require to address issues. If not, I would suggest staying out of it and telling complaining coworkers to take their issues to her direct boss.

BeagleMommy

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Re: was my coworker justified in feeling attacked?
« Reply #22 on: October 31, 2013, 01:13:53 PM »
Handling someone who admits they're "oversensitive" with kid gloves is like pouring gasoline on a fire.  You never know when they will erupt.  It might not be now, but something will set them off.  It will happen often.

I predict lots of conflict with this person.

Goosey

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Re: was my coworker justified in feeling attacked?
« Reply #23 on: October 31, 2013, 01:30:53 PM »
Okay - a couple questions:

Why didn't the person on the phone tell you how she was filing incorrectly? Seems like it would be much easier to say, "Instead of doing ________, we do __________ here, k?" rather than "Okay, what do you do because it's wrong"

And - why didn't the person who talked to YOU talk to HER. It can feel embarassing, like being put on report when you've made an error.

She's super defensive and sensitive, I do think you should report her behavior, but you should also address this "call a third party to complain about her" thing too.

Ms_Cellany

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Re: was my coworker justified in feeling attacked?
« Reply #24 on: October 31, 2013, 01:34:36 PM »
The Sweetie gets this sort of thing a lot from her team. She asks, "Do you want to do X (essential task that helps your sales team)?" and gets "You don't care about me!  Our team gets rotten sales! You don't do Q, Y, or Z for us!"

Well, that's as may be, but the question was "Do you want to do X?"
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blahblahblah

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Re: was my coworker justified in feeling attacked?
« Reply #25 on: October 31, 2013, 01:44:22 PM »
Quote
Why didn't the person on the phone tell you how she was filing incorrectly?
She did, or at least she tried, but Complainer didn't know exactly *what* Clerk's filing method was, just that it didn't jive with what we were used to. So she was just describing what she was looking at in the file, which was weird and unclear. So I wanted to know what Clerk's actual filing MO was.

Quote
And - why didn't the person who talked to YOU talk to HER. It can feel embarassing, like being put on report when you've made an error.
Maybe for the same reason I ended up going to the boss after Clerk basically dismissed me and said she didn't have to talk to me. At that point I felt like I couldn't talk to her because she'd just snap at me and not listen to me anyway. Complainer only came to me after Clerk essentially implied that she was lying about returning the file.

Quote
I would go back to Boss and tell her what happened with Complainer, File Clerk, and the file.
Oh, I did. I'm not sure if he addressed the mix-up itself because the bigger concern was her attitude/responses (the errors after all can be corrected, but not if the person cops an attitude about it!), but he did tell Clerk that she could not talk to people like that.

camlan

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Re: was my coworker justified in feeling attacked?
« Reply #26 on: October 31, 2013, 02:47:14 PM »
While there *might* have been a slightly better way to handle the issue, the fact remains that the co-worker is being a bit Special Snowflakey here.

When you start a new job, you make mistakes. It's the nature of the beast. It's impossible to take in all the new instructions, the new technology and software, the new places, the new people, and keep it all straight from the get-go.

As a new employee, I've been given instruction/feedback/complaints from everyone from the owner of the company to the receptionist to the janitor to my peers. It never occurred to me that the person saying, "We do X this way here," didn't have the right to say that. They've been with the company longer; they know what's going on.

If I'm a department manager and I'm doing something that makes difficulties for the receptionist, I don't think she needs to call my boss to deal with it. S/he has every right to tell me to fix it.

If the person training me is in actuality my peer or even my subordinate, they still have the right, even the *responsibility*, to tell me when I make a mistake, or question when things aren't as they are supposed to be.

And if I, as the new employee, decide to make a change to an old and well-established system, it is my responsibility to make sure everyone knows about said change, so that the company can continue to function smoothly.

In a business environment, you shouldn't have to take 10 minutes out of your day to find the correct, soothing, ultra-polite words to ask a colleague the simple question, "What's going on with the files? Sam can't find the XX volume and it's not checked out to anyone."

If you are running to your boss and complaining about that, what on earth will you do when you actually make a big mistake (and we all come to the Big Mistake sooner or later)?
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finecabernet

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Re: was my coworker justified in feeling attacked?
« Reply #27 on: November 01, 2013, 01:09:31 AM »
Wow, your new file clerk sounds exactly like my dad. Nothing he did was wrong, and if you tried to help improve something, it was a personal attack and how dare you be so mean to him, he's the victim here.

First of all, I'd clarify with your boss exactly what he wants from you. And if he wants you in a supervisory position to her, even just to oversee that she does the filing right and nothing else, he needs to make that clear to you and to her. The sooner the better.

I agree with PPs, don't set yourself up in an antagonistic position, put yourself on her side immediately. But if it were me, there would be no kid gloves. I'd set myself up on her side, "Let's see what's going on here so I can get back with OtherCoWorker and let them know what's going on," but past that, I would not be taking baby steps with her. If she was making a mistake, I'd tell her that what she's doing is a valid way to do things, but it's not your company's ways of doing things, which is how things need to be done now.

I've had to help co-workers like this. And here's what I said to them. "I'm not attacking you, I'm trying to help you. I haven't said anything mean to you, all I've done is try to explain why we have to do things in a different way. I'm trying to prevent problems down the road and keep other people from attacking you because they think you don't know how to do things. Now, let's get back to this filing, show me what you've done in this step."

I have been in your coworker's oversensitive shoes! You never know what kind of baggage over past experiences someone can bring to a job that makes them act like that. The above approach would completely disarm me and make me drop all defensiveness. Your coworker, annoying and unprofessional as her behavior is, is likely scared and insecure.

ShadowLady

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Re: was my coworker justified in feeling attacked?
« Reply #28 on: November 01, 2013, 02:15:51 PM »
I wonder if you can try to suggest  to her wording when she has something checked out, but person says it is not.  Something like "Tell caller that "the system says file is checked out, but let me check to see if it has been mis-filed, and I will get back to you"". 

That gives caller the impression that she is trying to help them, and gives her an out if the file really has been mis-filed, or even if she is mistaken.

oogyda

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Re: was my coworker justified in feeling attacked?
« Reply #29 on: November 04, 2013, 01:44:22 PM »
Given that it sounds like you were the one who escalated to DirectBoss level, I think coworker is a little justified in feeling attacked. 

She got it from Complainer, DirectBoss and you. 

Personally, I think you should have stayed out of it from the beginning by telling Complainer to talk to coworker herself, or DirectBoss. 
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