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Conflict

Here are the questions filed under this category. To read Ken's advice on any item, click on the link "Read Ken's Answer."


We have three tiers of sales, and one of the sales reps on the top tier has a bad attitude and is not a team player. When she receives any feedback she feels is negative, she becomes angry and refuses to accept it. We would like your suggestions on how to work on changing her attitude.
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I love my job in this fast-paced environment. My job is very detailed, and if something is not done exactly right, the boss yells and curses at me in front of everyone. We are all women, but if others make mistakes, she does not treat them like this. I admire and respect this woman, but after our conflicts, I leave upset and hurt. After each episode, she leaves an apology on my desk. I cry after reading it and wonder how things can be different.
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I manage a department of five people, and when one of the principals of the company came in for a visit, I answered one of his questions. No sooner had I done so when one of my employees corrected my grammar. I was shocked and annoyed, but I didn't say anything to her about it at the time. The irony is that my grammar was not incorrect. When an employee does this, should I say something?
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I work with someone who seems to hate me for no reason. Perhaps he is jealous of my working relationship with our boss. Recently one of my co-workers told me that this person has been talking trash behind my back to other members of the team. I told my manager, but he is hesitant to do anything about it. I don't know how to deal with this.
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I have been at this company for a year, and there is one woman who still will not speak to me, does not respond when I ask her questions, and will not acknowledge my presence in a room. I am friendly to all, and I have tried asking her if everything is okay, but she just grunts and shrugs. What can I do?
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I am 28 and the youngest employee in my office of 35. All the others have more experience, yet I make the same money. Many of them have poor attitudes and don't put forth much effort. They treat me as a threat and make bad remarks about me. I do not know if I should ignore the comments of these slackers, confront them, or go to my boss. What's a rookie to do?
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I arrived late for a meeting because I was on an important phone call with a vendor. When I quietly sat down, the manager running the meeting gave me a look of disgust and made a degrading comment. Afterwards I told him that I did not appreciate what he did, and his response was for me to get to the meeting on time. I told him about the call and he did not care. What do you think?
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I used to enjoy working here, but the company recently overhauled my department and fired some of our best employees. The new director hired a group of her friends as replacements. The new people dislike those of us from the former regime, and they have no experience in this field. The HR manager said that if I cannot follow the new lead, I should move on. Is it time to move on?
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We work in an open office area and generally conduct our work within earshot of each other. After a recent meeting with a customer, the representative who works at the desk next to mine told me that my customer relations skills need work. Then she mentioned at least ten things that I did incorrectly. I told her I didn't agree with anything she said, and now she doesn't talk to me. How do I straighten this out?
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I recently received my salary increase and it was much lower than I expected. In doing some research, it seems my manager lied to me about the average increase in the district as well as on other items. How do I confront my manager that she is a liar or at least dispensing misleading information to me?
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A year ago, my boss hired "Joe" to help me with my workload. Joe gets along well with the boss, but everyone else in the office is afraid of him. He has a violent temper and swears constantly. When someone talks nicely to him, he'll make a violent threat like, "How about I smash your head in with a sledgehammer?" I told my boss that we don't feel safe with Joe working here, but he refuses to do anything. In fact, he thinks the whole situation is funny. Should I search for a job elsewhere before Joe gets totally out of hand?
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I am the newest employee in my department, and I believe I have been doing excellent work. When a supervisory position opened up, I was very fortunate and the position was given to me. Now there is serious resentment toward me from several employees who have been here longer. How do I deal with it?
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My manager picks on me and makes annoying comments. For example, yesterday he walked by my area and said it's time to clean up the mess. Everyone else's area is just as messy, but he doesn't say this to them. Besides, I clean it up at the end of the day. What should I do?
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I meant to tell my boss about a problem that developed here, but I got busy and forgot. She then got in huge trouble, and now she's saying that I did this to make her look bad. That's not true, but I don't know how to convince her.
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I do not mind it when my employees disagree with me, and I am more than willing to discuss issues with them and change my thinking. The problem is that I have one employee who always argues when he disagrees with me. It is never a calm discussion. What's the best way to handle him?
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There is one person in our department who has been making sugar-coated mean little comments to me and taking shots at my work whenever she can. When she did it again last week, I completely lost it and blew up at her. The problem is that I did this just as our manager appeared, and I ended up getting a verbal warning. Now what should I do?
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One of the managers from another department was telling me why he fired a female whom he recently hired. He said that since the department already had two females, he never should have hired a third one since women are more likely to bicker than men. He concluded by saying that he won't make that mistake again. I was dumbfounded. This guy has an MBA. Shouldn't he know better?
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I work in residential real estate sales, and after my partner and I closed a very substantial deal, he gave me an expensive necklace. When my husband saw it, he became upset and said that it was inappropriate and I should give it back. I want to keep it. What do you suggest?
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I work at a company in a position that I love, and my superiors are just wonderful. I work alone, but the problem is the co-workers. Some of them play games and say things to me that are hurtful, and others just ignore me. I talk to my co-workers but I don't get very far. I would like to get along better. What should I do?
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My manager and I are miles apart on political issues, and we have had some heated discussions over the past few months. We have fundamentally different opinions, and I am concerned that this is going to interfere with his assessment of me. If he opens a subject, I cannot sit in silence. What do you suggest?
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I have been over a research unit for 3 years, and I have memos from previous managers supporting my good work. My unit was transferred to a new division, and the home office sent a manager to temporarily run it until one can be hired, and he and I have not seen eye to eye on anything. He takes no heed to the fact that I have always run the unit. He gave me a very low evaluation, and he writes me up for every little thing. I feel my job is in danger. What can I do?
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We work in a small professional office, and a new associate was just hired. He is bright and obviously competent, but his values and political views are diametrically opposed to mine in many important areas. The problem is that he is always ready to debate, and he has an answer for everything. I don't want to go through this every day, and I don't know how to stop it. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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My manager made a commitment to phone me at a specific time on a specific day, and then called 2 hours later and started the conversation as if there were no delay at all. I told him that I had to move a bunch of work around as a result of the delay, and he didn't even respond. Your thoughts?
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After a very upsetting meeting with my boss, I walked out of his office and muttered an expletive about him that no one was supposed to hear. He heard it, wrote me up, and warned me that if I don't change my ways, I'm out. I don't think it was fair to be punished for something he was not supposed to hear. What do you think?
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I need regular information from the business office, but it is always a battle to get anything from them. I call them, e-mail them, and visit them, and I am able to gradually get what I need, but this is a big waste of time. How do I get them to do their job?
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When I disagreed with my boss in the past, he would persist until I backed off. As long as I agree with him, we work well together. Now I hear myself saying things I don't even believe just to stay in his good graces. I am in mid-career, and I am wondering if this is what I want to be doing. Any suggestions?
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I have a co-worker who has a chronically negative attitude. She takes little digs at me and treats me like a fool. She's fond of "beating a dead horse" by dwelling continuously on the negative aspect of things. Her attitude bothers me, but so far I've managed to keep a lid on my temper. I'm afraid one day I'm going to let her have it. I nearly emailed my manager, the CEO, but I'm not sure if I should.
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I lead a team of twelve Customer Service Representatives, and there is one rep who constantly ignores instruction and has an excuse for every error he makes. He is confrontational, unprofessional, and causes disharmony among the other team members. Many of them have voiced their concern about him, especially his temper. He has strengths, but his weaknesses and attitude far outweigh them. I have told my manager about his performance and inability to mesh with the others, but management seems to want to keep him and develop him. What can I do short of termination?
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I had a healthy disagreement with the owner's son. He is a difficult person who comes in whenever he wants and then issues orders. I told him why something could not be done his way, and he barked at me and I barked back. I'm sure he told his father. Should I say something or let it go? This kid has troubles with just about everyone here.
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At a meeting attended by most of the staff, the president of the company insulted me in front of everyone, and they all had a big laugh. I could have brought out an email right there to prove he was wrong, but since he is the president, I held back. I'm still annoyed, and I wonder if I should say something.
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I made a mistake on a project and I am trying to correct it. One of my co-workers found out about it and told my boss. It is just a matter of time before my boss calls me into his office for one of his trademark verbal bashings. What is the best way to prepare for this?
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I sent a harsh email to a co-worker when I was upset with his work on our project. Two days later, my manager ripped me in an email saying I have no right to send reprimands to a co-worker. What do you think about this, and what should I do now?
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I am fairly new here, and my job is okay, but people here seem to take pleasure when others fail. They are always looking for ways to make themselves look better in the eyes of management, and make others look worse. I am very uncomfortable with all of this. What's the best thing to do?
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I work in accounting and I report to the controller who reports to the owner. The controller gives me my assignments, but then the owner gives me other projects. My manager insists that I am only to do what he says and ignore the owner's requests. He says he'll deal with the owner. Whose orders should I follow?
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I am on a taskforce that is working on longer term goals and strategies for the company, and there is one individual who has a contrary opinion to everything the rest of us agree on. No matter what approach we take, he seems to pride himself in criticizing it and pushing for things to be done his way. How do you deal with someone like this?
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I am a supervisor for a small manufacturing company. While I was on a trip, my lead man and a shop employee had a conflict, and this is not the first time. The lead man said the employee questions everything he says. The employee said the lead man is mean and shows no respect. I have met with them individually and separately, and we agreed to work together, but now I am at a loss for what to do.
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One of my co-workers does most of his communicating by email, and he can be very antagonistic online. In today's email, he basically accused me of being incompetent, and he copied my boss on the note. I sent him a fairly harsh note in return, and the battle went on until I just stopped. How do you deal with someone like this?
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At a recent meeting, our manager asked for ideas to help sales of one particular product. I had discussed a couple of my ideas with a co-worker several days before this meeting, and my co-worker presented them as his own at the meeting. I confronted him afterwards and he said he had the same ideas before I mentioned them to him. What do you think about this?
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I just terminated an employee and she became very upset and hostile. She screamed at me, insulted me, and was out of control. I told her to calm down, but that only incensed her further. I am shaken by what happened here, and I wonder what to do if this happens again.
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Most of the departments under me work well together, but there are two that do not get along. I have worked with the department managers on this problem, but to no avail. We have brought these employees together specifically to improve their working relationship, but all they do is bicker. How do we get them to work as a team?
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My manager snapped at me in public and I snapped back at him. I know he's upset with me, but I'm not sure if I should let it pass and avoid turning it into a bigger issue, or if I should meet with him to discuss it. What do you think?
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My manager's political views are very different from mine, and I am concerned that if he finds out, my chances for promotion are going to suffer. Whenever a group of us talk politics, such as at lunch, I nod and say very little. I'm not happy about this, but I don't want to hurt my chances to advance. Is there a better way to handle this?
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Two of my co-workers do not get along, and whenever our manager is out, which happens often, they start arguing. I don't want to be branded as a person who runs to the manager whenever there is a problem, but this situation is upsetting everyone in the office. What should I do?
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I do not like a particular employee who reports to me. He's doing a decent job, but his personality grates on me. How do I deal with this?
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I just gave my supervisor notice that I have accepted an offer for another job. She said she will need to give me an exit interview before I leave. She is an impossible boss and I've waited a long time for the chance to tell her off. Since I'm never coming back, should I do it?
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There is a new employee in our work group who is smart, efficient, and friendly. Most of the people I work with want nothing to do with her, but I like her. I don't want to alienate my co-workers, but I refuse to ignore her. Is there a way to reconcile this?
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One of my fellow managers charged into my office and started ranting and raving about how one of my employees made some mistakes and caused his employees to be late on our joint project. I barked back at him, and I knew immediately that was a mistake. What is the best way to handle this type of situation?
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For the past year, I have been working in a small office with one other person. We worked well together until two months ago when a new employee was brought on to join us. She befriended my co-worker, and now it's the two of them against me. I am upset with both of them, and I'm not sure what to do now.
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There is one employee here who teases everyone, and I do mean everyone, and his comments are not funny. When I tried to tease him back, he became even more insulting and would not let up. His comments are not sexual or anything like that. They are just obnoxious. Since very few people here are bothered by this, what can I do?
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There is a very senior person here who is mean, divisive, and uncaring. I can't imagine why he is still on board. He is not team-oriented, and he demands that everything be done his way. People who report to him think he is a dictator. Why would a company keep someone like this?
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We hired a new employee, and on her third day she copied a personal hundred page document on our copier. When I asked her about it, she said it is a book she is writing, and her previous employer did not mind if employees use the copiers for personal business. When I told her it is not permitted here, she said she will follow the rule, but it is ridiculous. She has some valuable skills, and I'm wondering how to deal with her.
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I recently started a new position, and the division head is a jerk. I have already seen two employees quit because of her, and I was told that morale is low and turnover is high because of her. I was also told she produces outstanding results, and that is why the company keeps her. Some employees have even adopted her style. This week I experienced her overly demanding style, and I donít think I can last here. What do you suggest?
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I am on a committee with three other managers, and we are analyzing customer service systems. In order to update the vice president of operations on our progress, we agreed that one of us would write a summary that would include comments from all of us. I had some important points that conflicted with those of the individual writing the summary, so he eliminated them and then emailed it. I am furious. What should I do?
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My manager gave me some very important responsibilities on a major project. I have had to meet with managers all over the company, and they are now coming to me for decisions, and thatís the problem. I have no decision-making power. My manager is calling all of the shots, undoing things that I have done, and saying that all decisions are his. How am I supposed to work on this project?
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I have a co-worker who constantly finds fault in all of us. She brings up petty stuff to management, and she yells at other co-workers, is very confrontational, and becomes angry at the drop of a dime. This past weekend she purposely pulled a stunt that caused me to get written up. Iíve tried to resolve conflicts with her personally, and Iíve talked to management about her, but they almost seem afraid of her. What can I do now?
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When one of the managers asked me to handle a very basic chore, I emailed back that I thought his administrative assistant should do it. She has more time, and itís really more her job than mine. She saw my email and is furious with me. I ended up doing the task, and I apologized to her several times and even brought her a gift. She is still mad at me and has refused to talk to me for the past three weeks. Do you have any suggestions?
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Salaries are kept confidential here, but through an email mistake, all of the management salaries in our company were sent to me. I am in management, and I was annoyed that several managers with the same title as mine are making more money. Should I confront my manager?
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I was at a management meeting when one of the other managers said that several major problems have been caused by my employees. When I tried to defend myself and them, he interrupted me several times, and our manager (who was running this meeting) cut me off several times, too. After a few minutes, our manager stopped the argument and said itís time to move on. The meeting continued, but Iím still burning and wonder what to do.
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At a meeting to address improving one department within the company, attended by three of our managers, another staff member and I, the staff member right from the beginning of the meeting launched a personal verbal attack upon me. One manager tried to stop it saying this was a personal matter that should be addressed by just the two of us outside of work hours. Yet the meeting continued with her slandering me and making damaging comments concerning my character and work ethics. One manager said it sounded like she was jealous of my special treatment and he went on to say special treatment occurs everywhere and with anyone and coworkers should not compare. What this staff member was jealous of concerning me is out of my control--it is mandated by my immediate manager due to the circumstances of my duty hours being different each day to accommodate our clients. Many of her insults directed at me were defended by two of my managers. Twice the third manager seems to endorse the other staff member's complaints so I professional gave my reasoning for my actions. For example, the staff member said I take to much time with clients and the third manager agreed, so I explained I felt I was providing thorough and needed information and letting them ask all their questions. Was this okay to explain/defend myself? This coworker was speaking with venom and even throw out mean things (like pointing out a medical condition I have). Should the managers have let this meeting continue when they could never keep her on the focus of the meeting because she kept attacking me?
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Hello. I apologize in advance for the long story. I work in an animal supply store and get many questions from customers about how to care of a specific animal, and this can take close to 30 minutes in certain cases, often jumping from customer to customer to make sure everyone is taken care of. My position includes but is not limited to working the cash desk,pricing merchandise, stocking shelves, sometimes answering the phone, and all cleaning. There are a total of three women sales associates, one full time, one part-time, and one summer student. Sometimes the floor manager can help. This place gets very busy because we happen to be the only good store that is actually knowledgeable about what we are doing for a great distance. I have received complaints from the floor manager, indirectly from my boss/the business owner, about how I am taking too long helping customers with their inquires and threatened with a writeup. I am literally being written up because I was doing my job while being away from the cash desk. WTF!? I'm sorry for language, but this is the first thing that comes to mind. Please help me figure out what to do. I don't know how to deal with bosses who conflict themselves.
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During my mid-year review, I took the opportunity to bring forward my concerns and frustrations since being hired, and my boss stood up, got belligerent and yelled: ďI canít take this any more. This is a job! There are lots of jobs out there, maybe you should take a look around and go get one where you can sit in a corner and do projects all day. I have a lot of people I need to take care of, not just you. You obviously are not happy but I cannot make you happy. You need to decide if you are happy--and Iíd like to know soon--because we are hiring.Ē She then stormed out of the room and returned to our department, got her coat, etc. and said to the team coordinator: ďI need to get out of here NOW. I need a cocktail, badly.Ē [or something to that effect] and left enraged. It was said loud enough that others could hear and were alarmed. I was later texted by co-workers asking, ďwhat happened? Öare you ok?Ē The Assistant Manager was in the room with me during the yelling. He texted me later saying, "If you want to take a sick day that is fine and if you want to you talk with HR, they will be around next week." Is this acceptable behavior from my boss and should I discuss with HR? I have heard that HR is not helpful with employees, they tend towards blaming the employee and backing managementÖ. Thank you.
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