Get advice on how to deal with jerks at work Check out the book 'Jerks At Work' and other titles by Ken Lloyd Ph.D. Return to the JerksAtWork.com homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.
 

Manipulation

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 report to a manager who always knows just the right thing to say. When problems develop, he calms us down and makes statements that sound like everything is going to turn out fine. The only problem is that he is merely placating us, because he never takes care of whatever it was that got us upset in the first place. What's the best way to deal with him?
Read Ken's Answer

I just interviewed a candidate with a good background for a telemarketing position in our company. The only problem was that he kept turning his answers into questions for me, and I don't feel I got enough information from him. I encouraged him to hold his questions, but that did not deter him. What should I do from here?
Read Ken's Answer

How am I supposed to deal with an employee who keeps getting other people to do his work? He is friendly and likable, and the other employees want to help him, but this is interfering with their work and with coordination in the department. I have gone over the problems with him, but he keeps doing this.
Read Ken's Answer

I went through a long discussion about pay and benefits with my manager, and I thought we reached an agreement. Just as I was at the door and about to leave, he suddenly remembered one little detail that cut my vacation by a week. I did not want to sit down again and start haggling, but now I'm thinking that he did this on purpose. Could that be?
Read Ken's Answer

I went to lunch with friend who used to work here. I thought he had contacted me just for the sake of being friendly, but the entire lunch conversation was centered on his home based business and how he wants me to be part of his network. I told him I'm not cut out for it, and he said I'm a natural. He just called and gave me five different dates to come to a meeting. How do I turn this off?
Read Ken's Answer

One of my employees gives me suggestions on how to do my job, but the problem is that he only does this during meetings with my manager. I don't like this, but I don't know how to get it to stop without creating more problems. What do you suggest?
Read Ken's Answer

My boss is always asking me to do one favor or another for him, and none of them have anything to do with my job. It's picking up his dry cleaning, dropping off a watch to be repaired, and many more, and it's usually after work. How do I say "no" to my boss?
Read Ken's Answer

I work with a person who our manager really likes, and she has been complaining to him about me. He then comes to me and says that I need to try to get along better with my co-workers, but I get along fine with them. It's his little favorite who is the problem. What should I do?
Read Ken's Answer

I work with 3 other administrative assistants who support 8 professionals. I get along well with them, and I am very good at what I do. The problem is that one of the other administrative assistants frequently gets behind and asks me to help her out. I have done so on many occasions, but this makes a huge amount of work for me, and it's been happening more and more lately. She is becoming a real problem for me.
Read Ken's Answer

My manager works at another site. When he asked if I wanted his ticket to a seminar he was unable to attend, I said yes. The next day I found out that he led my co-workers at the other site to think that he was not at work due to the seminar. Later, when discussing my merit, he said I deserve an "exceeds expectations," but having missed the deadline for submitting paperwork, he had to give me a "meets expectations." Seeing I was unhappy with this, he cited the seminar ticket as a perk he offered exclusively to me because I am a valued employee. How does this sound to you?
Read Ken's Answer

There are eight of us on a safety committee, and we are supposed to make recommendations to make the worksite safer. One member of the committee, not the chairman, has taken it upon himself to send recommendations to management under the name of the committee, even though the committee never agreed to them. We have all spoken to him about this, but you never know what he is going to do next. What can we do?
Read Ken's Answer

I work in a dental office and recently our employer brought in someone to refresh the CPR skills of the hourly office staff. This class took 2 1/2 hours, and afterwards our employer said that he wouldn't pay our hourly salaries while we were in the class. Does this seem right?
Read Ken's Answer

I sit across from an obnoxious kiss-up. She works hard when the boss is here, but leaves me with our shared work when he is out. I have had to confront this behavior a number of times. I am trying to avoid telling my boss how she behaves, but I have asked to change workstations. I think my boss may be mad at me. Now what?
Read Ken's Answer

I run a small department, and my manager scheduled an 11:00 a.m. meeting with me and two other department heads. At a few minutes before 11:00, I arrived at the meeting, but it was already going and the topic was focused on how to improve my department (which is running extremely well). I didn't know this was the topic, and I was incensed that they started without me, but I didn't say anything about it. Do I have a right to be annoyed?
Read Ken's Answer

Another manager called me to discuss one of his employees, and I started to make some unfavorable comments about this employee when his voice suddenly came onto the call. It turned out that I was on the other manager's speakerphone and the employee in question was in his office. I was embarrassed and annoyed over this, and I'm not sure what to do next.
Read Ken's Answer

I thought I had a good working relationship with one of the people in my department, and I was shocked to learn that she was upset with me and complained to my manager. My manager then proceeded to call me and tell me off. I think he was wrong. What should I do?
Read Ken's Answer

What should we do about managers who go to meetings and do not bring complete information for the employees? The only way we get information is through other people in the company. This seems unethical and unprofessional to us.
Read Ken's Answer

Our manager has this annoying habit of complimenting us, and then throwing in a piece of criticism. Whenever she says something nice, it is always followed with the word, "but...." Is there a way to get a compliment from her that is just a compliment?
Read Ken's Answer

I hired a new assistant, and now I feel that she is trying to undermine me and get my boss upset with me. She is very clever and smooth, and she has totally won my boss. I don't want to meet with her and sound paranoid, but I fear that something is going on here. What should I do?
Read Ken's Answer

Should I say anything to an employee who I know is trying to flatter me so that I will give him a better raise or think of him for a promotion? It's nice to be complimented, but he has carried this to an extreme. Any suggestions?
Read Ken's Answer

How do you deal with a manager who sounds friendly and interested in the employees' ideas, but underneath this facade insists that everything be done her way? She uses all sorts of fancy management language, and she talks about employee empowerment, but it is nothing more than talk.
Read Ken's Answer

When I ask one particular employee about a project, she gives me an update, but often holds back important facts. I rely on her comments when I report to my manager, and I end up looking foolish because I am unaware of information that she suddenly possesses. I told her that willfully holding back facts is a form of lying. She said does not lie and is only trying to provide the information I want.
Read Ken's Answer

I have one manager who reports to me, and I work with her on a regular basis to make improvements in her department. We work well together, but when the two of us meet with my manager, there is a problem. The manager who reports to me makes it sound like she is the only one responsible for improvements in the department. I am reluctant to say anything to her or to my manager because I think I would look weak. How should I handle this?
Read Ken's Answer

Whenever my boss comes around to my department, I have one particular employee who typically makes a comment that puts herself in a positive light and makes me look bad, and sometimes she's not quite truthful or does not give the full story. Do I lower myself to say something to her, or should I just let it go?
Read Ken's Answer

I recently moved into supervision, and one of my employees works on a popular math puzzle in the newspaper before work and during her breaks. The problem is that she sometimes brings them to her cubicle and works on them when she should be doing her job. I told her not to do this, but she said she practically never brings them to her desk, but even if she does, they are beneficial for her thinking. How do I get this to stop?
Read Ken's Answer

I have an employee who is late at least three days a week, usually by ten or twenty minutes. I have spoken to him about this on numerous occasions, and he says he will try to improve, and for a week or two he does, but then he's late again. Now when I meet with him, he says the problem is that the company should have a flextime plan. What do you think?
Read Ken's Answer

I deal with several different departments, and there is one department head who contacts my manager after I meet with him and completely misquotes me. This leads to major problems with my boss, and he has told me that the promises I make are creating problems for him, but I never promised anything. How do I get this department head to stop creating these problems for me?
Read Ken's Answer

I am in charge of a committee and one member gives me trouble when we have meetings. He takes over and cuts off conversations, forces the group to move to the next item on the agenda, and even puts issues up for a vote. These are my meetings and I resent this, and I have told him, but only after the meetings because I do not want to humiliate him. He occasionally apologizes, but does the same thing at the next meeting. What do you suggest?
Read Ken's Answer

I go to lunch a few times a week with my boss, and he usually asks me to pay for him. Sometimes he pays me back, but he usually doesn't. Since he's my boss, I'm reluctant to ask him for the money. What can I do?
Read Ken's Answer

There is an employee in another department who complains to my boss about my work. Everyone here thinks this employee is a know-it-all, but my boss listens to her and thinks she has good ideas. Now my boss is giving me trouble over a recent assignment. At first she said I did a good job, but now that this other employee complained about it, my boss is criticizing it. What should I do?
Read Ken's Answer

I work with a smooth co-worker who is in very tight with our manager. When work gets assigned, this co-worker does whatever he wants and pushes most of his junk work on me. If I try to push it back, he informs our manager and I end up looking like I am not a team player. This co-worker has convinced our manager that he is always right. What can I do?
Read Ken's Answer

One of my friends at work recently signed up with a multi-level marketing organization and wants me to do likewise. The products seem fine, but my "gut feel" is that this is not for me. She keeps telling me to forget about "gut feel" and listen to the facts. The only reason I would join is that I don't want to lose a friend. What should I do?
Read Ken's Answer

As a manager myself, I was annoyed to learn that my manager filled an important position under me without including me in the process. When I complained, he told me that I should focus on my main work responsibilities and be thankful for his willingness to take the time to do the hiring. What should I do now?
Read Ken's Answer

I work with several other employees in the warehouse. By the end of the day, some of us have achy muscles. My question is what to do about a co-worker who says he knows all about acupressure and can soothe our muscles. He comes up behind us and squeezes our shoulders and backs. Some of the employees like it, but I do not and I have told him not to do this to me any more. He still tries once in a while.
Read Ken's Answer

There is one person I work with who has a knack of shifting the blame from himself to me every time he does some-thing wrong. He is well liked by management, and if I ever complain, I will look like the bad guy. How do I deal with him?
Read Ken's Answer

We are a small company, and I have a co-worker who is always late, frequently uses her cell phone and ipod when the owners are not here, and does not want to do special projects. We report to the same owners, and since she does not finish work on time, I end up doing all the reports. The owners are not aware of what she has been doing, and she is a relative of one of the ownerís close friends. Should I tell the owners what is going on?
Read Ken's Answer

I work in a company with about 150 employees, and one of my supervisors sent an email to all employees asking that we contribute to an overseas charity that is important to him. While the charity sounds like it is doing good things, several of us were put off by his approach. Since the request came from a supervisor, Iím not sure what I should do.
Read Ken's Answer

One of my fellow managers is known for putting other managers on the spot when they run meetings. I was recently conducting a meeting, and he started asking questions that had nothing to do with the topic. When I answered, he asked more. When he finally stopped, he had sidetracked the meeting for a good fifteen minutes. How do you deal with someone like this?
Read Ken's Answer

I report to the Chief Operating Officer, and I recently met with a salesperson who is his nephew. I thought the sales presentation was poor, and we do not need his products. I wrote a letter informing him of this. He then contacted his uncle who held a meeting with the three of us, and now his uncle wants me to start using his products. I believe this is a mistake. What should I do?
Read Ken's Answer

I just finished interviewing an applicant who appears to have the skills for the job, but he kept asking questions throughout the interview. I tried to stop him, but he kept asking one after another, and now I donít have enough data to make a decision. Should I bring him back for a second interview?
Read Ken's Answer

We have a very good employee, but every time something does not go his way, he threatens to quit. We have been bending over to meet his needs, but now there is some resentment building toward him, not only from managers but from some of his fellow employees too. How do you deal with an employee like this?
Read Ken's Answer

I meet regularly with my employees to discuss our work, and I have one employee who withholds information from me. When my manager asks me about projects in her domain, I usually donít have all the information, so he calls her. When I ask her why she did not give me all the information in the first place, she says I did not ask for it. How should I deal with her?
Read Ken's Answer

I recently reviewed one of my employees and indicated in writing the areas that needed improvement, while also indicating that there would be no raise unless improvements were made. Less than two months later, this employee demanded a raise and threatened to leave if she did not get it. Should I give in or risk losing her?
Read Ken's Answer

How do you deal with an employee who lies? He has worked for me for almost five years, and although I am not sure how long the lying has been going on, thereís no doubt that he is not being upfront with me now. Sometimes he withholds important information, and other times he just comes up with a story. When I go back to him and discuss the facts, he always has an excuse or explanation, and he cannot admit that he is wrong or lied. How should I deal with him?
Read Ken's Answer