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 homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.

You asked, Ken answers ...

This item is filed under these categories:
Rumors Lies and Lying Responsiveness Assertiveness

A fellow manager has made a "hobby" out of trashing my reputation. She makes treacherous and untrue remarks to anyone who will listen, and this is having a negative impact on my ability to manage. I have gone to our boss and his reply is simply, "Everyone knows her...just ignore her." What can you suggest?

The main reason why your fellow manager has not given up her malicious "hobby" is that your boss has gone ostrich on the entire matter. And further, his lack of action is actually condoning her trashing tendencies. The fact that "Everyone knows her" indicates that she is a real problem, while the fact that he is doing nothing about it indicates that he is a real problem too.

Although you have probably met with your abusive colleague, it may be worthwhile to approach her again in a more assertive mode. Give her specific examples of the unacceptable comments, let her know how upset you are, tell her that the behavior has to stop now, and then indicate that you plan to take more serious action if it persists.

Unless you see an immediate improvement, you should have the same assertive discussion with your manager, and let him know that you will approach more senior levels of management if necessary. Be sure that he understands how distressing you find this harassment to be, adding that you hope the matter can be resolved within the organization. If that does not pull his head out of the sand, you should take the issue up to the next managerial level. Unless the entire organization is out to lunch, there will be someone who understands the potential costs and liability associated with your colleague's "hobby."

Comment on this item

Your name (optional)
If you leave this blank, we'll list you as "Website visitor"

Your comments
Please keep your comments focused on the topic. Thanks!