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Old 01-28-2008, 10:48 AM
 
417 posts, read 1,390,525 times
Reputation: 340

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Every few months my boss calls me in his office and tells me that "some of the staff are coming to him to complain about me" I ask him who they are and what is there beef. He will not tell me but reports I have to clean up my act or I will be fired. I beg him for more information so I can know how to clean up my act. He says he can't because it will destroy the confidence they have in him that they can come to him in confidence.

Is this "management by gossip" common in corporate America?

 
Old 01-28-2008, 10:51 AM
 
Location: Land of 10000 Lakes + some
2,885 posts, read 231,401 times
Reputation: 346
That sucks! They never tell you who it is. If he isn't specific, and I sure can't stand his attitude, look for another job. Some places are worse than others. It sounds like to me like he's the culprit. He is certainly a contributor. I'd get away from him if I can.
 
Old 01-28-2008, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
1,368 posts, read 4,526,331 times
Reputation: 505
Quote:
Originally Posted by questioner2 View Post
Every few months my boss calls me in his office and tells me that "some of the staff are coming to him to complain about me" I ask him who they are and what is there beef. He will not tell me but reports I have to clean up my act or I will be fired. I beg him for more information so I can know how to clean up my act. He says he can't because it will destroy the confidence they have in him that they can come to him in confidence.

Is this "management by gossip" common in corporate America?
Knowing the who isn't important. He could be withholding because he senses your attitude that you feel this is unjust and you want to go 'chat' with some people.

Ask him not about who, but about what kinds of things. State things about your work performance, etc that you know to be good things... and hold back that attitude that this is unjust.

I've had bosses tell me before that coworkers were unhappy. Best thing to do is to not ask WHO, but what has been said, and if there are areas that I could work on.

And worse comes to worse, they'd need a solid reason to fire you, and it doesn't sound like they have it.
 
Old 01-28-2008, 12:07 PM
 
417 posts, read 1,390,525 times
Reputation: 340
Good advice but he will not tell me the details because that way I could find out who is talking about me behind my back.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Radek View Post
Knowing the who isn't important. He could be withholding because he senses your attitude that you feel this is unjust and you want to go 'chat' with some people.

Ask him not about who, but about what kinds of things. State things about your work performance, etc that you know to be good things... and hold back that attitude that this is unjust.

I've had bosses tell me before that coworkers were unhappy. Best thing to do is to not ask WHO, but what has been said, and if there are areas that I could work on.

And worse comes to worse, they'd need a solid reason to fire you, and it doesn't sound like they have it.
 
Old 01-28-2008, 12:23 PM
 
Location: USA
4,983 posts, read 5,343,930 times
Reputation: 2506
Default Okay, I've had this happen...

Complaints like that...nothing specific, no names, no dates, no locations, nothing about what was wrong, how anything was handled, etc...

It is like coming up to someone and saying "Now I know why people talk about you behind your back!" He wants his department operating on paranoia and loves it.

Now, common sense says, if we were doing something wrong with our job, and they wanted us to be able to correct it, they would give us information. If they don't say who told them, fine...they can stay anonymous...UNLESS...the whole complaint is a lie.

If the complaint was "Josephina talks too loud on her phone, and I cannot conduct business in my area because of this", then the complainer should first go to Josephina and politely let her know of this, because she might be unaware of how loud she is, and of course, the benefit of the doubt that she is just a dolt. So, ask and see if it is corrected.

But complaints to a boss, where the complainers are kept anonymous, and the complaints are not specified, have a conspiratoral sense to them. Telling you to clean up your act makes no sense. Unless you are coming into work 2 hours late every day and you KNOW the reason, then he is playing games with you.

Why would a boss tell you others are talking about you? What would be the purpose?

The whole thing about "destroying their confidence"....what purpose does it serve for them to come to him, if he is not going to tell you what the problem is, and just threaten you with some undefined thing?

In my case, they wanted to cut heads and it was attrition to get me to walk. Which is really odd, because I live in an at-will state where they can fire you for absolutely no reason at any time. But perhaps company policies state the boss has to have something for their files, some reason to justify turnover in his department.

This reminds me of the "Bad Review"...where someone has been working at a company for a long time, always got good reviews, then one day, out of the blue, comes the Bad Review, followed by the firing for some flimsy reason. It is always about money.

I am sure YOUR situation is about money.

And I agree with the poster who said the boss is part of the problem. In fact HE may be the whole problem. Maybe no one even came and complained about you. That's why there is no specific complaint. He may be jealous or feel threatened by you or have some nephew graduating from college.

I would be very quietly looking for another job, and "mum's the word"...don't breathe a word to anyone at work. He is trying to create an atmosphere of paranoia.
 
Old 01-28-2008, 03:54 PM
 
Location: Sacramento
13,477 posts, read 16,384,448 times
Reputation: 5319
Quote:
Originally Posted by questioner2 View Post
Every few months my boss calls me in his office and tells me that "some of the staff are coming to him to complain about me" I ask him who they are and what is there beef. He will not tell me but reports I have to clean up my act or I will be fired. I beg him for more information so I can know how to clean up my act. He says he can't because it will destroy the confidence they have in him that they can come to him in confidence.

Is this "management by gossip" common in corporate America?
I find it kind of odd that you are experiencing this every few months at your place of employment, especially when you posted this (below) on this forum on 12/14/07:

Collecting UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE is great

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"A month ago I was fired from my job. I was not fired for misconduct but for some unknown reason and it did not effect my claim for unemployment. They felt sorry for me and paid me three months in pay in severance assigned to my last day on the job. This had no effect on my unemployment insurance payments. I am making the maximum $380 a week payment in unemployment and my weekly check allows me to earn up to $75 a week additional pay from temp jobs before my weekly benefit check is decreased. If it is cut, it just means I can collect unemployment for a few more months. I expect to earn 90% of my monthly budget from a combination of unemployment insurance, odd jobs and interest income from savings. So I do not have to pull much money from savings each month. My secverence pay has already been invested."

"I have already gone on some long weekend trips and have time to do alot of things I have always wanted to do but did not have the time. I really do not want to go back to full time work, but like temp work and unemployment. But I have a job lined up starting in late March working for an old friend. Life is good."



So, did you get your old job back???
 
Old 01-28-2008, 06:31 PM
 
417 posts, read 1,390,525 times
Reputation: 340
This was about a job I held in the past, one reason I like working part time and collecting unemployment.

Last edited by questioner2; 01-28-2008 at 07:56 PM..
 
Old 01-28-2008, 06:45 PM
 
Location: Marion, IN
8,192 posts, read 19,860,281 times
Reputation: 6653
Your question (and most of your posts) remind me of a former CD member. Here is a nearly identical question asked by that member:

"I am working a miserable job as a temp for the foreseeable future. Or at least until they fire me. I was called into the bosses office today and here is a summary of the conversation:

BOSS: I just wanted to know I have been talking to some of the people in the office and many of the people are not happy with the customer service you are providing them.

ME: I am committed to doing a good job so I would like to sit down and talk to the people who are complaining about me and find out what their concerns are, so I can do a better job next time.

BOSS: I am sorry but that is not possible because they came to me in confidence. I promised them that I would not tell you who they were.

ME: Then could you tell me what I did wrong so I can do a better job next time.

BOSS: Sorry, I can not get into details because that way you would find out who is complaining about you.

ME: Then I can not improve because I do not know what I am doing wrong.

BOSS: (just before he leaves the room) Just clean up your act and do a better job in customer service.
=========================
I am working as a temporary Administrative Assistant and am now demotivated. How can the boss not tell me what I am doing wrong unless he lets me know who is complaining about me behind my back. (He wants people to be able to come to him in confidence but the final result is management by gossip.) The agency just said do your best and they will try to find something for me if I get fired. (Doubtful... because I will have a black mark on my record)"
 
Old 01-28-2008, 07:56 PM
 
Location: USA
4,983 posts, read 5,343,930 times
Reputation: 2506
It's a legit scenario, I've had it happen to me, so I don't think the OP is off base at all.
I think when stuff like this happens, when a boss is being unreasonable, they want you gone.
They wouldn't be unreasonable with you, if they needed you.
 
Old 12-16-2008, 05:18 AM
 
1 posts, read 4,925 times
Reputation: 10
I understand the concept on privacy and i agree with your Boss not telling you who they are but the fact that he wouldn't tell you what your were suppose to have done wrong and then get nasty with you as you leave the room is stupid, its alright singling out one person simply because a few busy bodys dont like the way things are done.I myself haven't experienced this yet but if i did i'd want to know who said it or atleast one they said.
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