June 29, 2012 at 8:19 am #32263
I work in a small retail store with three other women. A week ago, there was an additional staff member hired to take the place of another who is leaving in July. My supervisor (Let’s call her TL), myself and the woman leaving (I’ll call her N) are training the new woman (I’ll call her M). To the disgust of my co-worker, L, M is much slower at retail service and has a difficult time feeling comfortable with learning new things in our fast-paced environment. L insults her, belittles her (M is a good 10 years older than L), and makes her feel unwelcome and anxious. L has disclosed to me that she wishes to have M “shadow” her so M can learn how to interact with customers… M interacts with them just fine considering this is her second week. After L tells M to do something, L will come to me and complain that M is too slow or refuses to listen to her (L calls M over from across the room by screaming “Yo! Yo, M why aren’t you over here? You need to pay attention to customers, not just stand there and do nothing!” in front of the customers).
Now, L is not only rude to M, but she is obnoxious to the rest of the staff: myself, N, and TL…even our boss at times. She will order us around and if we tell her no, she acts likes a passive aggressive 5 year old who had his/her candy taken away. She will stomp around the store, fight with other staff in front of customers, and refuse to do anything productive. Her behaviour is known to TL and our boss, but neither has done much about it. Yes, they’ve had meetings discussing it with L long ago, but nothing has come of it – there are no punishments or warnings given. Really, the behaviour has escalated in the past few months and now she thinks that this is “The L Show” and not a team effort.
I am quite upset to have to deal with this crap when I stand in for TL because L will not respect my authority or decisions and it’s difficult to get anything done when she throws a snit-fest. However, I do not have the authority to give her warnings or a punishment and so I feel powerless when she acts like a bitch towards me. I’m not the greatest at dealing with confrontation in the workplace. (I’m perfectly fine with dealing with children acting rudely and inappropriately though.)
I will say that L does have issues with her husband (they’ve been married less than a year), and we think that the behaviour has to do with whatever is going on at home. However, instead of talking about it or seeking marriage counseling, she acts condescendingly to everyone.
I have yet to approach the subject with my boss directly, mostly because she’s always busy with other issues and there isn’t a lot of time to talk.
Sorry for the rant/ramble, but this has been bothering me for a while now and I find myself going to work in a bad mood because this hasn’t been handled. I don’t even know what to do, or what to say to her when she starts this. I don’t even know how to bring it up with my boss.June 29, 2012 at 12:30 pm #32294
Calmly tell your boss about how L is behaving and how it affects your and your coworkers WORK. I know I would have to hold myself back from talking about what a shrew she is, but your boss needs to know the facts. She creates a hostile work environment, she is disrespectful and rude (bring up examples of exactly what she says, so it comes off as more concrete) in front of customers, and you’re unable to fill in for your supervisor when needed because she does not respect that role. It would help if you could get your other coworkers to go in and complain as well. And after you talk to your boss, start looking around for other job options in case nothing happens again.
But really, your boss should want to handle this so you all don’t lose customers. I know if I saw employees fighting, I’d probably never go back to that store again.June 29, 2012 at 12:55 pm #32299
Sounds to me like she doesn’t realize that she can be easily replaced. It’s something I tell people all the time – we can all be replaced in our jobs, no matter how well we think we’re doing.
To me, it does sound as if she is on a power trip. For whatever reason. It needs to be stopped immediately before regular customers get turned off by her attitude.
I agree with qm that this stuff needs to be brought up to the boss, and worded to show how it affecting the work itself. She may be angry that you’re getting the supervisory role on occasion and she’s not, but that doesn’t give her the right to act like a cunt.June 29, 2012 at 1:27 pm #32307
Unfortunately this sounds like something you’ll eventually have to take to your boss. A boss is going to want to see 2 things when you approach her:
1. Hard evidence. Start keeping a log of everything she does. Keep in on your phone, a small notepad, anywhere. Write down the time and date the incident occurs, the names of those involved, and exactly what was said or done. Do this for at least a week. Your boss will take you much more seriously if you have documented evidence, plus it shows her you’re serious and it’s not that you have something personal against L.
2. She might want to see that you’ve tried to solve this with L yourselves before you take it to the boss. The next time L acts out, yells in front of customers, or insults another employee, call her on it. Nicely and calmly. Tell her you don’t appreciate being talked to that way, or gently remind her that there are customers present and if she has an issue she should speak to the offending party in back. If she explodes or reacts badly, write it down in your log
With these 2 things, you can confidently go to your boss and explain what’s been happening. If it doesn’t get better, keep the log running and take it above her head. Include the dates and times you approached your supervisor about L in the log. Eventually someone will listen.June 30, 2012 at 8:34 am #32451
Yeah, I’m not too sure what her issue is, but it’s definitely affecting how we work together. Thanks for your advice, it’s given me ideas of what to say and do (like keeping a log) and that’s what I really needed!
Today, though, we had some very rude customers (e.g. eating ALL the samples, touching bulk items with bare hands without taking them, etc,) so she was busy putting them in their place. Not much better than being rude to us since our boss may get complaints about her behaviour from the customers… although that might actually start a conversation about it.July 2, 2012 at 4:26 pm #32685
I think the log is a good idea. Also, would you consider any customers to be “professionally close” to you? As in ones that have seen her horrendous behavior that you might ‘politely suggest/hint at’ that they may want to file a complaint against her bc you all talk pleasantries often or know each others’ names,etc?
Or is there something online you might be able to make some “comments” on that the higher ups might see or take notice of her?
In my past experience, ppl like her dont last often in any kind of customer service setting- has she been around for awhile?July 3, 2012 at 11:20 am #32766
She worked there for just over a year and a half – I’ve worked there for five in comparison. However, she’s full-time and I’ve always been part-time, and I think there’s some resentment on her part that I managed to get a promotion after 2 years and she hasn’t – and she won’t because my boss is very particular about who is in charge. I can picture her as store supervisor and it’s horrendous: she would just boss people around without being supportive or encouraging, which is exactly what she’s doing now.
The problem is my boss knows about the situation and she and TL are going to do something about it – but they don’t have a plan yet. And it’s very frustrating because I don’t want to work with L when she’s acting like she’s the head-honcho. I work today, so I’m planning on having a chat with my boss, just letting her know that it’s hard working with L. Hopefully then she’ll actually do something about it. I want to say something like “This is how L behaves and it’s detrimental to our collaborative team. From now on I will be keeping a log of her behaviour/rude comments and I will show you, and I hope this helps you make a decision about what to do with her”.
There are customers that she’s rude to, but they are not our regulars. She’s very charismatic and manipulative so she can play up the niceties and what-not and make people like her. I must say that this behaviour has been escalating since the beginning of the year – she never used to act like this. I’m at a loss as to why she behaves like this.
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