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Recently a new manager has joined our team, and I learned from him that a coworker told him I was not doing part of my job that I was in fact doing. I do not know which coworker said this, but one has a much higher probability of being the source. I also learned he had told my previous manager this, but my previous manager never talked to me about it.

When my new manager brought it up he was upset with me. Later when I presented the evidence that I was in fact doing the part of my job my coworker, my manager's attitude changed to it happened in the past so it doesn't matter anymore.

My concern is two-fold, if my coworker is lying about me and apparently my old manager simply took the lies at face value, I do not know who else in the office he has lied to about me.

Second, it seems as though my manager thought that part of my job mattered greatly when he thought the feedback was true, but then it no longer matters once the feedback is false. Personally I would think a manager would be upset at the idea of receiving false feedback.

My question is how do I deal with this situation? Should I attempt to gently confront the coworker in question? If it seems like my manager has made up his mind about me (regardless of whether the evidence was true or not) should I just switch teams? I'm concerned that just switching teams will cause my manager to cement his view on me, is this a valid concern?

closed as off-topic by gnat, Jim G., Chris E, Mister Positive, Rory Alsop Dec 28 '17 at 19:32

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    When my new manager brought it up he was upset with me. - Exactly how he expressed being upset would be very important. Was he upset with you, or with the situation? – Wesley Long Dec 25 '17 at 8:38
  • In my opinion, you should in any case confront your co-worker with that! Confront him, when your manager is also around (when it is proofed that he lied, you don't need to be gentle with him!). – Ben Jan 2 '18 at 13:08
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It makes perfect sense to me that the manager appeared not to be interested after you proved the lie was a lie. Once you have proven you are doing your job, your manager no longer has something to fix about you. Your manager may now want to deal with the liar, or may not. Telling you "oh, I'm going to go fire that person for lying" or "if that person lies one more time I will fire them" is highly inappropriate, so it's not surprising the manager appears to drop the subject. Your part in it is over.

Did the manager really take the lies at face value? The manager came to you and when you explained you were doing that task, said "ok fine then." That doesn't sound like the liar was unilaterally believed. Once you take yourself into "I do not know who else in the office he has lied to about me" territory you're torturing yourself for no reason.

Do your job. Do it well, do all of it. Don't be a gossiper, a liar, or a meta talker. Nobody is going to be surprised to learn you didn't like being lied about. There's no need to tell your coworker that. They tried lying about you and it didn't work. The best revenge, as they say, is living well.

  • I think you're right about not torturing myself.I think I have not explained why I think it was unilaterally believed well enough. My manager did not come to me to ask about feedback he had received about me. During an unrelated discussion he warned me he knew that I had not been doing that part of the job. It was only after that I was able to show him I was doing that part of the job. Given he had made a big deal out of it the first time, I guess I would have liked stronger reassurance that it was not taken at face value (if it had been taken at face value) than waving it off. – ameltz Dec 23 '17 at 22:13
  • @ameltz I think you should edit your question to add these new details. I don't think it changes the conclusion though. You have already presented evidence you are doing your job, and your manager seems to agree with you. If somebody denounces you again and the manager comes to you, I would present my concerns regarding the working environment in your team/company. – Adam Smith Dec 26 '17 at 17:06
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The reason why you manager downplayed the incident after you came up with proof that in fact you are doing your job, is that he looked like a fool accusing you with something he was obviously clueless. So you should not really be concerned about that.
You have the right to ask how did he come up with that idea. He might tell you the source. He might not. Depends on many things.
Either way it is obvious that there is nothing of concern since you did not feel any negative repercussions so far and when someone took the lies face value they confronted you and you were organized enough to prove them wrong.
Just keep your records and ignore the liar.

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In this kind of situation I would see how your manager deals with the lying employee. If there is indication of the lying stopping or the liar being counciled, then you have a really good manager.

If this behavior continues then you probably need to move on either to a different group in the company or to a different company all together.

In short, this happened to me. No amount of evidence to the contrary helped my case. So the reality was management was encouraging others to cut each other down even if it meant fabricating stories. I moved on, and am much happier. You want a situation where management encourages cooperation instead.

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Managers make mistakes too and this was one. A manager should know better than to form opinions of an employee based on the word by another employee that is in a position of competition. Also, the manager should have enough experience with team dynamics to better deal with this.

If switching teams is an option I would consider it. I would not confront the co-worker that supposedly lied. I would consider having a sit down with the manager though, and explain that you are concerned that a perception was formed about your performance based on incorrect feedback from a competing employee and that you want to gain comfort that that first impression is completely corrected.

If out of that meeting you don't have comfort that things are right and your work will be judged fairly from that point and not impacted by that first incorrect perception, then I'd consider leaving.

But all managers make mistakes, and it is possible that your manager learned from this one and it won't ever happen again and you are in good standing. It is possible that whatever team you transfer to, that manager will make mistakes too and the mistakes may have worse impact on you.

I'd lean towards staying because switching teams will make you appear to be a management problem. But if the sit down with your manager doesn't give you comfort that you are in good standing, then I'd switch.

You shouldn't be too concerned with what the manager is doing to the employee that lied. It isn't a situation where you need to see justice was done. You should be able to gain comfort with your standing with this manager without having to see proof of disciplinary actions towards the co-worker.

Managers are as good as the people that work for them, and when they put trust in the wrong ones the manager suffers. It is entirely possible that manager now considers you more trustworthy than your co-worker. But you may not be able to see evidence of that.

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