Just some few questions. I am not sure how to know a bullying or not.

  1. Yesterday when I started working the head supervisor called me and sort of scolded me in front of 2 other supervisor. I did not do anything major. In fact it was just a minor mistake that I have done and got caught then I theorize someone on my work told the supervisor about it. Thing is that I am not comfortable being told of while someone is there. It is just not right. I mean shouldn't be that the supervisor should talk to me in private?
  2. I just found out that our supervisor is texting one of my co-worker about my performance and my co-worker told that I am sort of being monitored but I am not sure why. My co-worker could not tell me of course but warned me about that. Is this normal on some workplace? Is this bullying of some sort? I am not really sure how to deal with this kind of thing.

I would not report this to HR but I just want to know if this is a bullying or is it just normal? I just don't want to make my work more awkward than it should be Thanks

  • I'm not sure why point 1 is a problem actually. You got told in front of 2 other supervisors, who are also above you? It's not like they told you in front of all your coworkers.
    – Summer
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 10:59
  • @Summer So it was not bullying? The first one?
    – thenewbie
    Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 11:01
  • 1
    It's not bullying at all. He is just having doubts on your performance and that's why he is monitoring you. Your collegues are supposed to tell you in an informative and objective way what is the root of the doubts your manager has. Focus on fulfilling your duties, exceeding expectations and adopting the "posture" they are expecting from you and everything will be fine. During this period, your colleagues are supposed to support you, give you objective feedbacks and share good practices in order to get you out of the "doubts" zone. If that doesn't work, you would have improved anyway. Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 12:26

2 Answers 2


A one-off "sort of" scolding for making a mistake (which you admit you made)? No this isn't bullying this is called management.

It's hard to know exactly why the supervisor felt the need to have others there but it's not unusual and in some cases is actually done to prevent accusations of bullying - because if they were to reprimand you in private it opens the possibility of a "he said - she said" situation where you could claim that the supervisor said all kinds of things.

I just found out that our supervisor is texting one of my co-worker about my performance and my co-worker told that I am sort of being monitored but I am not sure why.

Well this is admittedly speculative but given you have already committed one error that you didn't admit to there may be concerns that there are more that are going under the radar so to speak.

Is this normal on some workplace?

Yes, not everywhere but it's not uncommon either - supervisors/managers can't be everywhere at once and if staff are showing a tendency to attempt to conceal issues from management then using co-workers as observers can be effective.

I am not really sure how to deal with this kind of thing.

As yourself, honestly whether there are areas where your performance could be better. If so work to improve in those areas. If you perform your duties without issue and you're getting pulled up on spurious complaints then you're heading towards bullying territory but from what you've said this doesn't sound like that is what's happening here.

  • The duty is a tricky notion as some companies base themselves on objectives that usually go beyond the simple duty scope. Accomplishing only his duty can be seen as a passive attitude whereas it's expected from you to take the lead on some topics and to be proactive rather than reactive. The idea is to aim for objectives and not just duty as you are evaluated on those most of the time. Commented Nov 19, 2018 at 12:32
  • It is called poor management. You don't criticize someone in front of others, unless you don't want them to improve and just want to humiliate them.
    – Stian
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 14:33
  • 1
    @StianYttervik While I generally agree with the praise in public/punish in private approach it's not black and white - there's a whole world of grey out there. A disciplinary chat or proceeding with multiple people can be completely appropriate and have zero to do with humiliating anyone. It's also a world away from yelling at someone in front of the whole office for example.
    – motosubatsu
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 14:50
  • @motosubatsu Oh sure, but generally such a disciplinary chat is not the first time you hear about it - and it is often a punishment (or sometimes appeasement for government, customers, stock holders). I'd call it poor management to use that kind of methods for leading a team, for notifying them that performance is not where it should be and change is required... But I think we are quite in agreement. Conceptually, I agree, there could be situations where it is appropriate - or the least bad choice of action.
    – Stian
    Commented Nov 20, 2018 at 20:34

In situations like this, the best thing is to be assertive and ask directly your supervisor, in a 1:1.

Try to be constructive, and base the conversation flow on:

  1. I wanted to find time to talk; it's great to be working together, I am happy to be here and wish our working relationship was even better.
  2. To improve things, I would like to discuss how you prefer communicating feedback. Last week you gave me feedback in a group environment, with others present. I would feel more comfortable if we first discussed such a matter in a 1:1, as we are working together I would appreciate if we went for this approach first.
  3. I am open to feedback and if you have anything to suggest which would improve our relationship, by all means, I am all ears.

Do this, see how it's received by your line manager, and at the same time start looking for a new job. It's important to have a good relationship with your line manager, and this one might have badmouthed you enough to prevent you moving to a different team.

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