Kindly refer to this question for more details about me.

Multiple offers with varied benefits

So, I joined this wonderful company, was happy with my work and everything seemed to be fine. I was able to pick up very well and was able to prove myself too. I am confident that I can complete any assignment that is allotted to me. My COO was very positive right from day one and I really like working for his company.

But, there were red flags right from day one, from other employees.

  • I was asked to lead them; they have half the number of years of experience that I have(my break period excluded) and they developed animosity right from the moment I have entered the company, literally. I could sense the red flags right from day one. This was even before I started speaking to them.
  • I have been helping them whenever possible and a few of them helped me wherever needed; but, I am being stalked while working, while eating, while have conversations with others. Sometimes my conversations are being hijacked, irrelevant comments are being passed and some of them even have the audacity to comment that I do not respond to their remarks.
  • The manager is always travelling and wants me to lead this team. The team is not ready to be led by me and is making even my breathing difficult.
  • There are is no CC TV provision in the company and the employees feel free to do anything and everything; they switch of the lights when I use the bathroom; switch off the AC where I sit.
  • There were one or two instances where the team members tried to complain about me to the manager; But the manager ignored it.
  • The manager has put me in charge of the new electronic equipment to be used in the office. This includes the use of projector, conference room equipment, a linux server among others. This has visibly upset others and they tried their best to mislead me to use these equipment in the wrong way. But, I was alert and thwarted their attempt to mislead me.
  • There are lot of differences within the existing team. They make nasty remarks against each other and have cold war almost every day. But, when it comes to me, they are unitedly against me.
  • At the technical front, I have a fair good idea about how to work. I even understood how I can lead the team technically. I even got a good idea about my own career path for the next one year.

  • But, the entire team is constantly looking for an opportunity to put me down, both morally and mentally.

I feel like I am going to the war zone daily and always have to be on alert. I need to constantly look over my shoulders as to who is stalking me, ensure that there is not even a small mistake from my end as they are constantly looking for one.

I understand that this is abuse and bullying. I do not have enough proofs to show the manager about how the AC/lights are being switched off.

Picking the battles is important and I am not sure if I even have to pick this battle. I feel that my safety is being jeopardized too.

My question:

How does one know which battle to pick? For me, going to this office is a battle, literally. If I have to pick this battle, how should I handle all these Iagos?

P.S: All of these observations are not merely my assumptions. I have a fair good judgement about assuming things to be happening and about the reality. I do not want to give any benefit of doubt to my colleagues in this aspect.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – user44108 Mar 27 '19 at 6:33
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    This question is not off-topic – David Mar 27 '19 at 8:17

Sometimes it is not worth it. I am sure you can make better use of your skills somewhere else rather than dealing with a team that does not even want you there in the first place. Why would you want to be part of a project that is doomed to fail? Or, put in your own words, go pick a different battle!

Anyway, if you are asking this question, I assume quitting is not a highly valued option (you could have come up with it yourself!), so, if you are going to fight this battle, you'd better have allies! Find the people that are most willing to accept you and create your network with them.

Also, ask your superior that responsability and power should come together. It is unfair to have responsability on things that are outside your control. Put simply, if you are going to be the leader, you should be able to decide whom to lead over! If someone does not cooperate, you should be able to show them the door

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    Agreed that you should have the power to fire subordinates who are trying to sabotage you. If the team is really this dysfunctional it is in your and the company's interest to rebuild it. – Egg Mar 26 '19 at 17:43
  • @JoeStrazzere True, but the leader should report and suggest to the manager, who should pretty much always trust the leader back! Otherwise why be a leader at all? – David Mar 27 '19 at 8:15

From your response to my earlier questions I understand the following about the situation:

You are to be leading about 10 people.

They are all degreed professionals

They are NOT highly skilled non-professionals

They are NOT experts in their fields

They do NOT do repetitious work

They do NOT have a lot of 'customer contact'

They do NOT do a lot of technical problem solving

There are no other divisions in the company in the same locality

There is NOT a traditional organization structure

What you need to do is apparent to me:

  1. Lead them...Do Not "Do it all your self" while other feel "left out"

    a. Spend some time and quantify the responsibilities that each employee has

    x.  Come to a conclusion on whether or not each person likes/is happy with/is 
        good at their responsibilities
    xx.  Make a detailed plan as to where each person might better fit the 
         responsibilities (do this secretly)


    b. Call a meeting for all those under your leadership

    x.  Ask each of them what their responsibilities are
         y.  Quantify the match between their response and your opinion/expectations
    xx.  Ask each person what responsibilities they might be more productive at
         y.  See if you can offer each person with a more comfortable alignment with 
             responsibilities without violating job descriptions etc.(make no 

    c. Take your conclusions to the manager and suggest that your arrangement be implemented in as much as it is practical.

    x.  Managers will listen to this if they can believe that it will improve:
        y.  Morale
        yy.  Productivity
        yyy.  Keeping employees who are good at their jobs
        yyyy.  Etc etc


    d. With the involvement, the buy in, of the employees slowly implement your strategies

    x.  Adjust as you go along.

The result of this will be to establish you as their leader...who can get things done and make things better...and it will establish a fledgling version of tradition pertaining to structure. Just do it.

  • Thank you. I have sketched out a few of similar actions in my mind for my team members. I really want to implement these asap. But, switching off the AC, fan, light etc is annoying and bothering me a lot. – Rocky Fan Mar 26 '19 at 18:35
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    They will get over that when they adopt you as their leader. They may even come along and apologize in one way or another. Leading begins by the leader setting the example. If you show anger then they will become more angry and retaliatory toward you. If you shrug it off they will learn that you are the adult in the room... – Dr t Mar 26 '19 at 19:54

Picking the battles is important and I am not sure if I even have to pick this battle.

My question:

How does one know which battle to pick? For me, going to this office is a battle, literally.

As with any situation, you weigh the cost of the battle against the potential benefit of the outcome, tempered by the chances that you can actually win the battle.

In your case, you need to decide if the job at this "wonderful company" where you were happy with your work and everything seemed to be fine, in spite of all the red flags from day one, is worth fighting for or not. You say that your COO was very positive right from day one and that you really like working for his company, yet you have a long list of issues.

You need to determine as best you can if you can win the battle, based on your knowledge of the company and of India's support for workers in this sort of situation.

If it were me, I would have left already, particularly when you indicate "I feel that my safety is being jeopardized". That doesn't sound like a very wonderful company to me. But you are in a far better position to judge than anyone here.

  • As I have mentioned, there is no CC TV camera here. Cannot expect any kind of help from the Indian law. Not really sure how far one can go to legally fight in such cases. – Rocky Fan Mar 26 '19 at 20:32
  • There is no HR department here. – Rocky Fan Mar 26 '19 at 20:57

It's a tough situation, but at least the manager is supporting you by not listening to complaints.

I doubt the whole team is against you. They probably don't care enough about you to bother loving or hating you. To them, you're just another ineffective so-called leader and annoyance added to their miserable daily grind.

So, the battle I would start with is the nasty behavior they do towards each other. If they don't respect each other, they will never respect you. A workplace that you describe as a war zone is not pleasant for anyone. Certainly there are employees who want it to stop as much as you do but are powerless to stop it.

You need to clamp down on improper behavior and lack of respect when you see it happen. You need to start documenting the behavior and tell people you are doing it. If you see anything that qualifies as harassment, you need to bring it up immediately to HR.

My guess is that you have one or two bad apples who are the prime instigators. They are bullies, and their victims end up striking out against others in turn. That kind of thing tends to flow downhill. If you can put a stop to that, it shows the team that you will support and protect them. If you can identify the bad apples,then you can bring in upper management to deal with that. Those bad apples are almost certainly the ones messing with the lights and the A/C.

I imagine most of team feels lost and victimized and unsupported because they are suffering at the hands of a few. Show those people you are committed to making the workplace a place of respect again, and lack of respect will not be tolerated, and you will win them over.

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