If someone attacks me, for example, criticizes me strongly during a meeting or ignores my efforts to contact them for a prolonged period of time (although I know they are available and have political reasons to avoid me), how should I escalate it to my boss?

All my actions are agreed upon with my boss and I'm just trying to fulfill the tasks I'm given.

However, I also want to avoid being blamed, if one of those people tells lies about me to my boss (yes, it has happened before).

I don't mean fair criticism. I mean questioning my very right to have my job. I mean political criticism. I mean clear situations where someone makes my work impossible or tries to intimidate me. I don't know what the best way to deal with such situations is.

  • 3
    This question could use a bit more detail-- for example, why would a strong criticism of you need to be escalated to your boss? How long are the periods of ignoring contact? If someone is going to lie to your boss about you, why would your having reported negative feedback help? What sort of negative feedback are you referring to? – Upper_Case Apr 1 '19 at 19:39
  • @Upper_Case: I don't mean fair criticism. I mean questioning my very right to have my job and work on the projects assigned to me. And no, this criticism isn't caused by my performance, it's political. And: I don't know if I need to escalate it (that's why "how" is in brackets in the title). I mean clear situations where someone makes my work impossible or tries to intimidate me. I don't know what the best way to deal with such situations is. – monster_32131 Apr 1 '19 at 19:49
  • Could you work some of that information into the question itself? I think that it's valuable in clarifying what you are talking about and will be better there than in comments that may go unread or be deleted. – Upper_Case Apr 1 '19 at 19:54

Okay, standard checklist for a hostile environment time...

  1. Document everything
  2. If you cannot document something at the time, such as a conversation, send an email ASAP starting with as per our conversation.... then outline the conversation
  3. CC boss on all attempts to contact them through email. If attempt at contact is via phone, then see (2) above
  4. In meetings, be ready with a counter, "No Bob, that's not the case, in fact.... (lay out truthful case)"
  5. To deal with lies to boss: "Well boss, I'm really disappointed in Bob for painting it in that light, but I just have to correct him on this (present documentation from steps 1-3)"

You're dealing with workplace bullies, and the quickest way to stop it is to show that there will be consequences for attempting to bully you. They will either stop, or try to find other targets. If they move on to other targets, give those people the steps I've outlined for you to follow.

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(How) should I report negative feedback from others to my boss?

You don't. Don't waste your boss's time telling him that someone else criticized you.

As for people ignoring you, if their assistance is required for you to complete your tasks then make sure you have some sort of documentation of your attempts to contact them.

Any lies that people are telling your boss about you, you should have no problem refuting. If your boss, for whatever reason, still believes the lies without evidence then it might be time to look for a new company to work for.

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  • Yes, you're supposed to be able to deal with colleagues. But if someone is bullying/harassing you, or have an impact on your ability to do your job, you're allowed (and should) go to your boss (after trying to resolve the situation). "clear situations where someone makes my work impossible or tries to intimidate me" does fall in that category. OP has tried to change the situation, but nothing has changed, so the next step is to go to your manager. – MlleMei Apr 2 '19 at 9:46

criticizes me strongly during a meeting

Whether you should escalate to your boss would depend on why they are (or you think they are) criticizing you as well as answers questions such as

  • Is this criticism the result of something you could have done better?
  • Is the criticism within your area of responsibility?
  • How much objective impact did the issue that caused such criticism have for the people who are criticizing you?

If the answer to the first two points are yes, then I would not involve my manager at all. Rather take responsibility, and be accountable for your shortcomings. You may not personally agree with such criticism, and what the other side is saying may even be distasteful to you, but you need to separate personal from professional in such circumstances. You have have a job to do, and the criticism supposedly arose because your job was not done well, so criticism to a certain extent may be justified.

Political criticism

As someone who work in cybersecurity, I get a lot of this simply for doing my job. We have a (often undeserved) reputation as being the "people / department of no". When security is effective and done well, users sometimes don't see the benefit of such actions. Often, and regrettably, security is seen as a us vs them political battle, a battle of wills.

If you are getting political criticism simply for doing your job, I would just soldier on and let your good work speak for itself. You have a certain job to do, and should not be distracted by others who often have their own agendas. I do not mean to be totally callous of your fellow colleagues, and certainly you should listen with an open mind. However, sometimes you can only work / reason with someone to a certain extent, without jeopardizing your own duties / position. My work experience in cybersecurity supports my opinion to not take undeserved criticism personally.

On the other hand, if the political criticism is unfair and not a part of your role I would escalate to your boss, by carefully documenting what the other folks are requesting, how it impacts you / your team, and how acting on that is not in your or your team's best interests. A good and considerate manager should understand and support you in pushing back against the other people.

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  • I like your answer, but you only addressed the "small" stuff. You ignored the situation where ""clear situations where someone makes my work impossible or tries to intimidate me". Work is impacted, and employee seems to be bullied/harassed. Their problem doesn't seem to be limited to "colleague criticizes my work". – MlleMei Apr 2 '19 at 9:48

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