In my workplace the 'little guys' tend to get it in the neck. There are, I believe numerous issues within management, causing the bulk of the stress the workforce experiences, but the team I'm part of always seem to take the brunt of it.

An example:

Yesterday was hugely demanding. We were dealing with clients non-stop. (Which has become a fine art in itself as the management will not give us adequate resources to meet their needs, and we're supposed to pack in as many as possible but somehow maintain good customer service). When I mean non-stop I mean you could take literally a breath and then you were on to the next one. At the end of the day three of us (representing our team) had a scheduled meeting with our manager and also his management.

Deviating completely from the meeting agenda, our manager let rip about an issue that may not be trivial, but is certaintly minor in terms of the other issues in our workplace. This minor issue was under the remit of my team. It seems like one person in the team has not followed our protocols to the letter. However, the person was not present at the meeting and the manager spoke as if all of the team were breaking protocol. The manager ranted at great length and threatened ultimately to fire us if protocol was broken again. I would just like to re-clarify that this really is a minor issue in the grand scheme of things: someone booking an extra 5 minutes for a client. The staff member needed a personal word aside. The manager made us look terrible in front of his managers and there was no room for us to defend ourselves.

After they had left, at the end of the meeting, the manager calmed considerably and told us that he knew who the person was who was breaking protocol and that it was none of us three and not to worry about it. In a way that made me feel worse as we'd just been yelled at for nothing. The manager moved topics and went on to say that if we have any issues with clients yelling at us or giving us a hard time then we can call on him at any time and he'll come out and support us. He said that it was unacceptable if staff were spoken to badly by clients. I couldn't quite believe he didn't recognise that he was the one giving the hard time.

And finally - as we were clearing up - he turned to me and calmly mentioned a mistake that he's noticed me regularly making. I was confused as the type of mistake in question is the type of mistake I pride myself on not making, but assuming it must be true - I asked for an example so I could address it. He had no examples - not even a recollection of one that I could track back. I said I'd appreciate if he came across one in the future if he points it out to me. Regardless, I then looked bad in front of my two colleagues, who up till that point had been the only two people in the room who didn't think I looked bad!

This is just an example from yesterday, but how can I speak to my manager (who is also PR) about this? Or how can I tackle 'accusations' in a meeting setting without sounding confrontational (especially with someone who is semi-threatening my job). I'm finding it difficult because a lot of people go to work and hop on the net or take long breaks and slack off, and we were in there working non-stop, keeping everything afloat only to get chewed out for something we didn't do. We were supposed to have appraisals (for personal development/concerns) a year and a half ago and we are still waiting.

  • 2
    Really need a location for this. – gnasher729 Oct 2 '19 at 16:41
  • United Kingdom. – Ohni Oct 2 '19 at 19:37

First of all - management is almost always unreasonable. The one reason for the continued popularity of the comic strip 'Dilbert'.

Document everything. When given direction by management at least get an electronic copy of the instructions.

If accused of anything don't be defensive. Instead ask for clarification of the 'mistake'. Again, the request should be an electronic copy. Ask for specifics of what the manager observed and how you can improve. Ask the manager for the detailed company procedures whenever XYZ happens. If there is no company procedure for XYZ then ask if you can be part of a team looking into XYZ.

Good luck. If management is totally unreasonable to could be time to look for another position.

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“Without sounding controversial”: You calmly state the facts. For example “You accuse us all of doing X. None of the people present here has ever done X. One person who is not here has done X once, but this is a very minor problem compared to other problems that we have.”

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