3

I was previously at a job, that I am no longer at.

The systems and processes were really poor.

The work of even the most junior staff member was extremely complicated due to poor systems.

One person trained me, when I first started, but not extensively.

When a mistake would be made, no matter how minor, colleagues would cc my reporting manager and the team member whose work I was processing, and also the manager of that team member.

The entire time at that role, complex processes would continuously change, without notification or proper communication processes.

The mistake would be emailed to me, advising that a mistake was made, and would cc my reporting manager, the team member of the paperwork I was to process and their manager.

At one stage, I requested one main person to only send those emails to me.

I later found out that she blind copied the others.

Team members from other states who were doing the same tasks as me, were also making mistakes, as processes changed, and there was no communication, to anyone.

I am not sure if their managers were also copied in, or, if it was just me.

Around three main people in the organisation contributed to this behaviour.

At one stage, I commented to a manager that “I think she’s just trying to get me fired”.

One manager had let me know that this person was doing my role prior, had moved into another more senior role, and when they had hired me, she had applied for the role again, but they took me instead.

If I am in a new role, and this happens again, where management are cc’d in on mistakes, what should be my next step? How do I handle this?

  • You don't. You can't change her, or abate her jealousy that you got the position she wanted, and management are aware of what is motivating these emails. Eventually, they met get fed up of overfull i-boxes & ask her to desist. – Mawg says reinstate Monica Nov 11 at 6:43
  • Btw, why don't you used a bug tracking system? – Mawg says reinstate Monica Nov 11 at 6:44
5

If I was receiving emails which outlined mistakes that were deemed to be my fault I would do two things;

Identify the source of the mistake

It may be human error (my own or someone else), or it may be system or process error. If it was my own error, or if I could fix it in reasonable time I would do so first and/or then I would...

Send a response email

The response would be a catalogue explaining the cause of the error being careful to state if I was responsible or not. If I was responsible and it was human error I would be careful to analyse if this is a lack of training. If so I would formally request a training session so that I can become familiar with the complex system to reduce this error in future. If the training is not provided and the error continues to occur you have a get out because you can blame your error on the companies error to not provide training.

e.g.

Dear all,
Error Background: The mistake xxx was caused by human error on my part.
Error Response: I have prioritised error correction for xxx and all upstream systems have also been updated.
Error Prevention: I am a new user of yyy system and kindly request the company arranges a formal training session in yyy to prevent this kind of human error in future.
Regards, AB

2

A company culture where mistakes are being communicated and discussed instead of being buried is actually a good one. When people don't admit their mistakes and engage in discussions how mistakes can be avoided in the future, then there is no way to improve on mistake-prone processes. So a well-managed company tries to create an environment where nobody needs to be afraid of their mistakes being known and being discussed openly. A mantra which I like to repeat in this regard is:

The only people who don't make mistakes are those people who don't do any work.

But there is of course a problem when not everyone plays by the same rules. If division A of an organization have their mistakes reported and division B have their mistakes swept under the rug, then division A will look a lot worse by comparison.

But a good company management would notice such a situation and chastise division B for not living up to their mistakes. At one point they should notice. Either because the numbers don't match up (how can A and B have the same results when A makes mistakes all the time and B doesn't) or because the illusion of B's infallibility can not be maintained indefinitely (how comes B only reports mistakes when they result in expensive consequences which are impossible to hide?).

A good company management would also notice when people abuse the BCC feature of the email system to talk dirt about other people and call them out on their lack of teamplay.

But not every company has a good management. There unfortunately are companies which not only tolerate but even encourage such a backstabbing culture.

So how do you survive in such a backstabbing culture?

Call out backstabbing behavior, but frame it in a positive way. Write an open email where you point out that you just found out that the mistakes of division A are being communicated to the upper management while the mistakes of division B aren't. But present this as a strength of your division, not as weakness. Point out that this culture of admitting and communicating mistakes has lead to significant improvements of the internal processes in division A while the culture of hiding mistakes in division B might lead to stagnation and organizational blindness. That's why you would encourage that the mistakes made by division B are from now on communicated in the same way as those of division A.

Best case:

  • Division B looks bad because their backstabbing is brought to attention
  • You look good because you are showing interested in improving the company
  • You made a step to improve the mistake culture in your company

Worst case:

  • Management consists of people who thrive on the backstabbing culture, think it's normal and thinks you are foolish and weak for not playing the backstabbing game.
  • Division B somehow manages to convince the management that they aren't making mistakes so there is nothing for them to communicate and the management is gullible enough to believe that.

The question is if you really want to waste yourself on such a management culture.

  • The real question here is, after a mistake, do management just yell at you, or do they change the process? – Robin Bennett Nov 11 at 11:36
1

Your manager needs to know what's going on in their team. CC'ing them on emails is a perfectly appropriate thing for your colleagues to do.

The thing to focus on is the tone of the emails. If your colleague is essentially saying "BUSQ, you f**ked everything up. You were supposed to clean the widgets and you haven't", (whether or not they're CC'ing your manager), then that's inappropriate, and you should speak to your manager about it and let them know that you don't find it appropriate.

But again, tone is everything. If the above phrase was something like "The task to clean the widgets isn't finished yet, as widget 456 is still dirty", then that's an appropriate thing to say to both you and your manager. It's not pointing fingers or assigning blame, and your manager needs to know that more time needs to be spent cleaning widgets. They can't do their job effectively otherwise.

Management needs to be notified about mistakes. They also need to be notified in a professional and constructive way.

  • But this is fair if the reporting is the same for all, but appears that it was not - targeting the OP only. – Solar Mike Nov 9 at 17:22

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