Asking for my mum. She is a head at a warehouse. There is a new employee that has been causing some hassles. This has created some tension.
The new employee, by all accounts, is insubordinate. That is, they question my mum's and others' authority, with things such as, "is this the company way of doing things, or is it your way?", and "I used to be a manager myself". My mum's colleagues have referred to them as "unstable". My mum's superior, the manager, has apparently also noticed this, and agreed with it (initially).
However, the manager above my mum's manager has become involved, and my mum's manager apparently betrayed her, saying that she did not do enough to teach this new employee, which was a total shock to my mum, as it was the first time she heard any negative feedback about her management of this new employee, and that previously a lot of people had complained about this new employee, and had no issue with my mum's management of them. The superior manager apparently appeared to favour my mum's direct manager's side. She became emotional over this, and asked whether she could be demoted to a lesser role, as the stress was getting to her. The manager asked her to "sleep on it".
Furthermore, my mum has noticed that some employees (especially the new one) tend to do whatever they like, so she doesn't have as much control over them. This is causing her a great deal of stress, because she believes that if she raises this, it may appear that she cannot perform her role. She is between a rock and a hard place. This is causing great stress.
The immense psychological stress is very impactful, to the point where my mum dreads going to work. On the other hand, this is a somewhat secure role, and she has been at this company for over a decade, and it is not clear whether she can step down to a lesser role. She needs to hang on to this job, as due to her age (60s) it may be difficult to find alternative work.
The biggest issue is: it is not clear whether it is possible to take on a lesser role. She feels in danger of being made redundant if she does not stay in her current role. She feels she can't talk to HR about this, as they would get involved in the whole situation. It is also unknown what legal rights she has regarding her position.
My suggested approach
I suggested her to try to pander to the managers a little, by implying that she was "under the impression" that she was performing her role well, and her direct supervisor's statement that she had not been teaching the new employee enough was the first she ever heard of it, and if she had known about it earlier, she would have taken steps to amend this. I also advised her to stay in her current position, but she said they she would look like a fool in front of management by threatening to step down to a lesser role over this, and then backflipping.
What to do?
Edit: I think people are not getting the crux of this question, which is that my mum has appeared to be backstabbed by other staff. There were previously no complaints whatsoever regarding her management of this new employee, until the more senior manager became involved, at which point others tried to cover themselves by blaming my mum for "not teaching" enough. I am sorry, but if there were such problems, why were they not raised earlier?