About 3 months ago I started a new job. Today the main manager asked to speak with me in private. He said he had been getting the feedback that I've been questioning people when I'm told to do something. He also said he hadn't noticed it himself.
I'm very bad at thinking on the spot in situations like this, I much rather have an idea what a meeting is about before it starts so I can collect my thoughts.
I was vague back to him and said "Sometimes I say something that gets interpreted in a way I didn't intended it to. I apologize".
I asked if he had any examples he could share. He mentioned one supervisor, and I only worked with her once on my third day of the job. From what I recall, basically she got me to switch between tasks very frequently. For example "Hey! Work on Project A now!" 10 minutes latter "Hey! Work on Project B now!" and it kept alternating like this for the next 2 hours. Allegedly I said "I was told we work on Project B when [insert conditions here]". I can see how this could come across as questioning. I meant to say something more like "is there something wrong? You've asked me several times to switch, am I missing some information?"
First off, should I have asked the manager to elaborate on how I question people when they tell me to do something? Problems are easier fixed when given details. My manager gave me the tip to do something first then after ask why it's done like that. I'm really bad of thinking like that, are there any other social queues like that that if not done would make it look like I'm giving sass? In situations like this one where you're in "trouble" what's the best way to handle it? Just listen and apologize?
Perhaps I'm overthinking this but it seems strange that what I consider a small incident was escalated to the manager and he's talking to me about it 3 months later. Does this raise a red flag in terms of the way interpersonal issues are handled at this workplace? I got the sense that the manager didn't want to give me specifics or I would find out how the people were that said this and retaliate against them.