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I work in the US in loan servicing in a bank in the corporate office. I am one year new to the industry and about 6 months new to my role. Several of my tasks are transactional. Yesterday, my Manager asks me to come to her desk to show me something. I go over and she asks me to pull up a chair. Then without any preface, she just begins speaking to me coldly and in an accusatory tone. At first, I have no idea what account she's talking about or even what happened. I am just surprised at how she is approaching me. The hostility is coming off of her in waves and I feel it. I remain calm but I see she's really bothered about what she's telling me. She was asking me questions such as why did you do that? Where did you get the direction to do that? I tell her that this is a training issue and I just didn't know that I was not supposed to do that and that I understood what I did wrong and I know what to do next time. I left that interaction feeling beat up and mistreated. I wanted to tell her "Don't talk to me that way".

My question is, do I bring up to her my dislike of her demeanor and tone towards me and that I don't like her teaching style? I am conflicted because I am still learning her management style. She has only been my Manager for 6 months. This is the first time I have had such an exchange with her. I scheduled a one on one in two weeks time and I am wondering if that is a good time to bring up my dislike of our interaction. Or is this career suicide?

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    It's really difficult to predict if this is career suicide. If this happens once every 6 months, it might be best just to deal with this mentally. Your manager may have also been having a bad day. Commented Aug 1, 2023 at 6:22
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    "that I don't like her teaching style" you may want to consider that a manager is not your teacher... Commented Aug 1, 2023 at 9:29
  • I wouldn't speak to her the way I want to speak to her just out of the blue like that. But I see what you are saying. If she's able to "develop me". Why can't I give her a little development. Her manner was attacking and off putting. Commented Aug 1, 2023 at 13:03
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    If you were in the UK, I would be taking this matter to her manager since all disciplinary matters should be handled professionally and in private and with no pre-determined judgement. But you are in the USA - the Wild West of Employment and quite obviously, your apparent failure to follow procedures more than likely indicated that is HER fault for failing to train you correctly. Working for a bad manager who is also unable to manage people fairly is always hard. I personally would find another job and before you leave drop your manager in it so she gets a dose of her own medicine.
    – Nikki
    Commented Aug 1, 2023 at 15:18

2 Answers 2

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I suggest growing a thicker skin.

While your boss could have handled that better, you can't realistically expect everyone to always communicate with you in a tone and style that's most suited to you and your current mental state. You will always run into people that you perceive as rude or offensive, so you might was well start learning now how to deal with it.

Don't let it bother you. Get your emotions out of the picture and instead analyze what you have learned from the interaction. Accept that you made a mistake. Make sure you don't make it again. Look into thing you could have done to potentially prevent this (double check training materials, for example), look for similar issues that may occur in the future and resolve them before they happen, etc.

A side note: Communication styles vary A LOT between different people, countries and cultures. What some people perceive as offensive is perfectly normal and acceptable for other people. Case in point: I once got involved in a case where person A was furious and offended by person B, while person B hadn't any clue at all that person A was upset because of them.

These things do happen and being able to effectively deal with different communication styles is a very important job skill to have.

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    Also, she may have just been raked over the coals for her direct report's mistake and was upset herself. Mistakes in the highly regulated financial sector can cost enough to end a business in certain situations. Depending on the mistake, hurt feelings would be the least of my worries when correcting someone if I was still in that sector.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Aug 1, 2023 at 15:58
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I ended up sending an email and expressing to my manager my perception of her demeanor during the interaction. It was not what she was saying but how she was saying it. I asked her if we could talk about it. I scheduled a Teams meeting and we talked it out. She was a little defensive at first. She told me what I was expressing about her alleged behavior was not her intention at all. She said she did not perceive she came off that way. She told me she did not want to discount my feelings and she was sorry I took it that way but that was not her intention. I believed her. She seemed sincere and I believe we hashed it out. So I am satisfied.

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    Oh boy...so long as you're prepared for the consequences of the reputation you're developing.
    – DTRT
    Commented Aug 1, 2023 at 18:20
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    Not many people would really want to call for a meeting like the OP did because it is risky and could backfire significantly in the long run... But, if this manager is really cool and calm, then it might be OK. It really depends on the personality of the manager. Commented Aug 1, 2023 at 21:19
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    I'd rather have my dignity with the reputation I am developing. Just because someone has the the title of Manager that does not mean they can talk to you any old way. It's not what she said but the way she said it. That speaks to morale. I am glad I spoke up for myself. Commented Aug 1, 2023 at 21:23
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    Good for you! It is always better to try to talk about issues instead of letting them fester if you plan on staying at that job for a while. There is some risk, because not everyone is comfortable being direct about things that might seem like you're criticizing them. I'm glad it worked out for you.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 15:37
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    @Johns-305 I am happy to have someone on my team who will tell me that the way I said something upset them. That way I can assure them that wasn't my intention and adjust my communication style with them a bit. I don't want someone who will get upset and just silently assume I'm a jerk or I don't like them because I was too distracted by a problem to soften my language appropriately. Everyone has days when they communicate less than perfectly and don't realize how that impacted other people. It's best to clear the air rather than stew over it.
    – ColleenV
    Commented Aug 2, 2023 at 19:03

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