Taking squabbles to management is usually a bad idea, but given the circumstances, it’s time to involve the boss.
Q: Shortly after I started my new job, one of my co-workers apparently decided that she hates me. “Jane” never greets me in the morning and barely speaks to me during the day. Occasionally, she yells orders at me from across the room.
Recently, Jane brought candy to work for everyone but me. Another time, she ordered lunch for our group without asking if I wanted anything. Her dislike for me is obvious to everyone, including our customers.
If I try to find out what’s wrong, Jane tells me to shut up and just walks away. My other co-workers are disturbed by her behavior, but they don’t have any suggestions. Since Jane won’t talk to me, how can I fix this?
A: Taking co-worker squabbles to management is usually a bad idea, but given the circumstances, I think it’s time to involve your boss. New hires should not be expected to handle hostile and aggressive colleagues, nor should customers be subjected to the embarrassing behavior of childish staff members.
When presenting this problem to your manager, calmly state the facts and stay focused on business issues.
For example: “Unfortunately, Jane appears to be very angry with me, though she refuses to say why. In fact, she hardly ever speaks to me at all. Her hostility not only makes coworkers uncomfortable, but also makes a bad impression on our customers. If you could find out why she’s upset, we might be able to resolve the problem.”
Hopefully, your boss will act like a proper manager and firmly advise Jane that her juvenile behavior is completely unacceptable. At work, people must act like mature, professional adults regardless of their personal feelings.