Q: My supervisor invited me to make comments on my performance appraisal form, and I wrote that I felt bullied and victimized. I also said he was not giving me the same opportunities as my co-workers.
Q: When my supervisor invited me to make comments on my performance appraisal form, I wrote that I felt bullied and victimized. I also said he was not giving me the same opportunities as my co-workers. However, I now feel that those remarks were too harsh, so I would like to retract them. How should I go about this?
A: Since your supervisor is obviously aware of these comments, you can simply tell him about your change of heart and ask how the form might be amended.
For example: “I wanted to talk with you about my remarks on the appraisal form. I was pretty upset at the time and said some things that don’t reflect how I really feel. Because I would hate for those comments to be part of the permanent record, I would like to see how we can get them removed.”
If your boss is a conscientious manager, he may ask about the reason for your previous feelings. But since those observations did not cast him in a very favorable light, he should be quite willing to help you erase them.
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Q: One of my co-workers is giving me the silent treatment. “Tracy” misunderstood something I said, and now she won’t talk to me or even walk by my desk. Whenever I try to explain, she says, “I’m not going to discuss it.”
Although I’m tired of the drama, I don’t know how to fix this. Should I just let Tracy make a fool of herself even though it bothers me?
A: The short answer to your question is yes, because Tracy is acting like a sulky child. Since her goal is to upset you, any negative response will just be reinforcing. Her pouty reaction provides an excellent example of passive-aggressive behavior, which is the most destructive way to handle any disagreement.
Passive-aggressive types fear conflict, so they avoid unpleasant conversations. But since they have trouble letting go of angry feelings, they continue to express their unhappiness indirectly.
This petulant behavior escalates the conflict, while their refusal to talk makes a resolution impossible.
Having made several attempts to discuss this issue with your moody colleague, you must now behave as though nothing is wrong. If you ignore her brooding and continue to speak and act normally, the odds are good that Tracy will eventually come around.
Submit questions to Marie G. McIntyre at yourofficecoach.com.