Ganging Up By Subordinates - CiteHR
Dinesh Divekar
Business Mentor, Consultant And Trainer
Bodhisutra
Manager, Operations
Cite Contribution
Community Manager
Nashbramhall
Learning & Teaching Fellow (retired)
Raj Kumar Hansdah
Shrm, Od, Hrd, Pms
+3 Others

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Hello Everyone.

I am an MBA graduate (regular) from a renowned B School, currently working as a middle level manager in an MNC. I have almost 4-5 years of experience.

In my office, I have around 15 employees reporting to me.. I am facing a very serious problem these days- My subordinates gang up against me to harass me.

Yes, it happens the other way round too!

It all started when my boss started openly insulting me in front of my employees. (He has always insulted me in front of my peers in Manager's Meets but I could survive till the point my subordinates did not know it) He threatened to turn me out of the organization when I didn't agree to leave on my own saying he is preparing my back up in the territory.

Then, he actually went ahead and plotted secretly to turn me out! One fine day, I was asked by him to leave the office premises without any fault of mine... After asking him the reason for the same, he said, "The management wants you out of here." I was asked to go on forced leave without even letting me know the reasons of turning me out... An enquiry was conducted for the same by the 'management' after which I was asked to take a transfer from my hometown where I was working... I could not take a transfer due to my family conditions. I was asked to 'take my own time to think' When my stance did not change even after a period of almost 2 months, I was asked to join back the same office premises..

When I joined back, the staff of the office was changed... New staff was transferred from the other local branches of the organisation into my office. This new staff misbehaves with me like anything... They refuse to come on time. I come to the office on time and wait for around 15 minutes daily for my subordinates to and come start the work. They answer back, bluntly refuse to do the work I ask them to do... I feel like a rubber stamp instead of being boss in my own office...

My super boss doesn't listen to me at all when I try to discuss this with him. His only reply is- "We changed the staff for you, still you can't handle. The problem is in you." He never even picks my phone call, asks me to type all my problems on message which is not possible everytime.. How much can a person type all the type?

I am getting depressed with each passing day... I am looking for a new job but I just want some advice that how should I keep myself motivated and continue to live sanely till the time I can find a new job...

I don't want to leave this job till I find a new job since my family conditions don't allow me to do so..

Dear grace_panache,

You have mentioned your problem. There are two parts of your post. Earlier, you faced hostility from your superior only. Now not only superior but juniors also have joined this bandwagon. Against this backdrop, how far it is worthwhile to continue in this organisation is your call. The damage is irredeemable.

If your boss started insulting in front of everybody then that was big mistake on his part. Reprimand should be given always in private. Castigation in front of others has lowered your value. You should have thought of quitting your company that time itself. Why did you drag on? Is your boss MBA? If yes, then it only goes on to show to the hollowness of the management education in India.

Few things that you did not mention are as below:

What is your designation? Which department you were working in? What is the qualification of your subordinates in general? What is the finished product or service of your company?

When the boss of scolding, did you make note of your mistakes? Did you repeat those mistakes? Did you commit mistakes that belied or belittled your management education?

By the way, why your boss was criticising you? Was it due to poor performance? What is the expectation of your boss and what was your performance? While taking this job, did you bite more than what you could have chewed?

In your entire post, nowhere you have mentioned your own mistake. So should we construe it as you have external locus of control or you have self-serving bias?

Anyway take it as lesson. There is lot of animus between you and your boss. At this stage, separation is better solution. But then make also an action plan on how to avoid in future on what happened in current company.

All the best!

Dinesh V Divekar

Hello Grace,
Dinesh Divekar has given you some sound advice and also asked you pertinent questions. Also kindly read and digest the first post at https://www.citehr.com/11400-carrot-...ffee-bean.html

@Mr. Dinesh Divekar,

I am little worried about answering all these questions lest I might end up disclosing my identity but will try answering them to maximum possible extent :)

To explain my designation- It's roughly similar to a Manager who is handling 2 Team leaders and the employees working under them.

In my industry, there are more males as we go up the hierarchy as compared to at lower levels & here, work experience is valued more than education. So, most of my subordinates are either 12th Pass or graduates. My boss started young at a lower level, went on to reach at his current designation roughly in around 12 years and completed his graduation later through correspondence.

Regarding your questions about my boss reprimanding me-

Will give you few instances-

He used to scold me if I ever used to lower my eyes in case he used vulgar language in Managers' Meets. I was told that I was not bold enough to survive...

Another instance-

I was told that the branch that I am heading has failed in the audits. When I asked for the detailed report, I was not shown it. He asked me to read the entire operations manual and find out where I could have erred. (It's a huge manual and it's not possible for me to find my mistakes by reading the entire manual) Then, few months later, I attended a Manager's Training Session with managers from all over India. There I came to know by chance that I had scored a rank in top 5 out of approximately 100 odd branches all over India.

One more-

I caught an employee stealing. Had adequate proofs. Still, no action was taken against her citing inadequate proofs as the reason.

After targeting me indirectly for work (which he could not do for long by hiding facts from me), he targeted me directly calling me unattractive and abnormal.

He commented that I was refusing to take a drink with him because I didn't trust him. Then, I was accused of not being friendly with my employees because I don't go out with them for night outs/late night parties/movies.

Then I was asked to leave. When I joined back, I came to know that the said manager has left the organization himself and people in my branch were all transferred. But the super Boss, whom I now report to, is behaving in a hostile way for no fault of mine.. I heard him telling my Team Leader that he is here on a 'Special Mission'.



[/B]

I have felt you are an experienced individual and guide other people on the forum.

I hope you can gauge that I don't suffer from any self serving bias. In fact, I am a self critical person. I often analyse what I should be doing because running away from things has never been my thing. Had I suffered from a self serving bias, I would have kept hopping from one job to another instead of sticking in and trying to analyse myself & the situation in order to find solutions.

I do accept that I have a different life style and belonging to a conservative family, I know it's not possible for me to change it.

But when I am not judging others for their lifestyle... why am I being judged?

Why isn't an employee allowed to lead his/her personal life the way he/she wants to?

Why should a person be made to leave the system when it has got nothing to do with her job?

I have constantly proved myself at workplace despite of not getting any support. I have worked extra hard to prove myself as a manager.

So, why should I run away from the company and since when can I keep running?

Where does it leave an honest and dedicated employee like me?

@ Nashbramhall,

Thanks for your reply.

You sent link to a beautiful post. Shall update my reply there :)

Dear Grace
Thanks for providing more information.
It appears to be a case of Workplace Bullying and has shades of sexual harassment and discrimination.
The latter is evident from the issues related to late-night meeting and parties; as well as use of sexually-explicit languages during meeting.
Instead of feeling stressed and depressed; you need to take this up as a challenge with an indomitable spirit.
Warm regards.

Dear grace_panache,

In your second post you have written that "He used to scold me if I ever used to lower my eyes in case he used vulgar language in Managers' Meets. I was told that I was not bold enough to survive..."

If this is true then your manager was scumbag out and out. Why did you continue for such a long time? After some one year or so, you could have quite and joined somewhere else.

As far as taking drinks with manager is concerned, it is your personal choice, nobody can or should force you. More than choice, it is question of your personal values as well. Being myself teetotlar, I know how difficult it is to lead a chaste life. At times we are at the butt of some addict's ridicule. This challenge you may face throughout your life.

As far as your organisation is concerned, I do not think it is that professional as well. Otherwise it would not have allowed some manager to dictate personal agenda.

Since you had not given complete information, I raised questions about self-serving bias or external locus of control. I had asked questions and I was not opinionated, please note.

All the best!

Dinesh V Divekar

Dear Grace,
Like Dinesh Divekar pointed out, many of us do not drink, smoke, and are vegetarians. However, none of this prevented some of us working and progressing even in the West. I know that there are some misconceived people who discriminate against us. Discrimination exists in many ways and we have 3 choices: put up with it, move to some other place or fight against it. When I started work in the UK 45 years ago, there were no laws against discrimination. So, many of us did not have the last choice. So, we wither put up with it or moved to newer pastures where there was less discrimination. However, no people have the choice to fight and some do fight. Same goes for sex and religious discrimination.

Dear Grace_panache,
Being thick and thinned skin selectively, is easier said than done. Your subordinates will not listen to you and falter. Them faltering will affect you. Hence, your bosses will always have a reason to blame.
You are destined to change this job, how you would survive till you find one is what you need to understand. A continuos insult is a psychological harassment. However, you have bigger wars to fight.
You already know the problems that would arise from levy your unruly subordinates are taking. Can you calculate that? Your super boss no longer talks to you. Can you email him on the upending challenges that you are likely to find ?
Can you shift your focus from reporting problems to identifying solutions as in when they arise?
If you give yourself three months , would you be good to find a new role? Identifying a deadline to the current situation might offer you some respite.
Its a thin ice. How is grievance handled in your firm?

Well, many of us do not drink, smoke or use swear words but have absolutely no problem working with those who do.
People who drink/smoke/curse should not judge you and neither should you judge them - it cuts both ways.
If, as you say, your boss is really such a douchebag, you should quit and get another job.
However, I'd say that things in life are seldom so clearly black and white. While your boss could be one of those rare people who are douchebags for no reason, there is also a possibility that some of your behaviors triggered his behavior. That's a point for you to introspect - why did people behave the way they did with you? Do they behave in the same way with everyone who doesn't smoke/drink or was it some specific trait of yours?
Only you can decide - but yes, a) since the atmosphere has become toxic, leave this job, and, b) since this is unusual, do a round of introspection and check if you too have some contribution in creating such a situation.

Dear Grace,
I missed adding something about me. Forget alcohol, I don't even drink Tea or Coffee. Yes I did survive workplaces of every kind.
Even now a large part of my work, includes socialising. No matter who thinks or says what, my worth lies in the values that I bring to people and not what I consume.
Wish you all the best!


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