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Code word or good stopping sentence needed...

Discussion in 'Personal' started by anon3372, Aug 21, 2012.

  1. I have a very horrible and difficult meeting tomorrow with a colleague I really do not like. At all. It is very rare that I don't get along with colleagues, but she is a nightmare (and EVERYONE has problems with her).
    The reason this is difficult is because:
    1) She is in a managerial position but useless
    2) She is unreliable
    3) On this project I am senior to her and she hates that fact (she is the kind of boss who literally stamps her feet and gets hysterical and bullies her staff, but she is not my boss or senior to me, so it frustrates her)
    4) She is as stubborn as a mule
    5) She blames everybody else for things she has not taken care of herself.
    I need to get her alongside, otherwise the project will not move on - and I am not having that!
    I am good at staying calm and on topic (at work [​IMG]) - but she is like a red flag to a bull for me (had several meetings with her over the years - she is DIFFICULT!)
    I am trying to avoid saying "Listen, I am Project Manager and you do as I say" (cos that is a thing I would never do) but actually, that is what I need to tell her! [​IMG] as she has not been meeting deadlines, nor communicating with the team.
    Her line manager approached me today...to wish me luck! (jeeze, thanks for the flowers, babe).
    What kind of stopping sentences do you use to move the topic back to where it should be and in the direction things should go?
    NORMAL language doesn't work with her - she also tends to burst into tears or have a tantrum (which makes me want to laugh, but I can't do that, it would make things worse).
  2. modelmaker

    modelmaker Lead commenter

    Could you start the meeting by saying "Before we get down to business, I've bought a present for you..." then hand her a very nicely gift-wrapped box of tissues?
  3. Haha! You devil.

  4. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    I like "Stop there, please"
  5. So do I.
    Also "That is an interesting point, let's discuss when we have the pressing issues dealt with..."
    Nothing like that works with her.
    I want to get out of the meeting without her having another melt-down - AND I want some results.
    Unfortunately, I can't kick her off the team - I already spoke to her managers about my reservations a few months ago and got the reply "Yes, she is a challenge but you'll cope, CQ".
    Lovely dovely. So I have a useless person on my team and if the project fails - it is my failure. [​IMG]

  6. Crowbob

    Crowbob Lead commenter

    Try to let Nick and Karen see her unreasonable behaviour (and your calm response). Then, when in the Boardroom start squealing in her face until Lord Sugar agrees with you.
  7. Hee hee!
    Unfortunately - this meeting is just the two of us!
  8. "Then I woke up and realised it was all a dream"

  9. Nightmare more like.
    I already annoy her to death by signing off any email to her with "Thank you in advance for your support".
    She hates it (she told her line manager, who told me - the drama!) because I don't give her an opportunity to have a go at me (yes!, this is how krank the woman is!)
  10. In view of that, would it not be better just to have it out and have done with? Being taken up with office politics is not that helpful to anyone. Even the players.
  11. Been there, done that.
    She bursts into tears, stamps her feet and has hysterics. It is why I normally avoid having meetings alone with her - but this time, I am supposed to be the one who "tells" her.
    I envisage lots of tissues, me trying to keep a straight face and get back on topic and in the end, me writing up the minutes with "A does x by date y" - and then having to chase her up again (aka me ending up doing the work so that the project moves on, with her line manager in copy).
    Honestly, she is the bain of our company but the big bosses don't seem to see fit to get rid of her, but pass the buck down to us in middle management. HR is already involved but seem to be doing nothing either. I am not in favour of kicking somebody out - (she is good at her job when she can be ***** to prioritise) but I do think some kind of competency measures are called for.
    Like talking to a bleddy brick wall.
    Maybe she is good at bonking.

  12. Sorry, that really was mean.
    I told you she is like a red flag to me!
  13. You mean the bosses?
  14. I wasn't being serious.
    But I suspect she is good at "selling" herself. You know the kind - lick upwards, kick downwards?
    But we are on the same level - so I am supposed to now sort it (believe me, HR will be getting my feedback).
  15. modelmaker

    modelmaker Lead commenter

    Have you considered getting one of those chairs that Reginald Perrin's boss, CJ, had? The ones that make embarrassing noises whenever you sit on it or change your posture?
    Interestingly, when I worked in the NHS, we had a newly built department in which the common room was equipped with some very comfortable, yet expensive Parker Knowle chairs that you had to learn how to sit on gently to avoid embarrassment. We had one guy, a physicist, I believe, who was an absolute pain in any conversation when he got on his high horse, that could never master it. His name was Reg as well, by coincidence.
    I started the sniggers off when he sat down one day by asking "Are you alright there, Reg, or did you have the sprouts with your lunch?" and forever after, every time he joined us at tea break, my colleagues sniggered at his expense.
  16. Hi CQ, I'm on Safari so apologies in advance for poor formatting!
    I have consulted my "Fierce Convsations" handbook which has a section on the confrontation model of conversation! Their suggestion for the process is as follows:
    Preparation: Opening Statement: Name the Issue, give an example of the behaviour or situation that needs changing, describe your emotions around the issue, clarify what is at stake for you, others and the team. Identify your contributions to the issue and indicate your wish to resolve the issue and invite them to respond.

    When people are confronted most people will attempt to justify their behaviour in order to escape accountability by one of three tactics: Deny, Defend or Deflect. If they are defensive try using the phrase "What helpful behaviours can we engage in that will help us overcome....".

    Then move on to ask their views, paraphrasing to show that you are listening to what they are saying and to check that you are perceiving their point fully, dig deep and acknowledge their position and interests.
    Move to resolution: what have we learned? Where are we now? What is needed for resolution? What was left unsaid that needs to be unsaid? What is our new understanding? How can we move forward from here given this new understanding?
    Make new agreement and have a method to hold each other liable!
    I don't know if there is anything there that helps?
  17. Is it just you and her or will there be others?
  18. Thanks, dance.
    Yes, she is a whizz at "deny, defend, deflect"!
    I have all my points noted - I am going to address each point and firstly ask her for her solution. (I know she is going to whine and say somebody else didn't do it, but I have the task sheet naming her as the person responsible).
    Then I shall ask her what has prevented her from meeting the deadlines (then she will waffle on for 30 mins because she never takes a breath, after 10 minutes I will probably bang my fist on the table).
    Then I shall ask her if she would like to leave the team, seeing as her other obligations leave no time for her to spend on this project, and that I understand that she has other priorities, and ask her to suggest somebody who can replace her.
    She will then of course say, "no, no, I can do it"
    And then I am going to ask her to give me her deadlines for herself, will then check if they are viable or not and adapt as necessary.
    And I am going to have to tell her that she has disappointed the team and caused extra work, there is no way I can avoid that (so I shall take some tissues with me).
    This is her very last chance. If things don't get better after this, I am kicking her off the team, and will answer to my superiors.

  19. Just me and her.
    Nobody can deal with her - so now I am supposed to (and I really, really, really don't want to).
  20. OK
    Have your agenda with bullit points copy for her as well
    I want to say 'swalk' things but it's not that begins with an s though. Copy for her as well.
    anyway 3-4 columns landscape.
    Issues in the first left Fill in this part. then its solutions or something, then actions and by whom plus dates.
    You fill in the columns as the meeting progresses. Seeking some acknowledgment agreements.
    Its a plan about how to do what needs to be done, how and when etc.
    Space for date for next meet.
    I'm guessing that you need solutions but fear upset by her.
    She may be anxious and ready to be got at.
    Take that away if you can. Its solutions you need.
    Try not to sit opposite her but to the side. Have tissues water etc ready on the table.
    Watch your body language. - sit back whilst talking and look at her, listen be ready to stop a flow by shifting forewards a bit. Aim to keep the focus on your plan. If she waffles on shift back. If she loses it, shift back more but maintain your calm position.
    When you are interacting and following the plan, shift foreward and give her positive cues. Nods etc
    Dont lose it. Focus on solutions.

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