Finally Managing The Manager Situation

, , , , , | Working | July 26, 2018

(I work at a large retail chain. As a result, we have many managers in the building, most of whom people can at least tolerate. One manager, however, is absolutely horrible and disrespectful with employees underneath him. This exchange happens on my way to my department one morning.)

Manager: *sees me from across a display in the middle of an aisle* “[My Name]! Why did you sign your initials on a task that wasn’t completed?!”

Me: “Okay, first off, you don’t raise your voice to me on the sales floor in front of customers, or ever, for that matter.”

Manager: “Well, I’m telling you now!”

Me: “No, you’re not telling me anything in this disrespectful manner. If you have a problem with my performance, you take me back to the office and we discuss it there civilly and professionally. Secondly, let me explain why I signed my initials–“

Manager: “No! What you did is an integrity issue!”

(Having had enough, I walk around the display and stand a normal, conversational distance from him in order to force the volume of the exchange back down.)

Me: “Actually, as it was explained to me by the department manager, you sign your initials next to any task you work on, whether it gets completed or not. If I was mistaken, or if that’s changed, then I’ll sign accordingly going forward. Regardless, you will not speak to me in this disrespectful tone.”

(With that, I walk off. As I arrive in my department, there’s the usual line of customers with the only two people available working with them. After we get the line down, before I even mention him, my coworkers tell me that [Manager] has already been there to yell at them for having empty spots on the shelves just a few minutes before he found and started yelling at me. I decide that enough is enough. I help my coworkers get to the point where the department isn’t falling apart more than usual before I head straight to the store manager.)

Me: “Hey, [Store Manager], can I talk to you?”

Store Manager: “Yeah, come on in. What’s up?”

Me: “Well, I know we’ve talked about him before, and I also know you’ve had several complaints about him from other employees, but I have to bring up [Manager] again. His behavior has gone far beyond acceptable at this point.”

Store Manager: “Yeah, I know he can get a little hot-headed, but you have to understand. Some of the departments he’s managing aren’t performing as well as they should.”

Me: “I’m going to stop that line of discussion right there. Last time we spoke about him, I already said that I understood his frustrations as a manager. That doesn’t excuse anything or make his actions anywhere near acceptable. This morning, he shouted at me in front of customers over a simple misunderstanding, almost immediately after having shouted at my two coworkers for not having all the empty spots on the salad and sandwich wall filled. So, I have a question. If one employee is in the middle of making salads while also serving a line of customers at the cold cut station, while the only other employee is cooking food and serving customers at the hot case, how exactly are they also supposed to be producing so much that they’ve filled the shelves before the store’s even been open for an hour?”

Store Manager: *pausing for a moment* “I don’t know.”

Me: “If you have employees already under pressure because they’re trying to juggle filling a wall and serving customers, as well as all of the other regular things one has to do when opening the deli department, and [Manager] comes along and the first thing he does is to start disrespecting them openly in front of customers, what happens to morale?”

Store Manager: *pausing again* “It drops, and if anything, they slow down because of the unneeded stress and frustration.”

Me: “Exactly! Now, I honestly feel that I should have gone to corporate about [Manager] last time I had a complaint, but since this is your store, out of respect for you, I’m giving you one last chance to handle this. What he’s doing is acting like a bully, which is high school nonsense. This is the adult world now, where there’s no place for that foolishness. If this problem isn’t resolved this time, I will go to corporate. If they do nothing, then I’ll move myself from his side of the store or I will walk out. I have more respect for myself than to allow myself to be treated like that.”

Store Manager: *nods slowly* “I understand.”

(With that, I thanked him for his time, shook his hand, and got back to work. I believe my complaint may have been one of the final straws, since not long after, [Manager] was moved to a smaller store.)


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