No matter what you do there are some members of your team that just seem to be out to get you. They treat what you say with suspicion, disagree at every opportunity, are negative when you are positive and sometimes down right aggressive towards you and your ideas. And here you are trying your best to be the most professional of managers. Why do some people seem to just have it in for you?
The first thing is to relax and take an objective view of what is going on and take comfort from the fact that it is rarely a personal dislike of you – much more often it is a response to the job role that you hold. Easy and logical to say but still frustrating and demoralising to experience.
So what to do? How can you resolve this situation?
I guess, to be fair, you just need to check out if there is any justification behind your team members’ comments and responses. Find a trusted and experienced friend, work colleague, mentor or coach, one that will tell you the truth, and discuss the situation fully with them.
To attempt to improve the situation it helps to understand why staff may be acting in such a destructive way. Individuals can treat you, the manager, aggressively because they sub-consciously formed a negative opinion of authority figures early in their life (from parents, teachers, or former bosses). They now treat all authority figures as being the same whether they are or not. Psychologists call this transference, the transfer of feelings and emotions created from an experience with one person to another. Of course, taking this approach becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, their poor behaviour and attitude is likely to produce a tough managerial response from the boss which then re-enforces their opinion of bosses!! Whew, what a depressing circle of behaviour to be trapped within!
However, you can break the pattern. This means, despite the provocation to act as they expect you to act, behaving as you would do with one of your most positive employees – genuinely respecting and valuing them as such. This can, sometimes, produce startling results where the employee that no manager wanted to take off your hands (and you tried!) can become one of your stars. It is worth trying and if it works great. And if it does not at least you know you were not provoked into behaving as the manager from hell.
If you do not get a positive change then it is time to review the situation. Sometimes you are dealing with issues that are so deep and so established that there is very little that you can have an impact on.
Do, however, take action. Do not allow yourself to be effectively bullied by one of your subordinates. What action to take is very dependent upon the specific situation you find yourself in. Ideally you will have other managers and an HR team to discuss the situation with or, if you do not know where to start, or have no HR department to speak with, be sure to gain the support you need and contact us here.