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  • Confidential access to a workplace coach and/or organisational psychologists to seek advice on a workplace issue
  • Submit your workplace issue
  • Response with recommendations sent to you within 3 business days
  • Independent advice
  • Pay as you use service $45 per submission

Most organisations have excellent EAP programs. Union representatives often provide very useful advice too. However sometimes you might like confidential independent advice from a third party.

How to Get a Response to your Workplace Woe in 5 steps

  1. Describe your workplace woe
  2. Enter your work email or private email address.
  3. Pay by MasterCard or Visa $45
  4. Receive your confidential and independent advice plus recommendations within 3 business days

Have a look at the sample workplace woes below

The information provided herein is general in nature and does not constitute legal, medical or psychological advice. Preferred Training Networks Pty Ltd ("the Company") recommends seeking advice from a qualified professional before acting on any of the advice provided. The Company does not represent or warrant the accuracy, adequacy or completeness of the information and is not responsible for any loss suffered as a result of or in relation to the use of this information. The Company excludes any liability, including for negligence, for any loss (special, indirect or consequential), arising from or in relation to the use of this information.

In 600 words or less, Describe your workplace woes

Dear Workplace Woes

I have recently started a new job as a manager of a small project team – the former manager I replaced is still working in the organisation and the same office but has been moved sideways into another role. My issue is that the former manager is constantly interfering with my team and undermining my credibility as well.

The situation is not helped by the fact that the former manager is responsible for one of the projects that my team is working on. I have tried on several occasions to talk with the former manager to discuss any possible issues we may have and how we can work together. When I have done this she has assured me that everything is fine and there is no issue however her behaviour does not match with what she has told me. Recently, there have been a couple of issues where she has gone behind my back to the managing directors to raise issues about me, that in my opinion, she should have raised with me directly.

She's blamed me for making mistakes that would have been avoided if she alerted me to the pitfalls. I've asked for her guidance many times. She sabotages my projects and her negative opinions cast a long shadow in the workplace. Every day is more depressing than the next

I have an excellent relationship with the managing directors to whom I report and have always prided myself on my professional relationship skills but this one is driving me crazy, I feel I am at the end of my repertoire and really need some advice!

In 150 words or less, what would your ideal outcome be

I'm not sure. There is obviously a pecking order issue. It would be great if we could clarify the reporting lines. An apology would be nice but I won’t hold my breath

Workplace Woe Reply (in 700 words or less)

There is no doubt that stepping into manage an existing team is challenging and your situation is compounded by the fact that the former manager is still there! Here are some suggestions for you
  1. Be clear with your team that you are the manager - you are now their line manager and don't be frightened to assert positional power and authority. Try saying things like this to your team eg "I need to you to run things past me while I get my head around the role and the business."
  2. Continue to build good relationships - build good relationships with other key internal stakeholders such as the MDs, other senior managers and influential staff. You need to build up a strong alliance throughout the organisation so that if the previous manager tries to sabotage things, others will notice and challenge.
  3. Stop trying to discuss - if the other manager does not want to discuss the issues then no matter how many times you ask her she won't. In fact, by continuing to press the issue you are probably making things worse. Simply back off and continue to engage around work issues.
  4. Pick your battles - decide when it's worthwhile to stand your ground. Remember, there are both advantages and disadvantages to acquiescing, and you need to decide when to strategically withdraw and when to advance.
  5. Update your manager - keep your own manager updated on the issue, the progress and what you are doing to manage it. Remember that perception plays a significant role in organsiational life so you need to continual shape the perception you manager has of you and the situation.
Suggested Reading

There are 2 books that would help you with your workplace woe
  1. Learned Optimism – M Seligman
  2. The 5 Dysfunctions of Teams P Lencioni

You could consider using an Executive Coach and/or an organisation psychologist

An in house training course might work well for the group. Here is a course outline to consider

High Performance Work Practices

In 600 words or less, Describe your workplace woes

Dear Workplace Woes

I have a difficult situation that has occurred recently at work. I report to two different GMs who are located in different states. Both GMs generate a lot of business for the company. THE MD is aware of the problems and might also be fearful of a showdown, since the GM's have the relationships with the key customers. In hindsight the business should have made more efforts to keep in touch with the key customers too.

So in essence we have two people working their own agendas and are causing internal havoc. They don't get on together and I feel as if I am stuck in the middle of their squabbles as they compete for their own profit centres. I am totally compromised and I fear I may be made a scapegoat and be squeezed out of a company at which I still enjoy working while they vie for the attention of the MD and the board.

How do you rope in these people? How do you get them to behave honesty and ethically in the workplace? Is it castles in the air to think that all employees' (about 40 ) should be able to work together without a major blue and/or showdown every day

I am seeking an outside opinion on my options to see if this can be resolved.

Signed frustrated.

In 150 words or less, what would your ideal outcome be

I just want to do my job. I don't want to be going to working dodging issues every day. I'd also like a big improvement in the behaviours at work. I dread going to work most days

Workplace Woe Reply (in 700 words or less)

Your situation sounds frustrating and is accentuated by the fact that the MD seems reluctant to step in and resolve the situation. Typically, these situations arise when there are strong personalities and egos involved. Furthermore, organisational culture plays a significant role in setting and monitoring workplace behaviour. A strong functional organisational culture will set standards of what is acceptable and not acceptable. Unfortunately it sounds like your workplace culture is allowing this situation to occur, and your organsiation will lose staff if this situation goes unchecked. Strong leadership is required to address these issues.

Here are some suggestions you should consider…

  1. Talk with HR - you should raise your concerns and frustrations with HR. Let HR raise the issue with senior management. They should have the skills, knowledge and expertise to highlight how these issues impact on business and people performance.
  2. Set role boundaries - spend some time with both GMs to discuss and clarify your role and their expectations. This is particularly important when you are reporting to two managers.
  3. Identify the organisational culture - try and identify the organisational culture because it has a big impact on workplace behaviour and ultimately, performance. If you are uncomfortable with the organisational culture you can either work to influence the culture it or looking for an organisation with a culture that will suit you better.
  4. Try this contingency plan as the culture may not change. Score the current organisational culture 1-10. "1" being a very poor culture. "10" being a great culture. Now pick a point in the future (say 3 months) and decide a minimum score where you will be satisfied. For example lets says the current score is "2" and in 90 days it needs to be a 6 or better for you to remain. If in 90 days the score has not met your minimum then begin the process of looking for a new job.
Suggested Reading

There are 2 books that would help you with your workplace woe
  1. Good Boss Bad Boss R Sutton
  2. Organisational Culture and Leadership Edgar H Schein

You could consider using an Executive Coach and/or an organisation psychologist

Or contact your EAP for support and advice on the matter