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Should I speak up about this?

1105 Views 8 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Sunrain
I sort of posted about this a while back, but a male co-worker had gone around bad-mouthing me and my group's efforts. The reality of the situation was that he was swamped in his own personal/school work so neglected our group and his responsibilities. Still, he criticized everything he felt we were doing wrong although he wasn't even helping and fulfilling his own responsibilities. In the end, he received credit for the work we did, but I have been hearing that he has been saying some bad things about me (the leader) here and there.

2 of the members in the group have tendencies to sweep things under the rug and shrug it off, as in "it's over with, I don't want to deal with HIM anymore." They agree that he is being a jerk, but they aren't the type to stand up for their thoughts, or me for that matter. The other person in the group was just pissed at the dynamics, pissed at me to a certain extent for not leading the situation better (i.e.- kicking this guy out in the middle) and also pissed at me not catering to all of her ideas. Sorry, but it is a group effort and I have to take everyone's ideas and input into consideration. I respected her ideas and let her know, but she would get upset and critical when not all of her ideas were used. As a result, she left the project highly critical of me, for different reasons.

So it is just left to me to stand up for myself.

When I posted about this in the summer, I was encouraged to keep my head high and continue doing my work positively when I start my new job. However, this individual has quite a lot of social leverage and has reached further than I thought (and has criticized me a lot to people I know). Most people have told me on here that if I am patient and continue to work hard, people will see that what he has been saying is false. I am not so sure that society works this way though especially when it comes to socially influential people like him. I have been meeting people that have a certain preconception of me based on what he said, and it is making my life difficult.

I've realized that in the past, I've allowed myself to NOT stand up for myself and NOT voice my side of the issue. I tried to live by the saying, "if you don't have anything good to say, don't say it." This is also because I tend to want to hear both sides of a story and a lot of times, I tend to be more suspicious of the person doing the bad-mouthing (and I'm sure y'all can relate to this), but I realize that in the "real world," if you don't speak up about your side of the story when you have the chance, you're the one that gets screwed. Many times, I've let the opportunity slide to "clear up" my side and clean up my reputation, but I feel there is a lot of haziness in relationships because the person has a preconception of me/has heard things but doesn't know me well enough to ask me about it. And I just hate the idea of walking around with people having the wrong idea of me.

I guess I am looking for two things here -- am I right to be feeling this way? and also what are possible steps I can take to move forward? I don't want to "air out my dirty laundry" to people involved (since I don't know exactly how much he said to each person), but at the same time, I don't want to just be quiet and let the status quo stand. :sad: Ideally, I would appreciate if I could talk about this vaguely one on one with people involved: "I've had a work project before that was challenging for me in these ways - a member was unable to fulfill his responsibilities, and it was discouraging to hear after the project that he has been criticizing me." But I cannot for the life of me think of any situations where this would come up (except in my own imagination).

So yes, help me with any advice or input about this situation. I do not consider myself a natural-born leader, so it is kind of difficult for me to navigate this situation, so I appreciate the input of everyone.In the future, I will be sure to reject any positions that place me in this type of stressful leadership position, as I realize that I am not a natural-born leader of people. I am a hard worker, but I don't think I have what it takes to lead people and be "politically" smart. Or maybe this experience will help me, who knows? And also, I am thinking of shooting this person an email along the lines of "I am disappointed to hear from some that you have been critical of our work as a group. I appreciate your opinions, but I believe that they would have been better said in a setting where we could've worked on it constructively to improve, rather than being bashed on." And somewhere I want to include how he was busy and didn't do his own work. This is a straightforward way I think, but I am concerned that this will create DRAMA. This individual is an extraverted feeler and I can already see all the drama that will ensue, but at least it will ensure (?) that he won't talk badly about me anymore. Also, this person is not an ISTJ, but I respect your inputs. :blushed:
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Telling the facts about a situation is ok, if the circumstances of normal conversation bring it up. To manipulate a conversation so that you get the opportunity to tell your side and clear the air is drama, as is telling about how you feel about the situation. Reading into someone's body language or comments, and then leaping to conclusions (oh he must've told them about everything--look how they are acting toward me) also qualifies as drama.

Ignore the situation as much as possible. Keep your nose to the grindstone and do exemplary work. If someone brings up the situation and states something that is factually untrue, or asks you a pointed question about the situation, then answer it factually and truthfully. It will work out. Not today, nor tomorrow, but eventually.

It takes time. Lots of time.

In the future make decisions about people like you would about things. If you are sweeping the floor and the broom handle breaks, you assess the situation, looking at what resources you have available and make a decision to:

Do nothing. Use the broken broom as it is.

Repair the handle.

Replace the handle.

Replace the broom.

Do the same thing with people. Sometimes they are broke and you have to decide how to handle it.

Now, as far as refusing future leadership positions...what do you mean that you would turn them down?!? Are you nuts?!? (in the kindest way possible.:wink:) You expected to waltz into a position of leadership, do your stint, make all of the right decisions and come up smelling like roses?!? Leadership positions pay more because they require more. You have just learned so much about what to do and what not to do in a leadership position, and you are going to walk away wringing your hands saying "woe is me?!?" Education like you have just received is better than any education in any academic setting. We can sit in class and discuss how to manage people and how to resolve conflicts all day long, but when you get to actually do it in the work you're learning.

So quit that down in the mouth eeyore nonsense and realize that this is education that you've bought and paid for--so put it to use.:happy:
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Just my thoughts though. I hate leadership positions.
Which is something you must overcome. Even from our limited contact, in you I see a natural leader.:proud:
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You were good until the last paragraph. I think you should write the email, but you should never send it. Trust me on this...I'm not gonna steer you wrong. If you send that email, you will regret it.

Right now, he doesn't know that he is getting under your skin. If you send the email, he will have his confirmation.

Right now, people look at you and say "She's not like that. She's better than that." You send that email and he will have ammunition to show others, "See how she is!"

At some point in your life you have to stop wrestling with pigs. You both get dirty, but they like it.

If you act like you are above this, then you will be above it.
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It would be difficult for you, while being upset by this person, to write an email that did not allude to some of the problems that you've had with him. When you write such things, it is easy for them to be taken out of context and to be used to portray you (the writer) in a poor light.

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