My coworker has a bad habit of opening her mouth and letting angry words fly. Recently, she ripped into our mutual supervisor in front of me. Our supervisor seemed taken by surprise but maintained her cool and handled the situation professionally.
Afterwards, my coworker asked me what I thought. I think she expected me to ask why she’d said what she had. I didn’t. I felt she was trying to pull me into her private battle with our supervisor. When she continued to press me, I told her I didn’t like how she’d lashed out at our supervisor in front of me. She got defensive, told me I apparently can’t handle people who talk directly, “can’t be trusted,” am “not worthy” of her friendship, and that I’m to blame if our supervisor now treats her poorly. What do I do?
Your coworker appears able to dish it out but not take it.
When she slammed your supervisor in front of you, she wanted you to join in or at least be interested afterward. When you didn’t and instead called her on her behavior, she mentally moved you into the enemy camp.
What she fails to understand is that her words, calculated to hurt your supervisor and now you, instead of harm her relationships with each of you. Take a page from your supervisor’s rulebook, and handle the situation the situation professionally. Shake her words off.
If this situation continues to fester, you’ll need to take action, but for now, leave it alone. You appear to be a bit player in your coworker’s drama with your supervisor.
© 2017, Lynne Curry
Lynne Curry writes a weekly column on workplace issues. She is the author of “Solutions” and “Beating the Workplace Bully” and founded The Growth Company, an Avitus company. Curry is now a Regional Director of Training and Business Consulting at Avitus Group. Send your questions to her at Lcurry@avitusgroup.com, follow her on Twitter @lynnecurry10 or at www.workplacecoachblog.com.