Dealing with a colleague who oversteps the mark

Postby tjsmith141 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 11:04 am

HI,

I've worked in my job for around a year now and so far so good. Occasional periods of stressfulness when deadlines come but nothing that is not to be expected. We work in software development, writing code, in agile team, e.g. short sharp sprints of work to build a feature for the next customer and so on.

One guy, who I tend to get on very well with, has periods of 99% of the time being 'the least stressed guy in the world', and then 1% of the time being 'the most stressed guy in world'. Like sometimes, you can feel the tension walking into a room.

We've traded blows, twice now in 3 months. He has a habit of speaking down to me, as I am the most junior developer on the team. Only last week, he was going on about how he has just had a pay rise to £xxx and he now has £xxx after tax each month - look how awesome I am. I'm on just over half of that money, and it felt awkward.

Yesterday, it came to a head again, he knows a code language that I do not, and so I will make mistakes as I learn. I made a tiny mistake once, and got bombarded with IM's, about how it was broken while trying to fix another thing. As a result the second thing didn't get my full attention as I was dealing with all these messages, and that too, broke. This drove him to storm out the room. And then 4 hours of him telling me that he would inspect and review my code harsher, and I have less freedom because I am less experienced. He is not my manager, and even if he was I'd be upset to hear something so blunt. I work on my code skills as much as I can, but its unreasonable to expect, I will never make a mistake.

I've informed my manager, to ask him to keep an eye out for it, but after this, this guy spent another 2 hours going at me, basically about how good he is, and how I need to do X, Y and Z, to please him.

Now the other side, we have met up outside of work before, on more than one occasion, because emotions have calmed down. We've gone for food, drinks, played sports together and its all fine. But increasingly, it feels as if I'm there to keep him happy when he is bored on a weekend etc, and I am picked up and put down at his leisure. I've been cancelled on at the last minute, and also dragged out on an evening to go drinking at the last minute.

I had it out with him this morning in a meeting room. And I said, going forwards that I will keep the relationship in work as its far healthier. There is no-one else in work that I meet with outside of work.

What I'm looking for advice on is the following:-
[list=]Was I fair to ask that we keep it in work from now on to avoid so many arguments?[/list]
[list=]Is it unreasonable to keep all friendships at work,
in work only.[/list]
[list=]Is he right to be spending 4 hours giving me lectures on the fact I made a mistake, when he is not my manager?[/list]

Also, I feel my confidence has come down from this, especially with him bragging about his salary and how much he has left at the end of each month. I just don't want to spend time with this bloke any more and don't want to put energy into a friendship beyond the office door. Is that fair?

Rant over.
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#1

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:07 pm

tjsmith141 wrote:Is he right to be spending 4 hours giving me lectures on the fact I made a mistake, when he is not my manager?


You honestly are confused about this? This is an honest question?
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#2

Postby tjsmith141 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:19 pm

No, I think it's out of order totally. I made a mistake, show me one person in the world who hasn't made a daft mistake.

But he has it in his head that he is right to do this. How can I stop him, apart from disengaging, which then results in him taking it further and physically coming over to me.

He doesn't seem to understand me when I let him down gently, I just want to work with this guy, be friendly at work and thats it. Outside work is my time, I train in the gym a lot, run a lot of races, am in process of doing up a place for myself to live. My life is pretty busy, and I don't want this drama outside the office.
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#3

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:34 pm

tjsmith141 wrote:But he has it in his head that he is right to do this.


Why? How is that possible?

Because........

YOU allow it.
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#4

Postby tjsmith141 » Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:44 pm

So how do I approach it and tell him this isn't happening anymore? I've already told him in a collected but firm manner that I want contact to remain only at work. How do I get it through to him that he can't do this?
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#5

Postby Richard@DecisionSkills » Wed Feb 07, 2018 4:04 pm

tjsmith141 wrote: How do I get it through to him that he can't do this?


-1- Repetition
-2- Not being so calm/collected
-3- Not then backing off and reinitiating the relationship

I understand the belief, the fear, the stigma that exists that we are all suppose to be limited in emotion, calm, cool, collected, and that 100% of the time this is the way communication must happen or you are immature, ignorant, not a professional, XYZ other label.

That is bullsh*t.

I have learned that in life, that you can play that fantasy game, or you can embrace reality, that not everyone responds to calm/collected. They see calm/collected as an open invitation. They see it as, “Please, continue your same behavior”.

I’m not playing a race/ethnic game here...it is a scientifically tested fact, that certain cultures are much more aggressive in how they communicate than others. If you are not yelling, then it means nothing is wrong. And this can hold true in individual families, where a raised eyebrow in one family means something is wrong, while in another family waving your arms and screaming means dinner is ready.

YOU need to stop being a **** and get less “calm/collected” in your communication. You need to make it very, very clear that you will not tolerate his behavior. I’m not saying go overboard, but you escalate. If that doesn’t work, escalate some more.

With each escalation, document the encounter, discuss with your manager, and explain that if he continues trying to lecture you, that things will get even more escalated until he learns that lecturing you is unacceptable.

The bottom line, man up, stop letting this person walk on you.

Edit: Heck, now that I think about...your calm/collected, your communication might simply be going right past this guy. He might think everything is perfectly fine, that you being upset means dinner is ready.
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