Someone at work accused me of "bullying"

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    Jan 20, 2012 11:13 PM GMT
    I am really passionate about my job. Sometimes my enthusiasm to produce the best work can be mistaken for overbearing. I know it's a problem; I'm working on it. I guess I need to add more stupid smileys to work emails.

    Anywho, earlier this week I had a disagreement with a coworker and I guess my emails got a bit terse. She responded by copying in my boss and her boss. Now that pissed me off! That's just rude. I should have taken a walk and cooled off, but I responded to everyone on the thread and vehemently argued my position. I found out today that she told my boss I was "bullying" her.

    This really upset me. With everything going on in the news about bullying, it's not an accusation I take lightly. I re-read the emails and shared them with my partner... while they weren't dipped in rose petals, in no way did I call her names, threaten her, intimidate her, mock her, or do anything that could be construed as bullying. That's a pretty serious accusation that someone shouldn't just toss out there like that. I thought about going to HR, but I imagine that would just make things worse.

    So now on Monday morning, I have to go into work with my tail between my legs and find a way to bury the hatchet with this coworker.

    Or I could just punch her in the throat. (KIDDING!)
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    Jan 20, 2012 11:22 PM GMT
    You seem to have anger issues. Consider looking into anger management.
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    Jan 20, 2012 11:27 PM GMT
    endo saidI am really passionate about my job. Sometimes my enthusiasm to produce the best work can be mistaken for overbearing.

    My guess is your enthusiasm is not being mistaken for being overbearing. You actually are overbearing. Agree with the anger management suggestion. In the meantime, recommend a self-imposed policy to not reply to emails immediately. Force yourself to wait maybe 30 minutes so you can calm yourself and realize that what you write will never go away.
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    Jan 20, 2012 11:29 PM GMT
    Ariodante saidYou seem to have anger issues. Consider looking into anger management.


    I really don't! I am actually quite shy and fearful of conflict.
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    Jan 20, 2012 11:30 PM GMT
    socalfitness saidrecommend a self-imposed policy to not reply to emails immediately. Force yourself to wait maybe 30 minutes so you can calm yourself and realize that what you write will never go away.


    Perfect advice that I should already know... and really wish I had followed in this particular incident.
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    Jan 20, 2012 11:46 PM GMT
    Heck, I'm just happy to see a Miss Manners style thread from someone who's posted more than once, for once.

    "I guess my emails got a bit terse." (she brings your supervisors into your terse fray with one forwarded e-mail) "Now THAT pissed me off!" You're expecting her to be respectful of your feelings without any empathy about hers. And if you're kidding about punching a co-worker in the throat, know that your "terse" words may be verbal signals to her that you can imagine doing just that.

    Some people are motivated by drill-sergeant tactics, others are motivated by encouragement and respectful disagreement. If you are as passionate about your job as you express yourself to be, you would do well to begin sensing the difference among your co-workers.

    Definitely allow your supervisors to resolve the disagreement, one way or the other. And definitely consult HR to see if they can help you with interpersonal communications. Don't wait on your bosses to demand it.
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    Jan 20, 2012 11:59 PM GMT
    dayumm saidHeck, I'm just happy to see a Miss Manners style thread from someone who's posted more than once, for once.

    "I guess my emails got a bit terse." (she brings your supervisors into your terse fray with one forwarded e-mail) "Now THAT pissed me off!" You're expecting her to be respectful of your feelings without any empathy about hers. And if you're kidding about punching a co-worker in the throat, know that your "terse" words may be verbal signals to her that you can imagine doing just that.

    Some people are motivated by drill-sergeant tactics, others are motivated by encouragement and respectful disagreement. If you are as passionate about your job as you express yourself to be, you would do well to begin sensing the difference among your co-workers.

    Definitely allow your supervisors to resolve the disagreement, one way or the other. And definitely consult HR to see if they can help you with interpersonal communications. Don't wait on your bosses to demand it.


    The disagreement itself is resolved. But there's some lingering tension between us that I want to clear up because we work together. I need to apologize for my terse emails, but I also want to understand if she really thought this was bullying (my boss thinks that was a strong over-reaction) and why that was upsetting to me. I think that's going to be a delicate conversation.

    Empathy... good word. Will keep that in mind. icon_smile.gif
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    Jan 21, 2012 12:15 AM GMT
    Google and read up on the DISC personality profiles. I may be way off here, but based on your post on the internet, you sound like you're predominately a "D", (Dominate/Drive) personality. You're most likely passonate, you take charge and control, direct, and a self-starter. You most likely get things done, are very direct towards others, don't like to get bothered with the details, and sometimes may be regarded as a "bully".

    You're co-worker sounds like an "S" (Supporter/Steadiness) personality. She most likely a great team player, very predictable, likes order, and structure (a plan). She also most likely hates change, holds a grudge, and may view criticism as hostile attacks.

    "D"s and "S"s are on the opposite ends of the spectrum and are most likely to have conflicts in the workplace. When conflicted, "D"s view "S"s as being babies, while "S"s view "D"s as being bullies. Good news is that there are thing both of you can work on.

    It sounds like you already know what you need to work on. Don't be too abrasive. You also don't need to be her friend or psychiatrist. Just keep in mind that being direct and passonate with her will freak her out. "S"s also like compliments and being recognized. You wouldn't think, but a simple "Good Job" and "Thanks for helping me out" goes a long way.

    As far as e-mails, a technique I use is that I respond the the e-mai (blank out the To: field) and save it, but don't send it). Then I come back at the end of the day and re-read the e-mail. 99% of the time I completely re-write the e-mail or I just delete it.
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    Jan 21, 2012 12:37 AM GMT
    SoloXCRacer saidGoogle and read up on the DISC personality profiles. I may be way off here, but based on your post on the internet, you sound like you're predominately a "D", (Dominate/Drive) personality. You're most likely passonate, you take charge and control, direct, and a self-starter. You most likely get things done, are very direct towards others, don't like to get bothered with the details, and sometimes may be regarded as a "bully".

    You're co-worker sounds like an "S" (Supporter/Steadiness) personality. She most likely a great team player, very predictable, likes order, and structure (a plan). She also most likely hates change, holds a grudge, and may view criticism as hostile attacks.

    "D"s and "S"s are on the opposite ends of the spectrum and are most likely to have conflicts in the workplace. When conflicted, "D"s view "S"s as being babies, while "S"s view "D"s as being bullies. Good news is that there are thing both of you can work on.

    It sounds like you already know what you need to work on. Don't be too abrasive. You also don't need to be her friend or psychiatrist. Just keep in mind that being direct and passonate with her will freak her out. "S"s also like compliments and being recognized. You wouldn't think, but a simple "Good Job" and "Thanks for helping me out" goes a long way.

    As far as e-mails, a technique I use is that I respond the the e-mai (blank out the To: field) and save it, but don't send it). Then I come back at the end of the day and re-read the e-mail. 99% of the time I completely re-write the e-mail or I just delete it.


    Jesus Christ! Are you hiding behind a plant in our office? That couldn't be a more apt description of what's going on here! The disagreement was over some guidelines that I thought were outdated, but she wanted to continue following. And those personality traits are spot-on (although I still bristle at being thought of as a bully).

    I will google this. Thank you... someone gets me!
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    Jan 21, 2012 3:17 AM GMT
    endo said
    SoloXCRacer saidGoogle and read up on the DISC personality profiles. I may be way off here, but based on your post on the internet, you sound like you're predominately a "D", (Dominate/Drive) personality. You're most likely passonate, you take charge and control, direct, and a self-starter. You most likely get things done, are very direct towards others, don't like to get bothered with the details, and sometimes may be regarded as a "bully".

    You're co-worker sounds like an "S" (Supporter/Steadiness) personality. She most likely a great team player, very predictable, likes order, and structure (a plan). She also most likely hates change, holds a grudge, and may view criticism as hostile attacks.

    "D"s and "S"s are on the opposite ends of the spectrum and are most likely to have conflicts in the workplace. When conflicted, "D"s view "S"s as being babies, while "S"s view "D"s as being bullies. Good news is that there are thing both of you can work on.

    It sounds like you already know what you need to work on. Don't be too abrasive. You also don't need to be her friend or psychiatrist. Just keep in mind that being direct and passonate with her will freak her out. "S"s also like compliments and being recognized. You wouldn't think, but a simple "Good Job" and "Thanks for helping me out" goes a long way.

    As far as e-mails, a technique I use is that I respond the the e-mai (blank out the To: field) and save it, but don't send it). Then I come back at the end of the day and re-read the e-mail. 99% of the time I completely re-write the e-mail or I just delete it.


    Jesus Christ! Are you hiding behind a plant in our office? That couldn't be a more apt description of what's going on here! The disagreement was over some guidelines that I thought were outdated, but she wanted to continue following. And those personality traits are spot-on (although I still bristle at being thought of as a bully).

    I will google this. Thank you... someone gets me!


    LOL, I used to work with a company that was very big in identifying DISC personalities. The idea is that everyone has traits in each of the D I S C categories, but will be dominate in one or two of the categories. This company educated everyone and had them take DISC profiles to identify their dominate personalities. Knowing someone's personality type will dictate how you interact with them. When you're on the same team, knowing how to interact with the different personalities increases the chances that the team will be successful.

    We even used this information to make team assignments. For example, we never created a team that had more than one "D". A team full of "D"s will spell disaster and nothing will get done because arguing would be high. Conversely, we would never create a team full of "S"s because everyone would be afraid to take charge (be the leader) and nothing would get done (no direction).

    Even before I was introduced to this, I've always been fascinated with human interaction and personalities. I like to study people and how they interact with others.....in a non-creeper sort of way.... icon_wink.gif
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    Jan 21, 2012 3:23 AM GMT
    endo saidI am really passionate about my job. Sometimes my enthusiasm to produce the best work can be mistaken for overbearing. I know it's a problem; I'm working on it. I guess I need to add more stupid smileys to work emails.

    Anywho, earlier this week I had a disagreement with a coworker and I guess my emails got a bit terse. She responded by copying in my boss and her boss. Now that pissed me off! That's just rude. I should have taken a walk and cooled off, but I responded to everyone on the thread and vehemently argued my position. I found out today that she told my boss I was "bullying" her.

    This really upset me. With everything going on in the news about bullying, it's not an accusation I take lightly. I re-read the emails and shared them with my partner... while they weren't dipped in rose petals, in no way did I call her names, threaten her, intimidate her, mock her, or do anything that could be construed as bullying. That's a pretty serious accusation that someone shouldn't just toss out there like that. I thought about going to HR, but I imagine that would just make things worse.

    So now on Monday morning, I have to go into work with my tail between my legs and find a way to bury the hatchet with this coworker.

    Or I could just punch her in the throat. (KIDDING!)


    Is it really that important? Did you bully her? Maybe she just looks like a whiny cunt to your bosses. I find when someone is dumb enough to copy their bosses it usually ends up making them look bad.
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    Jan 21, 2012 3:48 AM GMT
    ask her if she truly know what the word "bully" mean
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    Jan 21, 2012 3:52 AM GMT
    benz72 saidask her if she truly know what the word "bully" mean


    I'm glad I read through the posts first. I was going to say almost exactly this. I think this is an accusation you can take lightly. Its ridiculous.

    To continue the misuse of the word, it could be said that she was the bully for using the bosses to get you to stop, seriously question yourself and your perspective, and completely shift the argument from whatever the topic was, to how blatantly weak her vocabulary and leadership skills are.

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    Jan 21, 2012 3:53 AM GMT
    My Mom once told me "if you are doing your job right at least one person is going to think you're a bitch."

    I say go with it. Speaking your mind and having an opinion won't please everyone all the time.

    tumblr_lgh5t7OqV31qei91zo1_400.jpg
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    Jan 21, 2012 4:17 AM GMT
    I'm reading Crucial Conversations. It's interesting you'd like it.

    Speak with candor and with transparency. Avoid being passive aggressive.

    Would it be better to go speak to her/your boss face to face?
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    Jan 21, 2012 4:24 AM GMT
    LOL. You fell for the email trap!

    NEVER NEVER NEVER have heated discussions through email or IM. For one, you never know if the other person is gonna CC or BCC to someone higher up. And two, if things escalate and you're found to be the bad guy, then the emails serve as solid evidence to get you fired.

    I think you should go to HR anyways. But don't go there to file a complaint. Go there to ask for advice on how to resolve the tension and move forward. Besides, she's probably going file a complaint against you anyways. So why not portray yourself as the good guy who wants to make peace, right?