We have all been there: we have gotten on someone’s bad side or made a mistake and in return, they said some “not so nice” things about you, but what happens when this person complains to your supervisor? It happens in life every day and in a social setting we may even confront them, but when it happens in a professional setting it must be handled differently.
I recalled a time where my boss received an email about me from another manager basically saying I may not be a good fit for the company. Initially, when I learned this I was angry and hurt, especially since it came out of nowhere. When the immediate feelings subsided, I sat down and had an honest conversation with myself. I had to figure out to how to use this experience as an advantage. Here is what I did:
I Remained Calm
It is very easy to take offense of the complaint and immediately defend yourself – especially if there is a sound defense. When someone complains to your boss, the first step is to remain calm, because being aggressively defensive would only make matters worse. By remaining calm, you display professionalism and maturity that may not have been reflected in the comments about you.
It is very important that you not take it out on the person that makes the comment about you. In your head, you may wish that they step on a Leggo every day for the rest of their life, but you can’t verbally say that out loud. I do think that there is a way to do this without seeming fake, just keep it to business. Business MUST go on and although you may think they are a jerk, they may be very good at their job.
I Examined the Complaint
Is there any truth to their statement? Everyone is quick to defend themselves, without looking at the statement as a whole. If there is even an inkling of truth to their statement about you, you should start looking at solutions on how to remedy that. Maybe it was something you did not realize you were doing, but now it’s brought to your attention in a distasteful way – that’s OK, just be prepared to fix it!
Show Those Receipts
No, these aren’t the receipts from your last store run, but rather proof that you had followed the process or necessary steps for a particular task. These “receipts” could, in fact, be emails, dated document, files, etc. You want your work to state your case rather you going head to head with the other person.
I Thought of Solutions
If your supervisor is bringing this complaint to you, you want to appear solution driven. When the problem is brought up, focus more on how this doesn’t happen in the future rather than the person who said it or the validity of the statement. Generate ideas on how the task can be done in a way that works for everyone in the future. This will give your supervisor the impression that you are a team player and doesn’t take offense too easily.
I know, I know. This is the last thing you want to do, especially if the complaint is complete BS to begin with, but if you want to turn this into an advantage for you, you have to do it. Simply apologize for the outcome of the problem at hand and admit to your role that you played in it. Again, look for solutions on how to make it better in the future.
Move Forward By Keeping Your Integrity
The person who made the complaint about you could be a direct co-worker, manager or someone who works in a different department. In the end, you have to treat them all the same: professional. The way you behave toward this person moving forward says a lot about your integrity as a professional. You don’t want to hold any grudges or let anyone know that you even have feelings about what happened. Act politely towards them and keep it to business.
Step Your Game Up
After the hype passes, show them exactly why you are there. If you thought that your supervisor second guessed you even for a minute, prove to them that you know the necessities of your position. Do not let one statement about you define you as a professional.
Let It Be
Let it go! Do not carry this incident around with you because it affects your motivation, attitude and your productivity. Be able to show your boss that you can get over things quickly while still applying the lessons you learned. You want to appear optimistic and excited about things moving forward.
There you have it- this is how you get over someone who has bad mouthed you to your boss. You acknowledge it and move past it. Having a complaint about you can bring about nervous feelings. but I guarantee you it is not the end of the world.