Handling The Wolf Pack At Work

1083810_wolf_pack This morning as I stepped out the back door of our medical complex I was taken by surprise as I overheard a group of women talking.  Well actually I couldn’t help but over hear them because they were very loud, in fact, at first I thought that two of them were fighting.

I recognized these women, they worked for a large medical foundation, their billing and collections office is in our complex and there are about 80 employees that work in that department. They like to walk the complex during their break times.

As I listened the subject of their anger was not anyone in the group, but they were upset at what a supervisor had said to one of the women in the group.  One woman, loudly stated “well you told us what she said to you and that is just wrong, and you need to stand up to her and let her know that she cannot treat you that way.”  The others all chimed in agreeing, putting their two cents in, and letting this woman know what they thought.

They were pumping this woman up, to go head-to-head with her supervisor when she returned from this break, and she did not seem to anxious to follow through.

I couldn’t help but to wonder how did all of these co-workers find out about this woman’s encounter with her supervisor?  Either the supervisor was very loud and could be heard from several cubicles away.  Or maybe this woman, confided the problem with a not so trustworthy co-worker who felt that she should share it with others, then again, maybe this woman shared the problem with too many co-workers herself.

However it happened, it did not seem to be turning out very well and there was a fire started here in the parking lot that I doubt would be put out too soon.

I started thinking about the supervisor that they were talking about and wondered “did she know what was going on?  did she realized that 9 of her staff members where trying to get a lynching party going in the parking lot?”

Eventually, this group of women broke up into a few smaller groups and paced themselves as they headed back to the office so they would not all walk in the door at the same time and I would never know what happened.  Boy, I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall so I could find out.

If I would have had a chance to talk to woman, this is what advice I would have given her;

1. If you have a problem with your supervisor, go to your supervisor and ask to discuss it privately.

2. Be the professional that you are, do not lower yourself by acting childish.

3. Be prepared, have notes about the situation that you want to talk about and what you think about it.  In stressful situations we tend to forget details that we want to discuss.

4. Stick to the issue at hand, do not take any “rabbit trails” it will only make things confusing and you may hang yourself by saying something unintended.

5. Be willing to listen to the other side and think about what they have to say before you speak.  If you need time, ask to continue the discussion at a later time when you have thought about what they have told you.

6. Oh, did I say be the professional that you are?

What advice would you give?

08/05/14

2 thoughts on “Handling The Wolf Pack At Work

  1. Your’s would definitely have been the “high road” approach, and I agree entirely with the appropriateness of that path. It’s tough for individuals lacking in self-confidence and without the strength to resist the “egging on” of the group, the so-called “wolf pack.” What that individual needed was someone like you to tell them rationally a strategy for defusing the situation, not stoking it. Great post!

    • Thank you Trevor for the comment. Just watching the situation made me more aware of how I interact with my staff in making sure that I keep the flow of communication open. I do not want to be the discussion of a wolf pack ever 🙂

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