Paranoid at work

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in Office Politics,Workplace Communication

Will, a manager at a tech firm in Illinois, tells us about his challenges in dealing with his employees.

I've been a manager here for a year. I get along with my boss, who works from another office 100 miles away. But my employees are getting on my nerves.

They just don't seem to get me. When I talk, they snicker. I can tell in meetings that they're not really listening, that their eyes are glazing over.

The other day, I was walking down the hall when I turned a corner and ran into a trio of employees whispering about me. I heard one of them mutter, "Yeah, that's the problem with Will."

They looked up and got quiet as soon as they saw me. The look on their faces wasn't embarrassment. It was more like disdain directed at me. I have no idea what's wrong. I've been a successful manager at other places and I've always worked well with my employees. In fact, I once won "Manager of the Year."

Maybe it's the culture of this organization. It's very informal. There's a "game room" where people play air hockey and ping-pong all day. People dress like slobs—there's no dress code. And everyone eats all the time—in meetings, in the elevator, wherever.

One guy was unwrapping this huge burrito while walking to his car. He took a bite and a wad of beans and rice fell to the floor. I was behind him and I almost stepped in it!

My boss doesn't seem to think anything is wrong, but he's not around. I can tell my employees have some beef with me. I wish I knew why they dislike me so much. And I wish I could come up with an effective way to ask them.

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