we got quizzed on our new boss’s horses, family, and vineyard

updates: the tenant requesting money, the bad friend employee, and more

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Here are three updates from people who had their letters answered here in the past.

1. My former tenant’s “manager” is requesting money for her time spent on a lease dispute

At first I did not contact Sara’s employer as I did not want the situation to escalate, either for me or the other tenants (I secured the access to the building thanks to the advice of one of the commenters). I received another email, threatening to send bailiffs this time, and I asked my solicitor to deal with it. She contacted the company and they confirmed that they had not started litigation. I know that Sara is not working for this company anymore but don’t really know what happened.

I have not heard from her since the court hearing 6 months ago (small claims court), and her parents have paid what she owed me. All is well.

2. I manage a friend and it’s not going well

So many changes have occurred since I last wrote you. My friend quit the job within six months of my taking over as a manager and I now manage a team that is truly my own.

As I mentioned in my last letter, one of my concerns was the review period that was coming up. I met with my boss as you and many other commenters suggested and basically told her everything that had been going on. It was a difficult conversation because I felt like I was bad-mouthing a friend. But things had gotten so bad that we could not have a civil conversation without snarkiness or attitude (hers and mine, I am ashamed to say). However, my boss let it be known that she was not surprised at any of it and that my friend was the same way with her – difficult to manage.

The review did NOT go well at all. I asked my manager to sit in on the review with me since she managed my friend for half the review period. My friend was combative throughout the process, making up things that did not happen and questioning all my feedback in her review. Luckily I documented every interaction with her and showed her the emails, to no avail. After the review, she went in and left a scathing response to me and my boss, accusing both of us of everything from racism to sexism to preferential treatment, and sabotage. Then she quit less than two weeks later.

Looking back, I don’t think there was anything that I could have done to manage her better because we were just too close. I don’t think I adequately stated how close we were in my last letter. We were really close to the extent that our families knew each other, we took international trips together multiple times, attended kids’ birthdays, baptisms, etc. It’s a bittersweet situation because while I am happier at work, I lost a really good friend, but I guess such is life.

I greatly appreciate your advice as well as that of the commenters. It grounded me and provided a better perspective. I learned a lot from this experience and I am continually growing and I am happy to say that my boss’ confidence in me has grown since then. She constantly seeks my input on serious matters and takes my recommendation often.

3. How do I let people know I’m fine with not getting promoted?(#4 at the link)

Thanks so much again for answering my question. This is only a partial update because even though I wrote in a while ago, the job vacancy for the Head role only went live a couple of weeks ago, and the recruitment will take a couple of months to complete, so I am still in the same position structurally as before.

Because everyone in my organization tends to be aware of the latest job postings, I did have about a dozen people approach me when the advert went live and ask if I was applying. I found it quite easy to say that it wasn’t the job for me and l was looking forward to specialising more in what I do now. Often these people would express shock, which I am just trying to take as a compliment (that they think I could do the job – though I couldn’t). It will be interesting to see what happens when the Head is eventually recruited; in the meantime I think I have managed to quash any rumours that I have been passed over.

On a different note, a few months ago, I reread your response and started to think more about the undercurrent of gossip/drama that is rife in my organization and how I have been feeding it myself. I think I find it difficult to resist because I am the youngest and least experienced manager; I admit I am pretty impressionable and I have FOMO; so I do participate and contribute to this gossip culture, even when talking about myself/my work. I don’t think I am by any means the worst culprit. But I have started to be mindful of what I say and what its impact will be, if it’s not news that is 100% professional or need-to-know. I think acknowledging it was an important step for me. My goal is to be more professional, mindful, and compassionate, so that I can resist the urge to gossip. I hope this will make me a better manager in the long run.

updates: the tenant requesting money, the bad friend employee, and more was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.

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