We have all seen it happen. Maybe we have experienced it ourselves.
You are an event planner at a non for profit organisation. You have been organising successful events for the organisation for over 10 years. Every year you are commended in appraisal for your organisational and influential skills.
And then your boss leaves the company, and a new one takes over.
And this one decides:
First; you are not as good as a colleague she would love to bring over from her previous organisation who has amazing organisational and influential skills, and with whom she has enjoyed a trouble free working relationship for the last ten years and
Second; she doesn’t like you.
Through no fault of your own, you are left feeling that ten years of loyal, happy service, suddenly count for nothing and work that was previously a joy has overnight become a sadness and an increasing worry.
You could just accept it and look for another job. But why should you? You are good at this one and were it not for the new manager, would have expected to enjoy a long and happy career right here.
Or you could fight it. The obvious way forward is to raise a grievance against your new manager. This will result in a full investigation and a hearing so ensuring that you have your say. If the hearing does not go in your favour you can appeal, and if you lose the appeal you can then resign.
And if you believe your grievance was not handled fairly you can sue for constructive dismissal.
That said, you may well win your grievance. Your manager may then appeal. And she may lose and you will have won. What? An opportunity to continue to work for a manager who first, longs to work with someone else and, second, dislikes you more than ever.
This is a common example of how basic human emotions can and do play havoc with our working lives. Your new boss feels insecure in her new job with her new colleagues, and yearns for the security of working with previous colleagues. You feel rejected, undervalued, and perhaps even humiliated by the treatment from your new boss. Everyone has become caught up in a vortex of negative personal relationships and has become removed from the objectives of the organisation, which previously had been, and still should be, the motivation for coming to work in the first place.
Yet there is a far more productive way forward.
Work place mediation will allow you and your manager to explain to each other how you feel. The mediator would meet with you each first and coach you on how best to express yourself without heightening the downward spiral of emotion. You will each find yourself reminded of why you want to work for the organisation, the objectives it advances, and your wish to champion them through your work. Your manager can find a safe space to admit and then put her insecurities behind her. And you can demonstrate that she can enjoy a working relation with you that is just as good, if not better, than the one she had with her previous colleague.
You will both understand each other, accept that whilst you each have strengths and weaknesses, you both have an unshakeable commitment to the causes of the organisation and, together, will make a great team.