Problems with a manager?

Posted: Thursday January 4 2018

By: Abbie Coleman

I have problems with a manager – help! This sort of problem can make those involved feel very awkward and be really difficult to handle.

I have problems with a manager – help!

By Jane Wilson – HR Manager

” I have problems with a manager – help! This sort of problem can make those involved feel very awkward and be really difficult to handle. It’s often hard to know what to do for the best; ignore and put up with it, or take action. Sometimes, issues at work can be resolved by talking, being honest and understanding the other person’s circumstances and where they are coming from. There’s more than one way to deal with such a problem, ranging from the informal through to the formal route. “

Try not to panic and rush into taking action, think about what the problem is, how serious it is, how long it’s been going on for, whether similar problems have occurred before in your workplace etc.

Write It Down

Before you talk to your boss, think carefully about what you want to say (might sound silly but you could even write down what it is you’re unhappy about) and pull together any supporting information. Maybe give some thought to what you would like them to do to resolve your problem before things go any further.

Arrange a meeting

Arrange a meeting with your direct manager (or someone else if appropriate) so that you can explain your concern and to see if you can sort it out informally (you don’t have a legal right to take someone along to such a meeting, but you can ask if it’s ok and your boss may agree to it). Tell them what you think should happen and put forward any evidence you have to support your position.

It’s a good idea to keep a note of the meeting, particularly if your boss agrees to take certain actions because you can hold them to their word and give them a nudge if necessary. Notes will also act as evidence if you have to take the matter further, for example, by raising a formal grievance or going to a tribunal.

Send An Informal Letter/Email

If talking doesn’t get you anywhere, you can send an informal letter/email setting out the problem, what you’ve already done to try to sort it out etc. If you still feel you’re getting nowhere fast taking the above steps, or you simply want the problem dealt with more formally or it’s a more serious problem, you can raise a formal grievance – you can raise a formal grievance at any point, but we would usually advise trying to resolve matters informally first if possible.

Check The Company Handbook

Your company might have a grievance procedure in a handbook somewhere, you should easily be able to get hold of a copy if there is one. It’s a good idea to check as there might be specifics on how to go about raising a formal grievance.

As well as setting out your complaint, your grievance letter should mention what’s happened so far and what you’ve already tried to do to solve the problem. Whoever ends up dealing with a formal grievance should not have been involved in the earlier stages mentioned above, there should be a fresh pair of eyes at this stage. A grievance hearing should take place followed by an opportunity to appeal if your grievance is not upheld.


Finally, if you can’t resolve the problems with your manager, informally or by raising a formal grievance, you can take a claim to the employment tribunal or sign up to a settlement agreement.

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