1. The office is very tense and none of us work well. What can we do?
“Tenseness” and “not working well” are very uncomfortable sensations to have in the workplace. In general, if everyone in an area is feeling like this, then the situation will not get better by ignoring the problem. No one likes to be uncomfortable at work.
If you feel it would be helpful to elaborate on a particular situation, you need to contact the Ombudsman or University Human Resources. The Ombudsman could meet with you alone and/or with the parties involved to discuss or mediate how the work environment could be improved. UHR has access to professional training and development products, some of which focus on teamwork and building a collaborative workplace.
2. What do I do if my supervisor and I just don't get along?
Without knowing the specifics of each case, interpersonal relations are very hard to evaluate. The feelings you have about your situation are very real and hopefully this will give you some ideas on how to make your situation better. There are many strategies for working out conflicts. One way to address the feeling of “not getting along” is to talk with your supervisor about specific situations when they arise. Try to use “I” statements and focus the conversation on the context of the person's behavior related to the job (i.e., “I felt confused when you gave me four projects to do at once. I tried my best to complete them all, but it would have been helpful if you had told me which were your top priorities”). Try to avoid things like “stop yelling at me for doing things wrong when you gave them to me so late in the day and then said ‘I need them yesterday’.”
Everyone has different temperaments and work styles. Sometimes just understanding those differences makes it easier to work with other people.
If you feel you have tried to discuss problems which have occured, you may be interested in trying mediation, available to all OU employees for workplace-related conflicts. It may be helpful to have someone else facilitate the discussion between you and your supervisor.
If you feel as though the reason "you don't get along" is related to race or gender, your situation may need a different response. If you would like to discuss options for how to respond to different situations which have come up, contact the Office of the Ombudsman, University Human Resources or the Office for Institutional Equity.
1. I am afraid that I might get a poor evaluation, what can I do?
Evaluations are designed to help people know what is expected of them in their positions and to gain a sense of how well they are meeting those expectations. Clerical and technical staff evaluations are conducted annually at a predesignated time (during the anniversary month of their employment or a pre-determined department evaluation period). You and your supervisor both need to have a clear idea of what the expectations are for you in fulfilling the duties of your position.
Many people find that setting goals and objectives are helpful. Likewise, you have the right to ask your supervisor at any time how you are doing in your position. Hopefully you are receiving some feedback as the year progresses and not just during the annual evaluation.
University Human Resources has developed an instrument which is designed to assist managers in conducting a good evaluation. Also, there is training available for supervisors in areas such as goal setting and performance management.
Once you receive your evaluation, you may respond to any comments made on your form. If you feel there are misunderstandings or comments which warrant an explanation, you may respond in writing. Signing your evaluation solely indicates that you and your supervisor have discussed your performance; it does not mean that you necessarily agree with the statements or ratings given.
If you would like to read about the procedures for the Performance Evaluation for Non Bargaining Unit Classified Employees, which includes the process for formally appealing your evaluation, go to OU Policy and Procedure 40.042. If you would like to discuss your particular situation, you may contact the Ombudsman or University Human Resources.
If you feel you have been treated unfairly or would like to discuss your particular situation, feel free to contact the Office of the Ombudsman.