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Will!

You seem angry...

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The Medical Director of my Trust came to see me today, which was a bit odd as I am a lowly basement-dweller in a satellite hospital nicknamed "The Farm".  I had reported several Serious Untoward Incidents about the Trust's recent change to a new Patient Administration IT System which, although not TSB-bad, is causing my department significant problems and IT have made it clear they don't give a toss.  The MD is the Senior Responsible Officer for this Patient Administration IT System and wanted to reassure me, which he attempted to do by telling me that IT had completed the change entirely to their own satisfaction.  When I explained the specific technical problems we were having and read out some of IT's responses it became clear he hadn't looked into any of the problems before coming to see me.

At this point the MD commented that I seemed angry (which I wasn’t).  I've encountered this sort of comment before from people I have been telling things they don't want to hear.  It seems to be a way of ignoring problems by losing sight of them in the muddy waters of made-up interpersonal conflict. Then he said my standards were too high, which is a criticism I can live with.

Can anyone think of a way of countering this "you're being angry/confrontational/aggressive so I don't have to listen to the things you're saying" tactic?  If I have to give someone information I know they won't want to receive I always put it in an e-mail if I can.

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I think you need to have some specific examples, e.g. initial specification says x but the system doesn’t do x, it crashed 12 times on Monday, here are the screen prints.

Like you say, maybe e-mail would be a better format to document these things. Added advantage is you have some evidence if it goes badly wrong.

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Ah, that old trick of pissing people off and then having the gall to point out they're angry as if it's some fault of there's, rather than the person who did something to make them angry in the first place. Of course I'm angry! If you don't want angry people don't do things that annoy them. If you truly believe that your changes need doing despite that you need to accept people will be angry with you, just as you do with any consequences of your actions. Being angry is no more unreasonable than being happy if the circumstances warrant it.

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The old twisting of facts 180deg routine taught on all modern management courses.

"Due to an overwhelming demand for our service, we are unable to take your call right now. But please call back later".

I would say, not angry, just concerned that the system may be hindering the great service we all strive to provide in our daily grind.

Or maybe with less sarcasm.

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18 hours ago, Will! said:

 Then he said my standards were too high, which is a criticism I can live with.

You did the right thing, particularly if a crisis results from the problems you are highlighting.  Sounds like this Medical Director is a Turd Within A Turd.......

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23 hours ago, Ghostly said:

I think you need to have some specific examples, e.g. initial specification says x but the system doesn’t do x, it crashed 12 times on Monday, here are the screen prints.

Like you say, maybe e-mail would be a better format to document these things. Added advantage is you have some evidence if it goes badly wrong.

Good points.

19 hours ago, Riedquat said:

Ah, that old trick of pissing people off and then having the gall to point out they're angry as if it's some fault of there's, rather than the person who did something to make them angry in the first place. Of course I'm angry! If you don't want angry people don't do things that annoy them. If you truly believe that your changes need doing despite that you need to accept people will be angry with you, just as you do with any consequences of your actions. Being angry is no more unreasonable than being happy if the circumstances warrant it.

Well, making people acutely angry is a good way to make them flustered and lose the argument on the spot although it creates bigger problems in the longer term, of course.

17 hours ago, Big Orange said:

A-holes who wind you up deliberately often tend to be bad (or worse) tempered themselves.

The weird thing is that I think this guy genuinely believes he is doing a good job and he is surrounded by people doing good jobs in a good organisation and any problems are just due to interpersonal conflicts.  It doesn't mean that he won't sh*t on me from a great height if I antagonise him though, which unfortunately I think I may have done.

8 hours ago, Captain Kirk said:

I would say, not angry, just concerned that the system may be hindering the great service we all strive to provide in our daily grind.

"I'm not angry, I'm just concerned."  I like it, thanks.

6 hours ago, dougless said:

You did the right thing, particularly if a crisis results from the problems you are highlighting.  Sounds like this Medical Director is a Turd Within A Turd.......

I've done the right thing before, that's why I'm rusticated in a basement!

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As long as you have enough evidence if TSHTF I'd leave it (you've got things in writing by the sound of it?). If something does happen and it's both you and him under scrutiny then bringing it up makes sense. You've informed them of the issues, if they ignore that is potentially some rope for them, not you.

 

3 hours ago, Will! said:

"I'm not angry, I'm just concerned."  I like it, thanks. 

It's a good reply to make their BS a half baked pot-shot at you instead of deliberately well aimed hostility. They may start patronizing you once you've said it, just "take it in" like you are watching TV while remembering who is the adult.

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Could be just projecting their own inadequacy onto you, by you questioning is questioning them, their authority  and ability....creating an additional problem for them, the fact that you noticed and care, made them aware.

 

Edit to add...well run firms will always welcome all staff to bring to their attention any issues that they think can help improve the business and the way it is run, to provide a better product or service, saving time or money....not a healthy working environment when staff do not feel it their place to mention something they think could be done better or doesn't work effectively.😉

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First things first, him calling you angry is extremely unprofessional in my opinion and I would be completely shocked if anybody but my boss came and said something like that to me at work. I don't think you should try to counter it, you would just be wasting time and energy and lowering the discussion to the level he wants it to be at i.e. talking about your emotional state instead of the technical operation of the IT system.

Even if you are angry, so what? Doesn't change the facts of the matter about the IT system.

I would just ignore the comment and keep the conversation on the facts you have at hand and questions about what he intends to do about it. If he continues with avoidance tactics then escalate to your boss and use the chain of command to force him to do his job.

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On 29/12/2018 at 22:37, Arpeggio said:

It's a good reply to make their BS a half baked pot-shot at you instead of deliberately well aimed hostility. They may start patronizing you once you've said it, just "take it in" like you are watching TV while remembering who is the adult.

Yep.

Accusing somebody of anger is basically an ad hominem arguing fallacy.

That's how you should receive it. How you deal with it, as you point out, is the problem.

I wonder whether it would be possible to deflect it with the opposite: a compliment. Then revert to the original argument point. It would take some skillful acting to pull off. The bare bones are something like:

Boss: you seem angry.

You: [blank look, then pause for processing with maybe even a nod of acceptance] Sorry if that's the case. Do you mind if I make an observation?

Boss: Sure.

You: You always seem so confident and well adjusted.

Boss: Thanks.

You: Anyhow, this isn't about us, is it. Returning to what you said about ... [hammer home exactly the same points as before].

PS: if you try this please  post the footage on YT !

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Watch yourself! Having read Private Eye for years until canceling my subscription over their loss of all balance over Brexit, I know that the NHS attacks anyone who tries to lift the lid. Usually, the whistle blowers end up being fired or managed out.

My own experience of this is that senior managers tend to be supercilious and egotistical, and medical people are arrogant more than most ( it's included in the training, and perhaps it's a necessity to survive)

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On 28/12/2018 at 17:58, Will! said:

The Medical Director of my Trust came to see me today, which was a bit odd as I am a lowly basement-dweller in a satellite hospital nicknamed "The Farm".  I had reported several Serious Untoward Incidents about the Trust's recent change to a new Patient Administration IT System which, although not TSB-bad, is causing my department significant problems and IT have made it clear they don't give a toss.  The MD is the Senior Responsible Officer for this Patient Administration IT System and wanted to reassure me, which he attempted to do by telling me that IT had completed the change entirely to their own satisfaction.  When I explained the specific technical problems we were having and read out some of IT's responses it became clear he hadn't looked into any of the problems before coming to see me.

At this point the MD commented that I seemed angry (which I wasn’t).  I've encountered this sort of comment before from people I have been telling things they don't want to hear.  It seems to be a way of ignoring problems by losing sight of them in the muddy waters of made-up interpersonal conflict. Then he said my standards were too high, which is a criticism I can live with.

Can anyone think of a way of countering this "you're being angry/confrontational/aggressive so I don't have to listen to the things you're saying" tactic?  If I have to give someone information I know they won't want to receive I always put it in an e-mail if I can.

Have a formal Issues/Glitches meeting.

Minuted, Cced.

Reord the issue,record the problem. Cc the mintues.

Seperately, make sure the responsible officer/blame tree is recorded well known.

Verbal chats are useless.

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59 minutes ago, spyguy said:

Have a formal Issues/Glitches meeting.

Minuted, Cced.

Reord the issue,record the problem. Cc the mintues.

Seperately, make sure the responsible officer/blame tree is recorded well known.

Verbal chats are useless.

I have to agree with this.  In some cases you need to be formal in your approach and keep records of what was said.

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MD "You seem angry"

WILL "would YOU like to take short break and we can come back to this"

MD "why?"

WILL "YOU don't seem to be comfortable"

=======

I've had to deal with some attempts to re-rail me when I try to talk about medical treatment problems. Got a neurological disease and cancer.  If I hit comments back with a short whack I can sometimes deflect on to them from this sort of personal attack.

Something else I do is to try and bring someone with me but appreciate you were ambushed. 

Maybe it's a medical culture thing?

 

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On 29/12/2018 at 22:37, Arpeggio said:

As long as you have enough evidence if TSHTF I'd leave it (you've got things in writing by the sound of it?). If something does happen and it's both you and him under scrutiny then bringing it up makes sense. You've informed them of the issues, if they ignore that is potentially some rope for them, not you.

Unfortunately if the SHTF then this will land far more heavily on me than on the MD.  He's a crony of the Chief Executive.  The nuclear option is for me to ask him to put this IT issue on the Trust's Risk Register so the board can't plausibly deny they knew about it, but that will definitely antagonise him.

On 01/01/2019 at 12:41, Dorkins said:

First things first, him calling you angry is extremely unprofessional in my opinion and I would be completely shocked if anybody but my boss came and said something like that to me at work. I don't think you should try to counter it, you would just be wasting time and energy and lowering the discussion to the level he wants it to be at i.e. talking about your emotional state instead of the technical operation of the IT system.

Even if you are angry, so what? Doesn't change the facts of the matter about the IT system.

I would just ignore the comment and keep the conversation on the facts you have at hand and questions about what he intends to do about it. If he continues with avoidance tactics then escalate to your boss and use the chain of command to force him to do his job.

Makes sense.  Funnily enough, my immediate boss saw this as a good test for me.  I'm in line for promotion and she wanted to see whether I could talk him into solving the problems (when he just wanted to fob me off) without me antagonising him.

On 01/01/2019 at 19:53, frankief said:

delete

Don't keep it in.

On 04/01/2019 at 17:49, Sledgehead said:

Yep.

Accusing somebody of anger is basically an ad hominem arguing fallacy.

That's how you should receive it. How you deal with it, as you point out, is the problem.

I wonder whether it would be possible to deflect it with the opposite: a compliment. Then revert to the original argument point. It would take some skillful acting to pull off. The bare bones are something like:

Boss: you seem angry.

You: [blank look, then pause for processing with maybe even a nod of acceptance] Sorry if that's the case. Do you mind if I make an observation?

Boss: Sure.

You: You always seem so confident and well adjusted.

Boss: Thanks.

You: Anyhow, this isn't about us, is it. Returning to what you said about ... [hammer home exactly the same points as before].

PS: if you try this please  post the footage on YT !

I like it, but it would need a perfect poker face.  A hint of piss taking and it's all over.

2 hours ago, Millaise said:

Watch yourself! Having read Private Eye for years until canceling my subscription over their loss of all balance over Brexit, I know that the NHS attacks anyone who tries to lift the lid. Usually, the whistle blowers end up being fired or managed out.

My own experience of this is that senior managers tend to be supercilious and egotistical, and medical people are arrogant more than most ( it's included in the training, and perhaps it's a necessity to survive)

Been there, done that.

2 hours ago, spyguy said:

Have a formal Issues/Glitches meeting.

Minuted, Cced.

Reord the issue,record the problem. Cc the mintues.

Seperately, make sure the responsible officer/blame tree is recorded well known.

Verbal chats are useless.

I agree.  His PA told me he was coming to me, I didn't ask to see him. 

1 hour ago, Flopsy said:

MD "You seem angry"

WILL "would YOU like to take short break and we can come back to this"

MD "why?"

WILL "YOU don't seem to be comfortable"

=======

I've had to deal with some attempts to re-rail me when I try to talk about medical treatment problems. Got a neurological disease and cancer.  If I hit comments back with a short whack I can sometimes deflect on to them from this sort of personal attack.

Something else I do is to try and bring someone with me but appreciate you were ambushed. 

Maybe it's a medical culture thing?

Medical culture used to be all about confrontation (although there's back-stabbing too).  This "anti-confrontation" approach (to be confrontational is wrong) is new to me hence I'm asking for advice.

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13 hours ago, Will! said:

Makes sense.  Funnily enough, my immediate boss saw this as a good test for me.  I'm in line for promotion and she wanted to see whether I could talk him into solving the problems (when he just wanted to fob me off) without me antagonising him.

Hmm, that doesn't seem like an entirely fair request from your boss either. You only have the power available to you at your level, if a clear and factual request from your level is made 2 or 3 times without meaningful engagement from the other side then it's time to escalate up to the next level of management.

I've seen several times in large organisations requests that were being ignored or supposedly couldn't be accommodated due to resource limitations suddenly get fixed within a few days once a sufficiently senior level of management is making the request. It sounds like your boss wants you to solve this without getting more senior management involved, but why? Getting more senior management involved is a perfectly valid method for you to get this problem resolved.

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7 minutes ago, Dorkins said:

Hmm, that doesn't seem like an entirely fair request from your boss either. You only have the power available to you at your level, if a clear and factual request from your level is made 2 or 3 times without meaningful engagement from the other side then it's time to escalate up to the next level of management.

I've seen several times in large organisations requests that were being ignored or supposedly couldn't be accommodated due to resource limitations suddenly get fixed within a few days once a sufficiently senior level of management is making the request. It sounds like your boss wants you to solve this without getting more senior management involved, but why? Getting more senior management involved is a perfectly valid method for you to get this problem resolved.

I should clarify.

The MD is senior management and the only person above him is the Chief Executive.  The MD is the Senior Responsible Officer for this IT project, but he doesn't know anything about IT and is guided by the IT department who don't give a toss.  The MD came to see me to give a senior-level fobbing off.  My boss wanted to see whether I could persuade him to have the problem fixed, which I tried to do while holding in reserve the nuclear option of asking him to put this IT issue on the Trust's Risk Register.

I agree with you about escalating problems to someone senior enough to solve them.  My boss's test for me was what to do when the most senior person doesn't care about solving them?

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Is there a project group for this where you can raise the issue again? Or a senior IT person to raise it with. It could still be done without the MD’s say so albeit he might be pissed off if he finds out the problem that doesn’t exist was fixed.

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I contacted the IT Programme Manager directly when it became a patient safety issue.  He didn't want to do anything and when I continued to inform him in writing that this was an ongoing patient safety issue he told the MD.

The upshot is that I've written to the Programme Manager, told him that I've met with the MD and that we have agreed that he should raise a change request with the software provider.  This may be the end of it.

If I should ever have to deal with the MD again I think I have a better idea of how to deal with him.

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What gets to me are people that keep asking incessant questions and when I explain to them in a firm but concise way, they're reacting as if I'm violently cursing and yelling at them like Trainspotting's Begbie!

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13 hours ago, Big Orange said:

What gets to me are people that keep asking incessant questions and when I explain to them in a firm but concise way, they're reacting as if I'm violently cursing and yelling at them like Trainspotting's Begbie!

That's because nowdays we all have to get along and agree. Disagreement is confrontational, as is being firm - that's not being understanding to their position.

There also appears to be an idiotic tendency to piss on someone then side with the pisser because the pissee has got angry due to it. Quite why reacting reasonably to bad behaviour (and getting angry is a reasonable reaction - you reap what you sow, the cause of the anger is what needs addressing) is viewed as a bad thing escapes me, but then most of what society believes and wants seems to escape me, leaving me with the opinion that it's completely lost the plot.

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The trouble today is showing disagreement, impatience, or annoyance at legitimate problems and bad people is often lazily lumped in with retards throwing tantrums like spoilt 12 year olds over trivial unintentional slights...

 

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  • 292 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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