I discovered my boss’s extremely important notes a couple of coworker

A reader writes:

After 10 years of working collectively, my direct supervisor — our director of operations, Jessica — was let go from our firm just a few months in the past. There have been apparently some behind-the-scenes points between herself and our CEO, Bruce (he alluded as a lot to me and others in dialog, I feel in an try at transparency) that led to this end result.

Bruce had the alternative for Jessica set to start out lower than per week after Jessica was let go (she was let go on a Tuesday, my new supervisor Elizabeth began the next Monday), which leads me to imagine that this variation was within the works for nicely over a month (because of the discover Elizabeth would have needed to give at her earlier job).

I don’t know if I can talk how sudden Jessica’s termination was. It was a shock to everybody however particularly to Lila, who’s considered one of Jessica’s greatest pals and who works as a supervisor. When Elizabeth first began, one of many duties on the high of her checklist was assembly with the managers and division heads to get a really feel for the group … however the assembly with Lila passed off after hours and from what I heard of it, it was not well mannered or professionally dealt with (I work after common enterprise hours and the doorways to my workplace and the convention room had been each open). Elizabeth and Bruce had been fairly aggressive towards Lila. Fortunately, one other supervisor, Mandy, was additionally within the assembly and was in a position to give Lila somewhat help and an opportunity to take a breath. The assembly finally appeared to relax (and I closed my door as soon as I spotted what I used to be listening to) and I’ve chalked that as much as Elizabeth being primed by others (presumably Bruce) to take a defensive place as a result of Lila’s shut friendship with Jessica.

That is my conundrum. I went to our communal provide closet final night to get some notepads. There weren’t any recent, new ones, however I used to be in search of scratch paper for myself and don’t thoughts utilizing up the dregs of another person’s outdated notepad. I grabbed just a few remnants and went again to my desk. When sorting by the notepads shortly to scrub up any unfastened items, I seen that one had writing on the second web page down. I flipped the web page up, aspiring to take away and shred no matter notes had been on there.

The notes that I noticed had been Elizabeth’s notes from (or presumably after) that first assembly with Lila. I’m positive I received’t shock you by telling you that the notes (at a look, as soon as I spotted what they had been) weren’t flattering to Lila within the least. Some pertained to her work efficiency, however others had been very crude (and inaccurate) assessments of Lila’s persona and what Elizabeth didn’t like about her. There was additionally a web page after these notes with some jotted-down information from a high-level assembly that Elizabeth attended (once more, at a fast look).

I don’t know what to do now. Ought to I fake I by no means noticed the notes, shred them, and maintain my mouth shut? Ought to I take the notepad to Elizabeth and clarify how I ended up with it, permitting her to destroy the notes herself? I might even play it extra as, “Humorous factor, I grabbed this outdated notepad from the provision closet and it appears to be like such as you nonetheless have some notes on right here. Did you wish to test them to see should you nonetheless want them?” … However after all, she’s going to wish to know if I noticed what the notes had been about. It is rather lucky that I used to be the one who got here throughout this data as I work on the supervisor stage (with clearance and obligations to match) and beforehand did HR-esque work for the corporate.

I suppose my largest challenge right here is questioning, if Elizabeth made notes like that about Lila, what sort of notes did she make about me after our first encounter? I can’t ask her that, however I fear that mentioning the Lila notes to Elizabeth will trigger her to distrust me.

To be very clear, I’ve no intention of telling Lila or anybody else about what I noticed. Elizabeth and Lila appear to have evened out a bit and their relationship is perhaps not the perfect on the planet, however it’s definitely higher than when Elizabeth first began. I don’t wish to trigger points or drama, I simply need a good working relationship with my new boss.

First issues first: the pocket book. The best factor is to only put it again on Elizabeth’s desk when she’s not round, with none remark. Since you’re employed after regular enterprise hours, hopefully this will probably be straightforward to do. You don’t must take any extra duty for it than that — no must shred the notes, discuss to her about it, or deliver it to her consideration in any respect. Simply put it again on her desk, accomplished. (For those who discover it within the provide closet once more after that, I’d take that as an indication that she has no real interest in preserving the notes and both studiously ignore its presence within the closet or simply toss these pages with out remark.)

As for questioning what sort of notes Elizabeth made about you after your first encounter … On one hand, you’re in all probability proper that Bruce (or others) primed Elizabeth to understand Lila a sure method, and it’s comprehensible that she’d imagine her new boss when he instructed her there was an issue they wanted to handle. However you possibly can imagine your new employer about workers dynamics and nonetheless not wholeheartedly embrace their battles as your individual while you’ve haven’t had an opportunity to get the lay of the land for your self.

Whenever you mix what you overheard of that assembly with the crude assessments of Lila’s persona within the pocket book … I can see why you’re involved! In your footwear I’d be worrying that Elizabeth jumps to conclusions, finds it surprisingly straightforward to harshly criticize folks she is aware of little about, and is form of a jerk … to say nothing of her whole indiscretion with a pocket book containing inflammatory impressions a couple of workers member.

That mentioned, if I had been in search of a cause to defend Elizabeth, I’d say that typically folks see issues by the lens they’ve been given, particularly after they’re model new. If Bruce instructed her Lila was an issue — and if Bruce himself has been extremely important of Lila, and if Elizabeth thus far likes and respects Bruce — she might need simply seen what he prepped her to see. Since Elizabeth and Lila now appear to have a greater relationship, it’s doable that when Elizabeth had time to type her personal impressions, she realized her preliminary take was off-base. That’s nonetheless an issue — if nothing else it will present she’s too keen to leap to conclusions and be biased by different folks — however it’s not fairly as alarming.

Finally, that is all hypothesis. What issues most is what you’re seeing of Elizabeth in your individual dealings along with her. Are you seeing indicators that she’s usually honest and cheap and varieties well-founded opinions? Or does she appear petty, overly influenced by higher-ups, fast to evaluate with out all of the information, unfair, and/or form of a jerk?

After all, even when all the pieces appears good thus far, you’ve obtained to have some warning based mostly on what you heard and noticed. However you additionally don’t have all of the context and also you received’t essentially profit from drawing hard-and-fast conclusions from one thing you’re solely seeing/listening to items of. Have warning, and maintain this saved in your head someplace … however put probably the most weight on what you see of how she’s working now that she’s settling into her job.

(Additionally, there’s a complete separate query right here about what occurred with Jessica, and why Lila appears to be getting penalized for being the shut good friend of somebody who was fired. It’s not the main focus of your letter, however I’m curious to know whether or not there might need been official points with Lila within the wake of her good friend’s firing, or whether or not all of the give attention to her was defensiveness from Bruce about how the firing went down, or what.)

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