“What’s the problem?” the manager replied.
“He’s hard to communicate with. He doesn’t listen. Never makes eye contact. When I ask him about something, he doesn’t give me a good answer. It makes it hard for me to do my job.”
It appears that Askov is surfacing a problem between him and Renfro and asking the manager for help. However, Askov is most likely setting a trap for the manager.
Should the manager investigate, he will likely discover that Renfro has a very different take if he has an opinion at all. The manager may have the detective skills of a Scotland Yard lifer, but he will not likely be able to resolve the issue to Askov’s satisfaction.
However, Askov now has cover and does not have to be accountable for his behavior. After all, if the manager could not fix Renfro, why should Askov be expected to do so?
When employees try to give you assignments, don’t take them. The manager could have mirrored Askov’s communication, as in, “So you and Renfro are not working together so well?” Likely the manager will get from Askov, “That’s right, Renfro can’t communicate.”
Then the manager can refuse Askov’s assignment with a, “How can you deal with that and still get your work done?”