My manager suddenly started to find faults in me.

 Hi,

I have been promoted to a manager's position in the past year. I shall be transitioning to a new recruited manager in the next few weeks. My current manager, who was my manager for over 7 months, has suddenly started to demand certain deliverables. He has started to copy my new would-be manager in these e-mails. Until now he was fine with my work and the way that I was managing my team, but now it seems like he thinks, I am doing nothing. I have got totally frustrated with this change in attitude and think that I will probably lose my job or be demoted. What needs to be done in such a situation ? Bear it until I report to my new manager, have a direct conversation with my current manager about it or talk about this with my current manager's boss ? Please help.

 

Get back to the basics of reviewing your goals

Don't jump to conclusions.  If you think that they are a reasonable person (or were before), focus on what YOU can do to meet expectations.

Do you have goals and metrics against them already laid out?  If so, have you objectively sat back and looked at them? If you don't have them, I'd start by initiating a conversation around asking for that.  If you do have them, you could ask for a check against them to make sure you're on track. 

BUT you do need to make sure that you ask for it in a non-threatening or accusing way.  For example, at your next one-on-one you could say something like "At a future one-on-one, I'd like to review my goals to make sure that I'm effectively meeting your expectations.  Is next week or the following a good time to do that?"  If your boss asks why, you could say that you are doing some self analysis of your performance to date and want to make sure you're meeting expectations and doing what is most important for the organization.

In these situations, I always try to step back and say to myself  - "Do I really think that this person is doing this to be EVIL or HATES ME or is TOTALLY incompetent?"  The answer is they probably aren't.  It isn't likely that your boss hasn't all of a sudden randomly changed their personality become a bad boss for no reason.  Are there changes going on in the organization (sounds like it) that could be changing their metrics?  It could be possible that they are getting pushed on from above to improve performance.  It is entirely possible that your boss is being told that what your group has been doing isn't meeting expectations.  So, they are honestly trying to make improvements.  Maybe your boss is really getting beaten up by their boss.  The boss then is taking it out on you - not great but understandable. 

 

Pending Reorganization

If I understand the facts correctly:

You will soon report to a new boss. Your current boss is including your future boss in communications. You were promoted into a managerial role within the past year. It's a re-org.

I recommend you stop worrying and take action. First, make sure you *are* delivering on the objectives set by your current boss. Communicate regularly with your team about results and making sure they *deliver*.

Next: prepare a briefing book, prep your team for the change, and know your budget _cold_.  There is a two part cast on this scenario.

Managing through mergers and acquisitions (parts 1 and 2)

Finally, update your resume and build your network. You ought do these two things anyway...and why not prepare?

Not sure how bad this is...

I can understand that your old boss is now documenting - that may be because he feels obligated to do so or caught managing poorly in light of your new boss.  I can't be sure that that alone means you're in trouble - it might, but it might not.  Frankly, we recommend bosses demand deliverables - if he wasn't before, you were getting off easy and now it's time to step up.

Can you tell me more about how it is that he thinks you're doing nothing?  Is he telling you you're not doing well?  Are you not delivering on his objectives and he's telling you that's a problem?  If that's the case, well, you'll need to improve your performance.  If he's just asking for deliverables, and you're feeling put upon...that doesn't necessarily mean you're doing poorly, even if you don't like it (so you may not get fired).

Mark

 

I'm a little unclear on just

I'm a little unclear on just what is changing, are you changing roles/organizations, or is your current manager changing roles and being replaced by a new manager?  What is the nature of the deliverables he is asking for?  If it's your current manager that is actually moving this could be his method of briefing the new manager on what is going on in the department (in effect you are creating his briefing book on your role and projects), or it could be that his is already familiar with the new manager's style and is simply looking to put the reporting he thinks the new manager will want in place before she/he gets there.

Steve Simmons
CGEIT, CISA, CISM, CISSP

 Thanks to each of you for

 Thanks to each of you for your comments and guidance. I have started to clean my act. I consolidated my to-do's i.e my e-mails, post-its, inbox desk tray, notepad jottings into one singular list of to-do. I tried to prioritize them urgent, high, medium and low but the list was too big and hence only marked the urgent and high ones. Next I acted on them, and managed them to a high yet manageable level. I have also re-arranged my weekly work calendar to be able to focus on the team and provide time for my deliverables. 

I shall have to keep working at this diligently because each of my work days consist of 50/60 e-mails, some which I need to act on as my or my team's deliverables, some which I need to know for future action (like an upcoming resource need for a project). Apart from this, there are the walk-ins - directs dropping into my office about some deliverable, some guidance etc, and other managers for some resource need or help with something. It is tough, but I hope to manage it. 

Tlhausmann - Working on the briefing book and other suggestions.

Mahorstman - I agree that bosses should demand deliverables, but this you-are-doing-good for several months until boom - I need this, I need that, you haven't done this, you haven't done that - is what shocked me and at a time when I am about to transition to a new manager. He has been piling it on. Things which should've been in place years ago like proper documentation, naming standards, code review processing etc are virtually non-existent. And now I am being pushed to deliver them asap. Having stated this, I am taking them as a challenge and am acting on getting these done.

Stevesim - My current manager has been my 'temporary' manager until the manager's position to whom I am supposed to report to, as per the org chart, was filled. Now that this position has been filled, I will be transitioning to the new manager.I think this is my manager's style of briefing the new manager on things going on with the department and to 'show' how it should be done. 

 

 

ITMGR, I worked for someone

ITMGR, I worked for someone who would give the things are good, you're doing alright, no changes need for 6 months and then, it was like a microscope was on me and I couldn't do anything right.  This would last for six weeks or so, until someone else became the next person to get all the focus.  It was tough, you were fine one day and the next you were poison that nobody wanted to deal with.  Her critisims, were done in public, so we would all know who the victim of the time was.

All I could do was make sure I shared plans with her, in advance and then hold meetings to review then in a group setting.  That way others would know what was agreed upon, and knew when she was expecting more than what was agreed upon.  We didn't push back much was she said we should have been doing more, but the rest of the group knew that she was changing the rules.  There wasn't much use in trying to defend yourself or arugue with her.  It is like my son's lacrosse coach says, in all the years he has seen coaches argue about a bad call, he has never seen the ref change the call, so don't let if ruin the game.

It sounds like it is not a good environment you are in, but it doesn't sound like one you can change, you cannot manage your boss.

 

 

 

Your current manager may be worried....

 I'm in a business with high manager turnover - managers move on and are replaced about once every 18 months to 2 years.   (Not in a bad way - there's a lot of upward mobility and this is how we develop managers.)  Every time - and I mean every time - the outgoing manager starts to look at turnover and realizes that he never quite got to all the things he wanted to do, and so he makes a mad rush to do what he can before he has to turnover.  Also, as he is preparing  turnover to the new manager, he is realizing that there are certain standards that he is required to meet or things that the organization should be doing that he failed to make happen.  Now a new person is coming in who will, in the outgoing manager's mind, judge him poorly because these things were not done.  This invariably causes a lot o churn that invariably falls on the directs (who are also trying to clean up their own acts before the new boss arrives).

I cannot say for sure that this is the situation you are in, but it sure sounds that way to me.  If so, hold on.  You are doing the right things by organizing and prioritizing yourself and your team.  The key now is to hold on to those new, better habits after the new manager comes.  Don't just hold your breath and hope that the new manager is not demanding.  Just keep delivering and she won't have to be demanding because you will be providing.

Last thought: don't forget to delegate.

Now its worse.

Okay, so now things are worse. Got a terrible appraisal. A hand-down before handing me off to my new manager. All my hard work in getting defective processes or non-existent processes improved during the past year has been ignored and instead it is about me being 'non-supportive', or providing excuses for not doing certain things. All the good credit about doing things 'that I should've done' goes to my earlier boss and I am to blame for all the ills. The comments about polishing my resume and keeping a briefing folder have been helpful. I need to work on the first and am using the latter to write my comments about the negative feedback in my appraisal. Perhaps this is my last battle in the company, and I may go down fighting.