I work with a new manager who says his number one priority is for his staff "to be happy."  He has openly said that he is very sensitive, that he wears his heart on his sleeve and that team morale is his most treasured asset.  He has openly labeled a senior member of the team as "negative" for questioning his approach and asked another to help him be the 'positive force’ in the organization."  He has even threatened to move the negative person out of the team.  This person happens to be the most senior, experienced and accomplished performer in the department.  

Who does not want happy staff?  We all do, but at what price?  He has a daily “mood check” to gauge how the team feels.   He is hands-off and soft on enforcing policies and meeting business objectives because he does not “want to be seen as a micro manager.”  He also misses 1:1’s and runs team meetings very informally.  Some staff members are already taking advantage of his flexibility to put in less hours or spend time on personal matters during work time.  Some of the team projects are missing deadlines.  Processes are getting longer with some stakeholders already raising eyebrows.   Some team members are complaining that others are piggybacking on them, too.  Not only is this approach dangerously idealistic, but subjective and dismissive or his real mission being meeting business objectives (we work for a for-profit online retailer, by the way, not the boy’s scouts or an amusement park).   Am I being negative?  Any thoughts?

G3's picture

Are you this manager's direct? If so, don't even think about changing him/her. We have little to no control over other people, espcially our boss(es).

It might be worth visting or re-visitng DISC. Take a look at your own DISC vs. this manager. See how to work more effectively given that info. If they are your boss then this might be a helpful approach. 

You do not like this person's style and behaviors. And your concerned about eveyone's results. That's alot to take on. What are your responsiblities? What do you have control over?

It's the weekend. You might want to consider focusing on other non-work stuff. Sleep on it a few times and revisit with fresh eyes.

A few suggestions. Best wishes!


TheManWithThePlan's picture

Great advice indeed!  Mr. Happy is actually a psychologist and so are about half the people in the team.  Isn’t that something?  We are in HR, by the way. 

To the eyes of the new manager and based on his comments to other people, I am probably the party pooper, the naysayer, the boy who doesn't play along.  And, yes, I am sadly aware that people do not change.  His boss, though, is aware of the issues, but wants to give him more time hoping he will come around….

My biggest concern is the fact that I am being reviewed for a promotion that could lead to an international relocation and Mr. Happy could boycott it.  I do have a solid, productive and stellar 5-year history with the company versus his 6-month tenure.  I am making sure I document our interactions, that my mentees and I do things right and that we continue to have stakeholders on our side by meeting business targets and wowing our customers.  I have been lured by two other departments, but I need to get promoted where I am instead of making a lateral move at this point.

Sooner or later the chickens will come home to roost I trust.  Out for coffee and the theater….I need to enjoy the weekend!

DJ_150's picture

and I have been in something similar before with the manager "wanting people to be happy". I disagreed and made the mistake of showing my disagreement and putting processes and productivity over relationships.

Do what you can to show enthusiasm and not express your feelings on how ridulous the situation is (even if you are right and most people would agree with you). If possible, try to put developing a great relationship with this person above your (seemingly valid) concerns about their focus/style. Definitely agree with the great DISC podcasts.  

Perhaps these podcasts would be helpful

"I don't like the way my manager manages me"

How to handle conflict with a High I

Good luck and let us know how it goes!