I started a new job about 7 months ago. I moved down a step from a management position to a direct report for a number of reasons I won't go into here. My manager is very inexperienced and has only been supervising for less than a year. It's her first supervisory position. I've been very careful not to question her in public or ever give her feedback. I've even supported her decisions publicly that I disagreed with, only for her to, on 2 occasions, blame the resulting failures on me and proceed to implement the solutions I had proposed to her privately without acknowledging my contributions. The CEO on the other hand, has said several times that he appreciates how I support my boss without undermining her and appreciates me being a team player.

However, after 6 months I've received no feedback about my performance. People receive praise in our weekly staff meetings, usually for working late nights, weekends, holidays, and vacations. But there is no specific discussion about effective or ineffective behaviors. Recently another employee was let go for poor performance. When I spoke with her, she had no idea that she was even on probation or that there were issues with the quality of work. When I asked my boss and the CEO (who I have a dotted line to), I was told that "she should have known". There are no annual performance reviews (yay), but I was told this is because "only poor performers want to talk about performance or ask for feedback". I'm told another reason they were done away with was that if poor performers were given goals that they needed to achieve for advancement, then they would make sure that they accomplished their objectives, which forced management to reward them(!) After 6 months I asked my mentor, a senior VP what my career path was. The response was essentially that there isn't one for me. His assessment is that I have no leadership skills, poor communication skills, and am not qualified for the next level up (even though I did that job effectively for 3 years at my old company) Finally, I've noticed that my supervisor has weekly O3s (yay!) with everyone on the team except me (doh!).

So, what do I do now? It would seem that my "mentor" has no confidence in my abilities and usually blows off our meetings. My supervisor refuses to discuss my performance. The CEO seems to be very positive and is constantly bringing me in to help out with new projects and business development, but he seems to be my only advocate. Should I leave? Is this situation salvageable? Is there anything else that I should be looking for? Have I made some sort of grave misstep? My wife would prefer that I remain where I am because the location, pay, and benefits are very favorable and she would like me to stick it out.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

timrutter's picture

I'm making an assumption here that you stepped down from your last job and remained within the company. If that's wrong, please say.

BLUF: Time to start your job search and move on

A feedback free environment is a bad place to be. Also, combine a new, learning supervisor with an ex-manager working for her and it's probably not going to end well. Add this to the other sins you've detailed and it's a toxic environment.

Having been in a similar situation, the best advice I can give is to get the Interviewing Series, warm up your network and move on.


mrreliable's picture

I'll be blunt.

You moved down a step from a management position. The majority of your comments indicate that you believe you are much more knowledgeable and were a much better manager than the person who took your place. So what? You stepped down. You should let it go.

You say you go out of your way not to criticize your "very inexperienced" manager "in public." Of course, that infers you do criticize your manager in private.

It's clear you don't have much respect for your manager and you believe she's incompetent.

Why did you speak with an employee who had been terminated and your CEO about the conditions surrounding her termination? Didn't you abandon that role? That seems to me to be overstepping  your boundaries.

I'm sure your disdain for the new manager is no secret. You say your new "mentor" (clearly the sarcasm is intended) has no confidence in your abilities and blows off your meetings. This is after you've spent quite a few keystrokes expressing a lack of confidence in your manager's abilities.

You've indicated that you've spoken with the CEO about your misgivings, which I would take as undermining me if I was your manager.

You're the one who stepped down. It no longer matters whether you're a better manager than she is. IMO you should embrace your new role and do what you can to help your boss. It's not productive to spend so much time and mental energy on comparing yourself so favorably to your new manager.


mrreliable's picture

FWIW, I am in a similar position having stepped down as a manager and being managed by a person who formerly was my direct. I know it can be a challenge sometimes, but in my case it's a very positive experience for both of us. After all, I recruited, evaluated, hired, trained, and managed the person who would eventually become my boss. If she was constantly failing and inadequate, I'd wonder where I went wrong in managing her while I had the chance.