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I am a new pharmacy ops manager and had an open position that needed filled as of this AM. Early last week I extended an offer to an internal employee to accept the new position. She was very wishy-washy, but ultimately decided against accepting it. Later that week I aligned an interview for the following Monday with a strong candidate that lives about 1.5hrs away. Over the weekend, the employee made an agreement with my superior (director) to accept the position and no one contacted me. I found out today (mon) after the candidate was in transit to the interview. What's worse is that I found out from not my director or the employee - I found out from another employee.

So what did I do? I called up the employee that took the position and firmly discussed that I need to be contacted when something like this happens. I told her it was unprofessional and put me and the candidate in an ackward position.

After the fact, my director informed me that she cried and was upset at what I said. He also informed me that I was "too hard on her" and needed to be more sensitive????? Was I being that mean by addressing her behavior for what it was? She had the opportunity and let it go...I had to act in order to keep the business running.

Thanks,
Anthony

simplerich's picture

Did the employee skip you to your supervisor or did the supervisor skip you in going to the direct?

I've had something similar happen to me before where I'm left out of the loop on things and my boss isn't someone I can very well correct. Yes, I can provide feedback, but I can also provide feedback to my bottle of water that when it isn't cold it makes me want a different bottle of water... it doesn't cool the water off. And my feedback has, in no instance changed my boss' behavior.

I'd be curious in which direction the skip was. I'd also be curious as to why the skip happened. You said you were new. Maybe she just wasn't comfortable yet calling you on a weekend to say "You know. I changed my mind and I'd like to take that job." Maybe your supervisor knew she'd be perfect for the job, wanted her in it and knew which buttons to push so they called her and pushed the buttons. It's hard to tell, but you were due a call from somebody I would think. But don't let it get under your skin to the point where it affects the future. Managing from the past is really not the route in my unedumicated opinion. I'm sure you know that already though. You got where you are for a reason. :)

As to being the meany for her crying. I've been there too. Sometimes people cry. If you're right, and you're humane and fair about the way you treat people and they cry anyway. My advice is ignore it. It's just crying. Some people get a nervous tick in their eye. You don't comment on that or let it change your behavior. Don't let the crying change yours _if you're doing it right._ There is a possibility you were a jerk without meaning to be. I have been at time by accident and had to go back and apologize. (There's a podcast for that too!).

I had a direct for six months that thought I wanted to fire him because I did corrective paperwork on him. He'd never had a supervisor do that to him before and thought it was only done to fire someone, and not as a corrective action. He thought I was a jerk and never once told me. Thankfully he told someone who DID tell me. But he was scared to talk to me because of a complete misunderstanding and culture change from his previous supervisors. We laugh about it now. But sometimes we're accidental jerks and if we aren't sensitive to that we can blindly walk off cliffs of jerkitude. (Yeah, made that one up lol.)

(That was only time anything like that happened. Most of the time even the easy-criers and I get along swimmingly. It's sometimes rocky at first and then as the 1on1's get going we figure each other out and lots of things smooth themselves out and it's like driving on a new stretch of highway.)

RxMan's picture

simplerich,

Thanks for the informative reply. I will clarify some of the points that I made earlier. I would say that the employee skipped me in this situation AND my director (boss) also skipped me by filling the position without me knowing (keep in mind I was preparing for a 10:30 interview when I found out at 9am!). I actually was the person that invited her to accept this position over the last 2 weeks and she ended up declining (albeit relunctantly). I will also clarify that although I am a [i]new[/i] ops manager relatively speaking, I have been in this position for about 7 months - so there has been ample time for everyone adjust to me as their manager. This employee contacts me quite a bit - at work and at home. Our relationship I would say is very good and not super formal (which could be the reason for the emotional breakdown). I was told by my boss that she didn't call me because "she'd been bugging Anthony a lot and felt bad". (fine and dandy if it's something small, but to change jobs!) I have been trying to slowly implement clearly defined policy and standards of behavior. This is because previously there really wasn't any (and certainly what is bad/acceptable behavior wasn't discussed). As far as my specific comments to her...I said "It's water under the bridge, but I want you to know I am not happy with how this was handled." Then I went on to tell her how the behavior impacted me and the message it sends to the person coming for an interview. That's it..no yelling, just telling. There's more history to it than I can post here, but this employee is very babied and everyone has been accommodating her for quite some time. I reasoned this was an opportunity to explain to her how a lack of judgement on her part affected things "in the real world" for other people. I was more afriad that no action would send a message that it is ok for people to skip a level on something as serious as hiring new pharmacists.

juliahhavener's picture

Given that wording, I can understand why she might be upset. It's not bad, per se, but it does place a certain emotional factor on HER for making YOU unhappy.

Going back to the feedback model, it needs to be casual, matter-of-fact, non-emotional. Based on what you've said, this is the first time you've given her feedback on skipping you in this process, and it sounds like she felt like she's bugging you. There are a few things here to consider:

Can I give you some feedback? When you change your mind about accepting this position but go to someone who isn't the hiring manager, this is what happens: you inconvenience other people who take time out of their day (sometimes a good deal of time) to interview for a position that is no longer available, I look bad because I had someone go out of their way to arrive for an interview that I can't give in good conscience, you give me some concerns about your dedication to this position, you let down the team when they hear about your promotion from someone other than me, there are a lot of consequences OTHER than making you unhappy.

In the big scheme of things, making you unhappy isn't truly a consequence -- or if it is, it isn't one I would admit to as a manager. It does, however, make you less effective and THAT is what your feedback should revolve around; how the behavior affects you, her, and your teams should be the focus of feedback given.

It also sets you on different ground with this direct. If you haven't already, give a listen to the apology podcast -- it may be that one is due here. Again, it's not that it's good, bad, or indifferent; it's about effectiveness in your job as a manager. She may be 'babied' but that is something to work on through feedback and coaching and she does NOT take all of the blame in not informing you.

Hoo-boy, I think I've got this a bit bass ackwards and I apologize. I shouldn't try to write coherently when I'm in the middle of preparation for midterms and a major move. If you have questions about what I'm *trying* to say, please please ask. I'll be happy to try to make more sense tomorrow!

RxMan's picture

julia,

Thanks for the feedback on feedback! I went back to the employee and apologized for how I handled the situation, then clarified how things resulted from the behavior. I also found out that she wasn't really to blame at all. She had actually tried to call me the preceeding Friday and then my boss neglected to inform me. The employee said she told my boss that she wouldn't accept the new position until we interviewed the person and he said "not to worry about it and you had the job". So....it is actually more of an issue between me and my boss than me and her. That's why I posted this issue - everyone in the manager-tools family is so informative and supportive!!

Thanks to all!
-Anthony

simplerich's picture

[quote="RxMan"]julia,
So....it is actually more of an issue between me and my boss than me and her.

Thanks to all!
-Anthony[/quote]

I look forward to hearing any tips on this one as it comes up with me a lot as my predecessor was promoted up so he's got a great working relationship with my directs because they used to be his directs so they just call each other and I find out about things later... things I should've known about already, but they're both doing the "Oh, we were just talking and it came up" thing which makes me want to scream and run out of the room waving my arms.

juliahhavener's picture

Anthony: I'm glad that helped clarify a few things for you. You can't really change your boss's behavior, but you can make it clear that you apologized to your direct, found that she had tried to contact you, and that your relationship with her is clear. This may jog his memory that *he* forgot to tell you about it, and allow him to file it in his own head. It may or may not make a difference, but you aren't pointing fingers, you aren't placing blame, you're simply telling him how you've set your relationship with your directs to rights and going forward.

Rich: I'd try 'I'm okay with that. For me to be effective, I at least need to be in the loop.' As your boss takes on more of his 'new' responsibilities, you should find that his 'old' ones revert back to you by default. Also, go for the O3's try to be pre-emptive, so that those things 'just come up' with you FIRST.

simplerich's picture

[quote="juliahdoyle"]Rich: I'd try 'I'm okay with that. For me to be effective, I at least need to be in the loop.' As your boss takes on more of his 'new' responsibilities, you should find that his 'old' ones revert back to you by default. Also, go for the O3's try to be pre-emptive, so that those things 'just come up' with you FIRST.[/quote]

That's been mostly working. It's been a year and it's getting less and less, but it does blind side me sometimes still. You're absolutely right about that being the way to work with it and it's certainly better than it was. Almost never comes up now, mostly. It was in the O3s that I would find out about it after the fact there for a while lol. They'll never know the restraint to took for me to not turn and pound my head against the wall during those. I didn't grimace or grit my teeth or throw staplers at them or anything! lol

RxMan's picture

Just an update. I spoke to a fellow pharmacist who had nothing to do with the situation. He said "Why didn't you just let the interview happen as planned and not tell the person the job had been taken already?" I admittedly was embarrased at the seemingly odvious way I should have handled it. So what do you think? Is it ok to go through an interview knowing full well the job is no longer available?

stewartlogan's picture

[quote="RxMan"]Just an update. I spoke to a fellow pharmacist who had nothing to do with the situation. He said "Why didn't you just let the interview happen as planned and not tell the person the job had been taken already?" I admittedly was embarrased at the seemingly odvious way I should have handled it. So what do you think? Is it ok to go through an interview knowing full well the job is no longer available?[/quote]

IMO, OK is whether or not YOU feel comfortable about going ahead with the interview, knowing the position has already been filled.

This happens more often than most would like to believe.

wendii's picture

It's no worse than the obligatory internal interview when you know the person isn't suitable or interviewing a someone when you know the hiring manager has already decided against them.

It isn't good but it happens.

Hope that helps,

Wendii

iainmagee's picture

I always hate the kind of bureaucratic “fake” interview for a position that is already filled but must be “advertised” and "due process" followed. Particularly in a small company it’s often political correctness gone mad I think – and grossly unfair to the interviewee who will never get the job. Far less unfair just to appoint the person you’re going to appoint anyway!

However, that said, in this situation given that you’d acted in good faith I would have gone ahead with the Interview. You never know when you’ll have another vacancy – and if you sell your company well and the candidate comes across well you never know when paths may cross again ...

simplerich's picture

I'd have done the interview as well.
A position may open later that they'd be perfect for.
She might flake out and wander off. She may take the promo, hate it and want to go back to her old job (maybe possible, who knows).
And finally, it's good practice for the both of you.

RxMan's picture

The interviewee did end up coming, since I was unable to contact her while she was on the road. We converted the interview to a position to essentially replace the employee that accepted the "new position". Although it went "ok", the person later informed me she was dissappointed because she was more interested in the taken position.

Just some more drama for you all to chew on! lol