Hi All

I've recently started in a new managerial position and am now in wk4. I've started one on ones (last week) and they have been really well received.

However, a new colleague reported to me that one of my new directs called me a "pompous git" in front on other staff! My initial thought was to give "shot across the bows" feedback to the direct.....

"When a colleague informs me that you have called me names in front of surprises me given the positive reports I have heard about worries me that we may not be seen as professional by our colleagues ... is there anything you could do differently"......

...Having thought about it though I wonder whether I should let this go (much against my nature) and work on building the relationship with the colleague over the coming weeks/months....

....Any thoughts appreciated guys....


MsSunshine's picture

For me, this wouldn't be severe enough to ignore the rule about no negative feedback for the first few months.  Were your first instincts were coming from anger?  If so, I strongly believe the pod-cast about doing nothing based on anger.  Setting up a relationship is the better choice for me.  If the person is the type who makes a lot of negative remarks about you in front of others, they'll do it again :^) so you'll have ample chances for feedback.  If it was just a one-off due to something else, I can let that slide.

I'd also think about whether I might have said something with one intent but had another impact for lots of reasons.  Maybe this person is just a negative person or unhappy for some reason.  But I always believe that most people aren't just nasty by nature.  So, I'd explore this path a little.  (You don't need to obsess over this though!)  Thinking about how this person fits into the DISC profile could help with this.  For example, if you are a high-D and they are a high-C, a talkative approach might have set them off.

AManagerTool's picture


So, he called you a pompous git.  Are you one? 

This goes back to the scene in "Roadhouse" that Mark always quotes, where Patrick Swayze tells people to "just be nice" even when they call you names and one of the bouncers says, "What if they call my mother a W#$%?".  Patrick looks at him and says, "Well, is she one?"

You also may want to look at it as a feedback experience for yourself.  Seriously, are you one?

You have the power in the relationship.  Everyone knows it.  Don't stoop to conquer.  Adjusting feedback right now is more about your hurt feelings and will reek of that sentiment.  Keep doing one on ones and fit in.  There are going to be rough spots.

"Pompous git" you gotta be from the UK....LOL

stephenbooth_uk's picture

 I agree that a bit of introspection might be in order.  You say you're new to this job, are you new to management?  If so, it's not unusual for a new manager to go a bit overboard at first.  Just rein it in a bit and see how things go, you'll find a balance.  If this isn't your first management job, why weren't you a pompous git in your last post?  Are you coming from a strong command and control environment where managers were expected to be pompous gits to one where things are more laid back and collaborative?  Third option is that you're not a pompous git and this direct was just stirring trouble.

Whilst I'm a bit lairy of giving negative feedback, in the model, at this time I do think something does need to be said to the direct, not necessarily about calling you a pompous git but about how he did it.  Maybe, when you next get a chance, say something like "Hey, if you don't like my managment style talk to me about it, it makes both of us look bad if you mouth off in front of other people." or even make a joke of it like "Dude, you've gotta have known me for at least a year before you get to call me a 'Pompous Git'!  And then you have to do it to my face."



Skype: stephenbooth_uk (Please note I'm on UK time)

DiSC: 6137

Experience is how you avoid failure, failure is what gives you experience.

ebdonstuart's picture


Definitely ignore it for now and carry on with the O3s.

In addition to the other commentators, it's possible that your direct who brought it to your attention is trying to make mischief, or indeed testing you out. It's always more risky relying on second hand experience of someone's behaviour. What if he denied he called you "a pompous git" or claims it wasn't directed at you or was taken out of context?

Don't spend time on it at this stage. If it doesn't happen again then it's not an issue. If it persists, then you be on much firmer ground and there's certain to be other instances his ineffective behaviour that you'll experience first hand.

As a manager, there's a lot to be said for "counting to ten" don't react in haste!!

Good luck!!


HuntMichael's picture

Great feedback guys! On review I'm going to leave this and concentrate on the one-on-ones... I think my reason for wanting to give feedback is that I am not used to hearing criticism from my staff as I have always had great relationships..... To get this in week 2 before I've even had chance to speak to the person involved I guess stirred me up a bit!   ....That said I am a manager so need to act like a manager - so point taken guys!

....Onwards and upwards, aside from this small hiccup I have had some great feedback from my other directs with regards to one-on-ones and team meetings with structured agendas....

Thanks for taking the time to respond....great advice

thaGUma's picture

"I am not used to hearing criticism from my staff". You didn't, it was reported, I'm with Stuart on that.. Without a lot more data you risk getting the wrong end of the stick.  Also being refered to as pompous in the UK can be a simple class difference gut reaction, an insult that respects a perceived superiority. I am not convinced being pompous prevents you doing your job. 

Do spend more time with the direct just in case - if they think you are pompous it will show eventually.


tomjedrz's picture
Licensee Badge

I disagree with the "ignore it and move on" advice, because this isn't just about the jerk who is calling names.  The weasel who tattled on the jerk is also watching your reaction closely. And the chances are pretty good that the weasel has told the others (perhaps even the jerk) that you have been informed. 

It needs to be addressed, even if no direct action is taken.  This kind of thing can grow quickly and get out of control.

My thoughts are:

1- Call in the jerk, and say something like .. "I hear you were calling me a pompous git behind my back."  Then regardless of the answer, respond with "OK.  Please be clear that this kind of negative, cowardly, destructive comment is hurtful to the team.  It has no place in a professional workplace and will not be tolerated."

2- I would call in the weasel, and tell him essentially the same thing.

tlhausmann's picture
Licensee BadgeTraining Badge

Welcome to the forums Tomjedrz!

It may or may not be a test. All we have to work with is a conversation that was overheard. The managerial relationship between Michael and his direct is very new...the direct may come around.

I recommend taking the high road on this one. Characterizing such statements as cowardly seems a bit over the top to me.

It is absolutely accurate to say as a new manager you are being *observed* very closely by everyone around you.

ashdenver's picture

I'm with the other folks in the "only direct knowledge and experience is addressable" camp.  Beyond that, you're wading into the murky waters of gossip and idle speculation. 

While not very likely, it's still possible that the DR who reported it was paraphrasing the other DR's words and putting their own spin on it.  It's a common tactic.  "Other people say XYZ" is an easy way to convey their own message without taking ownership of it.  If the DR who reported it to you didn't think you were a pompous git or, in fact, found you to be the exact opposite of a pompous git, that DR wouldn't have said a word to you about it or used the anecdote to convey how staunchly they defended you, helped coach or mentor the other DR, etc. 

I have people feeding me gossip about one of my DR's on a fairly regular basis.  I don't ask for it and I should do a better job of shutting it down when the topic's broached but I also know that what my DR does outside of work, beyond the scope of the job, doesn't impact our relationship at all.  If she does her work well and timely, that's all I really care about.  It's none of my business what the state of her relationship with her current loser-boyfriend might be because it's not work related.  I base the DR's performance review and feedback and topics for our O3s solely on work-related items with which I have first-hand, direct knowledge or exposure.  Period.