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Hello everyone.

My name is Zack. I'm 20 years old, and I am a shift supervisor at a fast food restaurant. Now, I know that management here is a little different than at a corporate level, but the idea remains the same.. to lead.

Now, being younger than a number of the directs... or members of my team for that matter, I face a lot of conflicts. I am the youngest member of our management team, and I was chosen on my abilities to do my job as a team member well rather than my ability to lead.

Now, my actual problem lies in a lack of respect from my boss. Examples are, not receiving any feedback, unless it's primarily negative feedback. Now, I don't know if that's due to the fact that I'm in a place where I'm not doing my duty, or if it's just a general lack of understanding that I need feedback from my boss to do what I do well. Additionally, the way he delivers the negative feedback, is well, negative. Small issues are overblown and usually result in a call to my home, while I am not on the clock, and sometimes even after I've gone to sleep. (If I forgot to mention, I'm an overnight shift manager, so while he may be awake, I'm not). By definition, small issues are issues for instance that the menu board is knicked or dirty, something not usually noticed in the normal course of a business day. At times, while delivering negative feedback, he's even said things such as "It will not happen again, or SOMEONE (inference of me) will not have a job".

Now, overall, I'm so frustrated by the lack of any positive feedback, and it's probably related to environment, that I am at the end of my rope. I have not "breathed" in a number of months, and I don't know. Honestly, I need to know a few things from my boss:

1.) Am I on "thin ice"? Am I going to be needing to look for a new job? I think that question probably answers itself. I feel unwanted and unneeded. and the only time that it's even brought up that I should feel needed is when things get bad, and I make considerations to leave.

2.) How do I say what I need to say without overwhelming my boss?

3.) How, as a manager, can I make the ability to change the attitude within our store, to where my directs, and his directs understand that if something isn't finished, rather than complaining about it, just do it.

4.) Something I didn't mention above, is that, I have two general managers. Now, these managers occasionally schedule themselves in to together, and what results, due to poor communication is me trying to get 4356546456 things (okay, that's an exaggeration) done at once. As an hourly employee, when I don't get something done by the time I leave... it usually results in something that sounds like yelling, but, you and I both know, managers don't yell (ha). How do I, as a member of their management team, politely suggest that they communicate on what they're having their directs are doing?

Mark and Mike, I enjoy your podcasts GREATLY and whether or not you realize it, your podcasts make me a better manager, or at least I feel like they do.

Thanks so much,
Zack v.

simplerich's picture

[quote="zvanbrak"]
1.) Am I on "thin ice"? Am I going to be needing to look for a new job? I think that question probably answers itself. I feel unwanted and unneeded. and the only time that it's even brought up that I should feel needed is when things get bad, and I make considerations to leave. [/quote]

On this ice? Maybe, but don't let it bother you.

If you're on thin ice because you're doing a bad job, worry about it.

If you're on thin ice because your bosses have been huffing grill cleaner don't worry about it. You'd be on thin ice no matter what you did. Worrying about the ice doesn't do any good at all, it just adds worry.

Worry about whether or not you're doing your job as best you can. Let their weirdness be their weirdness. Yes, it can impact you, but at any job there are going to be weird bosses. Don't let their weirdness make you crazy.

[quote]
2.) How do I say what I need to say without overwhelming my boss?
[/quote]
From what you've seen will your saying it make any difference in their behavior towards you? If not then the thing is you have to say it for your own well being. So you'll know you've made the effort. Providing feedback to your boss has been covered in a cast somewhere I'm sure. Check the archives. The thing is. There are some bosses, and I've worked for them, where they listen and nod and they're thinking about the next commissary order they need to put in and they're pretty much waiting for me to leave while I talk. Those bosses suck. But there are lots of them out there.

I still tell them, in a way that won't get me fired, what they're doing that makes me want to jump up and down on their chests. I tell them because if they continue to do it and they didn't know it made me crazy then it's my fault. If I tell them and they continue to do it then it's their fault when they lose me. It's only fair. It didn't often make any difference in the way they treated anybody though. They were the boss, therefor 'right' by definition, and I was probably labeled a whiner. The thing is... when I was looking for the next job I had the experience of what not to do, and what I didn't want to be when I grew up. :) Take from it what you can that's good.

[quote]3.) How, as a manager, can I make the ability to change the attitude within our store, to where my directs, and his directs understand that if something isn't finished, rather than complaining about it, just do it.[/quote]
*grin* Good luck with that one. Everybody won't do it. Some people just love to complain, and they'll complain about it longer than it would have taken to actually do it! They'll look for someone to talk to about something wrong longer than it would have taken them to do what it is they're kvetching about. I know. I've seen it. It's enough to make me pull my hair out. It's why I keep it short, so I can't get a good grip on it. :) But not everybody will be like that. There will be some who care. There will be some who are wired in a way that they'll just do it. Be sure to notice those people. Be sure to praise them with a thank you and recognize when they do more. DO so in front of the other employees. Don't berate the lumps for being warm bodies in front of others. But do thank the people who are doing more. I reward them with better scheduling without abusing them with more than they want.

There's a tendency to rely on your reliable people more and work them to death where they don't get anything more out of it, and eventually they'll feel abused and used if we're not careful. Be effusive with praise and thanks. Do what you can for them. I tell my stellar workers that we can spoil each other and all be happier and the days shorter. I mean that. Over time you'll find, if there's time, that you can build a crew that will perform really well for you. You can fix 'bad' employees by showing them examples of what you want. You've got to be consistent, and you can't let your 'good' employees get away with rule breaking. I'm not saying favoritism or special favors that break rules. Just within the confines of what's allowed. I've made great crews under despots before, and the despots don't get it when everything goes to heck when I leave because they didn't pay attention to it's all about how you treat the employees.

[quote]
4.) Something I didn't mention above, is that, I have two general managers. Now, these managers occasionally schedule themselves in to together, and what results, due to poor communication is me trying to get 4356546456 things (okay, that's an exaggeration) done at once. As an hourly employee, when I don't get something done by the time I leave... it usually results in something that sounds like yelling, but, you and I both know, managers don't yell (ha). How do I, as a member of their management team, politely suggest that they communicate on what they're having their directs are doing?
[/quote]

Keep very good track of what you got done, and make sure that if you don't get something that Mongo or Roy asked you to do that they know what you did get done. At the time you clock out make sure to run down the list with them both of jobs finished and jobs assigned. I'd start with what you and crew got done, making sure to prioritize well. And what is yet to be done and there's an oncoming crew and did they want a copy of the list or should you just keep it until tomorrow? It's possible Mongo doesn't know what Roy had you do and vice versa. You're going to want to make sure they know. It might also help when Mongo comes up to you to have you twiddle the gizmos and tighten the widgets to ask where on the list that came in relation to Roy's list of floating the wizbangles and polishing the barglestomps. Let them in on the list when they're directing. It's not a secret.

Lastly, do the job for you. I'm a person who likes the 'attaboys' as well. You'll get more work out of me from an attaboy than from a twenty-five dollar raise. I've told my boss that. I've mentioned he could save a fortune by picking up the phone once a month and calling me to notice something I'd done. In the past six months he's called me one time, with a question. He doesn't do positive strokes. He almost brags about it. So, I've switched my focus and without sounding pornographic I stroke myself now. He pays me. In his mind that's all he's required to do.

I can't change who he is. I can only change what I do and how I react to him. So, I now send out a Monday Memo to all my locations where I hand out the attaboys to all who deserve them, do a short retraining article, and update on company news and rumor-squashing, and end with an American Idol update... nobody's perfect. The feedback from my directs and skips on this memo beats my inattentive boss. They notice. If one is late due to a holiday I hear about it. Positive strokes don't have to come from our bosses, and I've found that the ones I get from the people I work with more than for... those wind up meaning a lot more to me than the ones from my supervisor.

Best of luck,
Rich G.

zvanbrak's picture

I hear what you're saying, Rich.

As a manager, I'd consider myself sorta laid back. Most of my people get the job done, and there's little or no issues with my human capital. We get along well, I probably am guilty of the same thing that my boss is, not giving enough feedback.

However, my manager is definitely not a manager tools manager. As far as he goes, he's probably what most would describe as a "toxic" boss. He yells. He treats people like crap, and mostly due to personal issues. The only apology I've coaxed out of him was "Oh, sorry, I had problems with my wife and my dog died.". Now, my personal view on that, is... if you cannot be an effective and unemotional manager, then, you need to not come in. Maybe that's an abstract reality.

One thing, as a younger manager that I'm finding out was something mentioned in the recent podcast about peer conflict.... obviously, as you know, in the business of restaurant management, nothing can be personal. and I'm probably guilty of "not shutting up about peer conflict", but all of us make mistakes. But, if nothing else, I let him know anything that I'd say behind his back to his face, and it's probably viewed as a somewhat abrasive quality. But as far as I'm concerned, the greatest sin is to silence animosity, because it builds.

I think my largest problem, and he'd certainly disagree with me, probably. Is that, as far as occupational development goes, I've overgrown this business. I've been looking for a new job, and I really want out of this one, more than anything else. However, I also know that the reality is that before I can get any even middle level management position in an office type setting, I'll probably need to get myself educated.

Zack v. [/quote]

GlennR's picture

Zack,

I want to second nearly everything simperich said.

Perhaps it's time to move on and find a better manager. Also, continue to pursue learning opportunities like this one or by taking formal classes.

BTW, don't be a victim. I think you need to give your manager some feedback. Rich is right, from then on, if he or she doesn't act on it, it's his or her problem. I had to do that 20 years ago with my first boss and I still remember the nervousness.

Good luck out there

:D

Glenn

MattJBeckwith's picture

Zack, first of all, kudos for you for putting so much thought into your dilemma. No need for me to regurgitate simplerich and GlennR, great points there. It sounds like you have truly outgrown your manager (and if you're listening to M-T and he's not, I'm sure it's true). If you decide to leave this company be sure to listen to the how to resign 'cast. Although not all of it will apply in your situation, the message of professionalism is universal.

If you decide to give your current boss the feedback (which is a great idea) let us know how if goes.

Best wishes to you.