I came into this company with a title of Manager and a team of 2 directs, displaced the existing manager into a different project position; he was fired 6 months later for performance.

I reported to the COO (very small company); in 13 months he met with me at my demand about 3 times to discuss my projects, my career, and my management skills (beginner and learning thanks to MT).

The COO greenlighted my MT conference trip, probably partially out of guilt for not managing me all along. Due to his own poor performance, a new Director of Operations was brought in 4 months ago between him and me. She has management experience and is rather innundated with corporate procedures from her previous gig. She is "raring to go" with procedures and HR ideas and forms and methods....

The COO was then fired and she became COO by default. (Actually her title might have changed to VP Operations but again, tiny company.)

That's the setup. Before she started I hired one person who has been doing great. I have fired no one though I probably should have; they are being coached at present.

After my boss started she hired two people for my team, chose their salary, made the offer - and all of this after I attempted to insert myself in as the boss and person to be doing this.

One of them is not doing well and we are both very frustrated but she decided it was too much and it was time to terminate. I agreed with the decision but wanted to deliver the news and let the direct know that it was agreed with by "my boss". She declined and wanted to fire the direct herself.

My role power has been taken from me. I am a shrinking high C. Advice on how to meet with her and demand my role power back is kindly requested.

In a nutshell. :?

kklogic's picture


First of all, I'm so sorry. It's got to be a difficult and frustrating experience to have.

I fear the answer here is Mark's famous line of "tell the truth and the truth shall set you free." You can't manage up. You either need to find a way to grin and bear it - or look for another job. Frankly, it doesn't sound like a very stable or professional place from what you've said.

TomW's picture
Training Badge

I'd say you've found yourself in a pretty volatile situation. This new VP of Operations probably has a history of getting results a certain way and is not ready to hear anyone else out.

Personally, I'd start polishing up that resume.

HMac's picture

Tom beat me to it.

Look for another job.

Actually, look for another company.

You might end up choosing to stay where you are (because things change), but you owe it to yourself to investigate alternatives.

In the meantime, LEARN. You're new at this - there's stuff your new boss can teach you (either on purpose, or by example :lol: ). Be a sponge.


US41's picture

Darn. It sounds like you're done managing people there. Your boss comes from a big company world where there is no such thing as a team of 2 or 4 people. In big, giant companies, to be a full-time manager you often have to have 8 or more people under you. Teams sometimes have 50 people on them with only one hiring/firing manager.

I'd guess she comes from that world and your previous management role is something she can do in 10 minutes a week. The role power will not be returned. You are being politely pushed into an individual contributor role and she views the previous attempt to make you a manager one of her predecessor's mistakes.

I've heard this before in a re-org: "Why is that guy a director? He only has three reports. I'm knocking him down to project manager. I can manage all four of those people in 2 hours a week and save us the stock options and give the office to my top performer."

My suggestion:

* Leave
* Stay and no longer manage

I recommend you leave since you enjoy MT enough to post this here. It'll be good for you and good for the people who work for you again in the future.

misstenacity's picture

Quick update before I let ya'll know the "final" outcome with my boss.

I decided I had to pump up my D and called her this morning to talk about the direct. (The "....almost" part of the subject of this topic is because the direct broke down in front of her and she said she'd sleep on it and let him know in the morning.)

I took the chance to take this over and did just that. I called her and said that I am proceeding with the following:
1. I will take the blame and responsibility for not being clearer in my adjusting feedback about the direct's performance previously. Clearly they did not think their job was yet on the line when she attempted to fire.
2. They go on a formal probation period where the very next incident results in termination.
3. Any and all performance metrics go through me, not "her or I" indiscriminately, as had been happening before.
4. If another incident occurs, *I* will fire my direct.

I also let her know that I am doing this because I have noticed my authority receding in this regard and my team should be my responsibility.

She wants to talk about that with me next week, but just the way she said it doesn't sound good to me..... as if the change from manager to 'supervisor' is deliberate.

misstenacity's picture

I did not have the "luxury" of getting to bring back my direct and either really do the firing or see them thrive.

When I offered the direct the chance to prove their capabilities, they. . . didn't.

So I told them how it was going to end and then got the rest of the team together and told them that I fired their absent teammate.

*Then* I gave a report to my boss on what happened and that I was already working with our accountant to handle the final paycheck.

But thank you for all of the great insight - and I think you might be right. Things are on the move here, and it may launch me into a new non-managerial role after all. Time will tell, but in the meantime its onward with MT in my role.

(I thought it was telling that when I contemplated someone else doing my job my first thought was, "but they might not do one-on-ones!") :D

HMac's picture


Keep your eye on the long haul. All setbacks are temporary.

Things to remember:

1. [b]Things change[/b]. When you think your future is all mapped out, things change. When you think your future sucks, things change.

2. [b]Do the right thing.[/b] When you're a manager, do right by your people. When you're not a manager, do right by your company. And ALWAYS do right by your customers.

3. [b]Look for ways to add value.[/b] And if your company or boss doesn't want you to add value, look to add value somewhere else. This isn't a bad place - it's just not the right fit.

4. [b]Keep learning.[/b] There's a branch of adult learning theory which holds that adults only learn in two conditions: when they're really happy, or when they're really scared. They don't learn when they're complacent.

In the decades that will be your working life, the next couple of weeks are just a blip, a data point. Make the best of it, see if you can learn something from it, and keep your eye on the long run.


bflynn's picture

[quote="misstenacity"]She wants to talk about that with me next week, but just the way she said it doesn't sound good to me..... as if the change from manager to 'supervisor' is deliberate.[/quote]

I would hang on - I don't get the feeling this is over yet.


scm2423's picture

[quote]She wants to talk about that with me next week, but just the way she said it doesn't sound good to me.....[/quote]

I have to agree with Hugh, [b]things change[/b].

After 18 months with a boss that I wasn't able to develop a good relationship with and had many bumpy spots, I made up my mind to look somewhere else. This was tough, I loved the company and the people there, but I couldn't take it anymore. It was affecting my home life too much. It took about six months to find a new job*, it was hard to keep working knowing that I wasn't going to stay, but I did my best to make sure I was leaving on a high note and that my accomplishments would get me a better position. Despite my decision to leave I worked my tail off.

It worked, I completed my biggest project at work and it blew people away. I applied for a number of jobs and surprisingly only got one interview (need to check the resume). I went into the interview prepared and was able to discuss my recent accomplishments and some of the mistakes I made early in my career. I wasn't too sure about the company but figured I it could not be any worse then where I was. I've have been here a month and love the job and the challenges it brings. I am getting to know the people and see know issues there. It is an older workforce and the are expecting a 60-80% turn over in the next 5 years, so I am started a the right time. I am responsible for a larger team and a bigger budget and increased my salary by nearly 25%.

The best part was walking into my bosses office one Monday morning and resigning. She took my hard work and success as being happy and fulfilled. I left on good terms, but knowing the I shocked her had a stressfull time seem easier. I was able to discuss my situaltion with the senior management team and was asked to stay (politely turned down) but discussed future opportunities and my willingness to meet with them in the future as opportunities arise.

[b]So work hard, get good results and use them to your advantage. Things will change; but you can make them change and make the change favourable to you.[/b]


* There were a couple of reason it took me six months to find a new job:
1) we live in a rural area (local population is < 10,000) and did not want to move
2) there is not a lot of need for IT Professionals & Project Managers in our area
3) my technical skills where in a niche market (banking system development) usually staffed out of Vancouver or Toronto

jhack's picture


Doncha just love small companies?

Roles and responsibilities change quickly, with markets, customers, and (especially) the huge percentage changes in revenues that small companies experience.

I've seen small companies bring in big company managers to help them be more like the big companies. Often, it ends badly (although not always for the manager!).

Do keep your network up, investigate alternatives. Also map out where things are going. Take the opportunity when you meet with the ops VP to discuss the direction of the firm and how you can contribute. Don't make it about the past or this situation. Then you can judge whether it makes sense to stay or to go.