Forums

I am an assistant store manager in retail. I report to my store manager and I have two department managers below me and two sales leads. My store manager is very hands off and does not initiate meetings, feedback, or provide updates or goals unless promted. Last Thursday I emailed an invitation to my department managers and leads for a scheduled one on one next week. I did not CC my boss because I thought he would really not be interested in them at this time. I was mistaken. I received an email from him that stated he had some issues with me scheduling the O3's. First I did not run it by him first. Second, he did not feel that weekly meetings are necessary for all managers. He told me to go ahead with the O3's for this week only, but he did not feel they needed to continue after that unless someone asks to speak with me specifically and even then, I would need to make him aware of the conversation. He ended his email stating that if I felt that maybe I would like to do this on occasion to better develop myself as a manager, then we can discuss that as it comes up. I feel due to his lack of experience and confidence he is threatened by my attempt to manage our staff. How should I respond?

jhack's picture

Have you read through the thread from a few days ago:

http://www.manager-tools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=3782

Are any of those ideas useful for you?

John

fchalif's picture

John's reference to that thread is very good. Try to keep in mind also that One on Ones are really to support the development of your relationship with your Directs. The core value there is trust.The methodology recommended by M&M is the best way to go about it.

However, you can get there progressively by communicating with your directs daily, weekly, etc. and engaging them about things that matter to them. If you can get that more formal 30 minute meeting in a private office, then go for it. But if you can't, for various reasons, such as an uncooperative boss, then nibble away at it until you have something that looks like it.

I do not have that boss issue, as I report to a Board and effectively am the boss. I have directs with whom the One on One in my office works very well since it suits there own behavior very well. But I have a couple of directs, plant maintenance guys, for whom the office thing is a big inhibitor. So for them I do the One on Ones by going to them and essentially doing the same thing as I would in the office, asking them about family, work, etc, then getting into my issues.

I raise that point, in conjunction with the thread that John brought up, to show that the relationship and trust is really the goal. If your boss is going to poo poo the way you have suggested doing it, don't let it stop you. Just make sure you find a way that gets it done in the environment you are in.

US41's picture

What is it with the bosses that want to stop the managers under them from meeting one on one with their directs every week for a half hour? What do they think they are preventing that hurts or encouraging that helps?

This is so similar to the topic of working from home. So many managers refuse to let their folks work from home a couple of days a week even though their jobs specifically involve nothing more than talking on the phone and working at a laptop all time. What the heck difference does it make where they are for 1/3 of the work week? Especially when they are on a team with a local boss but 3/4 of the team scattered about the country and may or may not be in the office with no one the wiser?

Some people have control issues, I think, and have never read a Peter Drucker book and do not understand the difference between defining the destination and defining the journey itself.

Ahh. That's better. I needed to get that out. :lol:

gmoney1975's picture

I think my manager has a self confindence issue and therefore does not want me to show him up. He loves being the life of the party at work, joking, and having a good time with the staff, but when I try to get serious about issues his eyes glaze over and he acts like I'm the buzzkill in the room. He is a boss collecting a paycheck, and my staff notices and comments to me on it daily. I just tell them to do their jobs at the best of their abilities and everything will work out in the long run.

I will take a stand on the O3s and state that I manage more efficiently when I meet with my staff weekly and get an update from them and they get updates from me privately.

[b]Since their is a small distinction between DR in my business should I invite him in to the O3s with our managers and leads? [/b]He makes the final decision on raises and performance evaluations for all our staff, but my opinion ways in heavily, and last year I basically controlled the conversation about performance evaluations and raises for the entire staff.

US41's picture

[quote="gmoney1975"]I will take a stand on the O3s and state that I manage more efficiently when I meet with my staff weekly and get an update from them and they get updates from me privately.

[b]Since their is a small distinction between DR in my business should I invite him in to the O3s with our managers and leads? [/b]He makes the final decision on raises and performance evaluations for all our staff, but my opinion ways in heavily, and last year I basically controlled the conversation about performance evaluations and raises for the entire staff.[/quote]

Two things:

1. Read the thread linked to above and do not take a stand on anything with your boss. You will lose.

2. It is a one on one. No one else is invited.

scm2423's picture

[quote]I think my manager has a self confindence issue and therefore does not want me to show him up. He loves being the life of the party at work, joking, and having a good time with the staff, but when I try to get serious about issues his eyes glaze over and he acts like I'm the buzzkill in the room. He is a boss collecting a paycheck, [/quote]

If you are right about the self confidence and life of the party, it might just be that he has a higher social need. To him work is about relationships. his trying to stop you from doing 0 3's might be a confidence thing, something to stop you from building better relationships thatn he has. Of course that is all speculation.

I have to agree, if he has said no O 3's, than you cannot do them. You can continue to interact with your staff, it just won't be as formal as the 30 minutes a week. O 3's are just a tool for building a relationship. He said not to the tool, not to the relationship.

I thought of Micheal Scott from the office when I ready your description about needing to be the life of the party and eyes glazing over when there is actual work to be done.

s

gmoney1975's picture

[quote="scm2423"][quote]I thought of Micheal Scott from the office when I ready your description about needing to be the life of the party and eyes glazing over when there is actual work to be done.[/quote]

Funny you should say that because The Office is his favorite show and he loves Micheal Scott. I think subconsciously he want to be like him even though outwardly he makes fun of him. I'm sure most people would say this, but if the roles were reversed and I was his boss, he would be on corrective action by now or fired for his lack of focus and overall performance. I guess that is why it is so hard for me to let him slide. Also there is not a clear distinction between his job description and mine except for the pay. I am his go to guy more than he is mine.

AManagerTool's picture

Don't call them one on ones.

Mark's picture

Keep your head down for a while.

Stop trying to psychoanalyze your boss.

After a month or so, quietly start sitting down with your directs every week, and just talk about what's going on, and how you can help them.  If your boss again specifically tells you to stop, then by all means do.  The fact that he's an idiot doesn't change that he has power over you.

And, yes, don't call them one on ones.

Mark

thewood's picture

I am in a similar field with an identical structure-maybe even the same company. I'll tell you what, the "Trinity" is absolutely meant for our business. I think it was stated earlier, so often in our business merchants and "pace setters" get promoted. Usually because they are good at doing, and not managing. I've worked for managers just like your description, and worse. The secret is, be the best manager you can be. If you stick to it, and maintain your focus on your people (your directs)you will be successful. Sometimes it just takes the ability to be humble enough to confront the issue with your boss, make your case--and if they can't get past their ego (which is highly ineffective for any leader) then find another approach. Just taking time, especially in an assistant-manager role, to coach and give feed back to your labor force will take you past your peers and eventually to that top in-store position.

I was reading your post and was like (wow) that sounds like me. Good luck. I love you guys Mark/and Mike. Mark, I can't wait for your book. It'll go right next to the Effective Executive and all that "management theory".
Thanks

Wood

HMac's picture

One more thing for your To-Do List: work on your relationship with your boss.

I think you started wrong by not consulting with him in advance. If you're going to do something that takes a half hour of each of your directs' time weekly (especially in retail, where staff utilization is more mission-critical than in a lot of other settings), it's wise to drum up executive support FIRST.

And I think I noticed that his corrective communication to you came by email, not face-to-face or voice-to-voice. That could be another indicator your relationship with him could be better.

At the risk of piling on along with some of the great comments you've been given, stop with the psychological profiling. You can't be sure you know somebody's INTENT. Let's turn the situation around: do you want your boss judging you by your intent, or by your ACTIONS? There's a good chance in this case that he's not against O3's per se, but he's uncomfortable, upset, or suspicious of your intent and in why you'd do it without talking to him first. Maybe he thinks you're trying to undermine him. See, it works both ways...

Make it a priority to work on your relationship with your boss.

Regardless of what you may think of him, he's still your boss. And if you can't respect him, respect his role. You'll be better off in the long run, and you'll be recognized as an asset to the organization.

-Hugh

filter87's picture

You need to look at this situation as an opportunity to convince your boss that one on ones are a good idea. I agree with the post about your bosses intent, and your intent. You should complete your one on ones with your directs, and have a meeting with your boss to discuss what they were about, and how future one on ones will help drive new behaviors.

The only way you can get someone else to change their behavior is to give them a new experience. At this point you just gave your boss a new experience, and he did not like it. He wants to hold onto his comfort zone of not do anything to get results. It is the "just get it done" approach to managment. This never works long term. I have that same structure in my career. I have spent the last year changing my behaviors, and eventually when people saw that I have been successful they are knocking on my door for help.

It will be the same for you, and instead of an in your face approach, try the slower planned out version.

jrfireboy2's picture

First off, way to set the example!

Personally, I invite my boss as an optional attendee to any of my team meetings.

It is no secret that O3's help save time. It's frustrating to hear that your boss is telling you to not do them. As someone had previously mentioned I would focus on the relationship with your boss. Explain to them that you see value in conducting weekly O3's.

Hope this helps

thaGUma's picture

Don't call them one on ones. As a manager it is part of your job to manage your directs. This needs direct contact where possible and it would be a strange boss who took away that basic tool. I am a bit worried that he asks you to make him aware of any conversation with your directs.
Update, review, whatever – you are hands on as a manager and can’t be as effective without being able to drive your staff. Make sure you provide a report weekly showing that you are covering all bases. If the report gives your boss all he needs to sent to head office then he will probably leave you alone.

Chris

jhack's picture

This is unlikely to work, and has significant downside.

What you'll tell your boss is: "I know better than you how to manage. Follow my lead." Very few bosses will react well to that message.

Your boss does not believe he's holding onto his comfort zone not getting results. He believes he's effective. Do you want to prove to him that he's ineffective?

Do what you need to do to be effective. DON'T have a meeting with your boss to convince him that your way is superior. In a year, your results will matter more than any explanation could.

John Hack