Hey everyone,

I am stuck in a real bad place at the moment, I work in the banking industry in a team of 28, the team leader for our team is never in work, he comes in extremely late for work, sits at his desk for an hour or so, then goes the pub, sometimes often not coming back. So far this year he's had 15+ weeks off work, none of which has been recorded on the official holiday chart. To give you an idea, last year Christmas eve, he went to the pub at midday, the next time we saw him was the 16th of February. Two weeks later, we recieved the following email from him.

"I'm off for a well deserved two week break (anyone opposing the last sentence should address their concerns directly to me in exchange for a P45!) "

That was in March of this year, since then, things have gotten no better, he offers no support, doesn't even wish us a good morning. Team morale is at an all time low and myself and some of the other team members do not know what to do. We don't want to get him in trouble, but we are all too scared to approach him, especially after that email from him.

Speak to his boss I hear you say? Well unfortunately for us, his boss is his drinking buddy, and they go the pub together, and yes, his boss doesn't say anything about the absence.

We don't know what to do, the team is suffering, and at the same time, he picks on certain people for being late, or having sick time, the whole time he has never done a full week the whole time we have worked with him, almost three years.

We did toy with the idea of going to HR, but if they didn't listen, and took his side, we would then be in the firing line for being sacked, or for him pushing people out the team.

We were thinking about sending an anonymous mail to HR, just really wanted to sound off here, and see if anyone in the law profession could offer us some advice??

Thanks in advance

mmann's picture


Welcome to Manager Tools!  You've found an excellent source for actionable advice on management and leadership.

I can understand why you would be upset by your bosses behavior.  I've felt the same when I've had to deal with a seemingly misdirected boss.  What I've found is when my emotions run high based on the behavior of another human being, and even more so for a human being that has the power to impact my addiction to food, clothing, and shelter, it can be difficult to separate truth from speculation.  I find it best to trust the behaviors I see first hand, and file the speculation away for reference only if observable behavior warrants it.

Your boss may not be mean, but I'd say demeaning would fit.  The fundamentals in this podcast series, (cope, perform, decide) still apply.

Bad Boss part 1
Bad Boss part 2
Bad Boss part 3
Bad Boss part 4
Bad Boss part 5

and another...

I Hate My New Job

If you find these to be helpful, consider this series too...

How to Resign part 1
How to Resign part 2
How to Resign part 3

  Good luck, and again, welcome!

jib88's picture

I hear a lot of frustration coming through, but you need to persevere and stick through it (See podcast linked above about bad bosses if you haven't yet).

There isn't anything you can do about the manager's behavior (nor is there anything you should try to do). You can only really control your own response. There are also a few comments that make me a bit worried:

"...he picks on certain people for being late, or having sick time, the whole time he has never done a full week the whole time we have worked with him, almost three years."

I don't want to sound too harsh, but I don't think his absence has any relevance to whether or not people under him should be penalized for being late or sick too much. Sure, it makes him a hypocrite, and his behavior certainly won't encourage people to show up, but if you're paid to be on time then you need to do that, not be lax because that's what he does. Obviously if you're sick and you need to stay home that's different, but realize he'll probably still be overly critical. He may even be trying to provoke a response for a chance to wield power.

Focus on what you can control - your performance. Maybe having an absentee manager will give you more chance to step up and take initiative. At the very least you can continue to build accomplishments for your resume while you tough it out.


scm2423's picture

I had a boss that was tough to work for, in the end I wasn't happy and decided I needed to move on.  It took me a while to get out of the self-pitty I was in and realize the only way I was going to get something better was to do the best I could despite my boss.  Either I was going to get noticed internally as a star or jump ship.  Unfortunately I had to jump ship but I am so much better now.

I had a exit interview with the CEO and propably said more than I should have.  He said that he was surprised that I was leaving as I was doing to so good lately, we had talked about issues before.  I told him, I had to do good to get noticed to either get noticed internally or get out.  While not happy I was leaving he said me understood my need to address the situation.

Remember performance matters above all and can be your ticket to something else.

ashdenver's picture

A completely off-topic question here but am I correct to assume that a P-45 is a termination notice?

DiSC profile: 7-2-1-5

wendii's picture

It's the document you're given by your employer at the end of your employment which confirms what you've been paid, the tax that you've paid, and some other government/tax type information.

It comes in triplicate, and you get to keep a piece, your employer keeps a piece and you hand the third piece to your next employer so they know how to tax you. (Because the majority of British people pay their tax through withholding rather than completing a tax return like you guys do).

But in the vernacular - it's shorthand for the end of employment.


hyubdoo23's picture

In the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, P45 is the reference code of a form titled "Details of employee leaving work." The term is used in British slang as a metonym for termination of employment. The equivalent in the United States is a pink slip.

tlhausmann's picture

Mark and Mike discuss the P45. It is mentioned in the "Sharing Your References" cast just before the 3 minute mark.

ken_wills's picture

I'm being brief at the risk of sounding insufficiently thoughtful, but I'll risk it.  I'm being brief for emphasis:

Find work elsewhere.

Don't try to fix it, as it affects several levels in your organization.

Dedicate a bit of effort every day to finding work elsewhere.


jpsc's picture

Your problem sounds very similar to mine.  Except my boss doesn't drink.  He just disappears for hours.  Always the last one in and often the first out - the amount of time off he takes most days may mean he has another job.

It has been going on for the last year and I have started to look for another job.  At the same time I have made a point of increasing my and my directs productivity.  I have yet to land the new job.  But last week I was taken aside by a Director and told that my bosses performance has been noted and will be dealt with.  And my figures put me in line for his job.  (I was not asked to comment).  I am going to keep looking until I have something definite but I am a lot happier than I was two weeks ago.


ken_wills's picture

JPSC - At the risk of bubble bursting (here I come, blindfolded and waving a hatpin)...

You mention that the behavior has been going on for a year.  And even though they've pulled you aside, they still haven't dealt with it (if by "dealt with it" we mean FIX it...).

Maybe this will turn out great for you.  And I'd be happy too if I were on the receiving end of the message.  But a word of caution about the organization - they seem to be quite slow at addressing an egregious situation.


All I'm saying: don't get complacent - continue to look elsewhere.  Seek options, and decide among them!


Congratulations on the work that got you recognized.

slpenney's picture

A word of caution - Fixing it may not be the same solution you envision.

I was in a similar situation at a previous employer, where my boss was new to the company and having some performance related issues.  His boss even came to me a few times to re-do work or verify numbers from the system.  It was a little awkward, of course, but I had been at the company for six years, while both were outside hires.  I really did know how to get the numbers out of the system better.

But, I was told several times "Yes, we are aware of the issue."  Their solution was to lay me off during one of the big downsizing in the company.  Fortunately, I had listened the Downturn cast and recognized the direction the department and company was taking.

While that doesn't sound exactly like your situation, I spent several months feeling good that they "were aware of the issue" and it meant good things for me, when really, the department changed to fit a new management model.