I recently had a performance review with my manager and it took me completely by surprise and wasn't based on fact or understanding of me or my capabilities.  My manager is new (6 months) and we've never had any 1 on 1 discussions.  He literally does not know me.  His review was based on generalities one might expect of a new manager (me) but lacked any substance.  Comments to the effect of "he is new and learning and will progress with time."  The review was overall very negative.  I took real issue with nearly all of what he said.  What he listed strengths I would have listed as weakness and vice versa.  I walked away from the meeting only to return, get with HR and confront him.  He was unable to cite any examples of poor performance, only spouting the same generalities.  Our relationship is ruined and sadly, HR sides with him and, since he's been a VP for years, assumes he's an effective manager.  He's a poor leader in my estimation and his total lack of interest in me or my development is shocking.  I have other job offers currently but, would really hate to leave my role as I love my team.  What should I do?  Any advice is appreciated!

mmann's picture


You're in a pickle.  Reacting in the heat of the moment by bringing in HR demonstrates a lack of emotional maturity.  It polarized the situation, drawing battle lines that didn't have to be there.

It would be impossible to relate all the subtleties of amending this situation here.  From a high level, if I were in your position I would find a person I could meet with face-to-face that I admire and trust, and ask them for insight and guidance.  I would take three approaches; amend the situation with your VP, identify other opportunities within the company to transfer to, search outside.

The third approach has been covered over and over again in many casts.  

The second approach is highly dependable upon the first approach.  If you don't improve this situation with your VP he will obstruct you anywhere you go within your company.  Everything else associated with this approach is in many casts.

The first approach will be a humbling experience.  Regardless of the shortcomings of your boss, you made a mistake.  If you hadn't fueled the fire you wouldn't be in this situation and adjusting your boss' opinion would be much easier.  You need to get to a place in your head where you can sit in front of him and say, "I'm sorry, I made a mistake."  By the end of that conversation you'll want to leave your boss with the understanding that you are truly sorry for engaging HR in a matter as simple as a disagreement of opinions, that you understand by bringing in HR you demonstrated exactly the type of "new manager" behavior he was trying to highlight in the review, that you have a strong desire to change your behavior, and that you would like his help.  To help you get to a place in your head where you'll be able to say this, remember, it's about being effective, not about being right.

  There's my opinion.  Good luck.

"The rehabilitated, are the most celebrated." --Joel Gray in "Wicked"

cecarter74's picture

Thanks so much for the advice and assessment of the situation.  In hindsight I certainly agree.  The involvement of HR and my emotional reaction took the situation to a level it didn't need to go to.  I was just so hurt that he didn't care and could sit there and say the things he did.  I am a new manager, and I need development.  He wasn't willing to give it to me.  Perhaps if I swallow my pride I can rectify the situations but, in some ways I was proud of myself in that this marked the first time I had the courage to really stand up for myself and what I believe good leadership is.  I think I will state my overreaction and take the initiative to establish dialogs so the next review doesn't come out of left field and I truly get the development I need... while at the same time keeping my options open.  I do doubt I will get solid direction though.  I know managers and leaders come in all shapes and sizes... and sometimes not at all.  Thanks.