A little background. I have nearly 20 year of experience in my field. Ive managed lots of staff in a project management environment rather successfully. I took a job a year ago that has no direct reports, but Im in charge of my area. Im also the first one to do my job in my particular department. Im starting to get nervous about several things - Im seeing red flags.

First off, my boss was recently promoted to his position after I started, and is a nice person, but he really doesn't seem to be a project manager. He's very friendly but really just pushes work to me with no guidance, like filling out important forms that I've never seen before that have tight deadlines. I get no context or information, and just told to meet deadlines - it's getting frustrating and feeling very administrative. There don't seem to be internal processes in place regarding planning or process, everything is reactive and stresses people out. Im accustomed to a boss having some dialogue with me when passing something new to me, instead of just "take care of this". I think my main concern is something that I have heard a few times since starting to work here - that we are still learning how to do things - this isn't a new organization at all, and that part is baffling. Any suggestions?

mtrowley's picture


I'm new here, and this is my first post! But this caught my eye.

First, your Manager is very unlikely to change, so forcing structure will probably damage the relationship. For example, thinking of the form example, he probably doesn't know hot to fill in the form either - partly why he's been pushing it to you.

I would suggest making a list of every single person you've met or spoken to in the company and keep notes about them and what they do (both personally and professionally). This makes it easier when it comes to some of the admin stuff, as you will find out who the customers are of the information e.g. if the form is emailed to Bob in accounting, give him a call and ask for guidance, offer him a coffee for his troubles.

When it comes to projects, same thing. You will have a list of contacts around the organization you can at least pick up the phone and say, "Hey Bob, I know this isn't your area, but I've been asked to do a project that I think affects Direct Sales about a project, do you know anyone there?"

I had to do this day in day out for 18 months as I had zero support from line management. I spent time each week reviewing my contacts and networks. You will be suprised at how many helpful people are out there if you look for them!

Hope that helps.