Hi Mark/Mike...

I am writing to you today to see if there is any way out of my current predicament... other than leave the organisation... Given both of you and your predisposition to 'D' communication, I fully expect a "No - Just get out of there" - especially as the length of this is a bit long, for which I apologise.

Firstly, a bit about me, DISC = High I, and MBTI - INTP with no strong indication E,I or J, P My role - probably b-c Level exec (annual staff budget of ~2-3m AUD => $1.5m USD)

Secondly, to organisation - 3000 people social policy government department with my group being 500 people of IT professionals.

Now the guts of it all...
For the past twelve months I have been working with a High 'C' (my observation) and I am a High 'I'. The project I worked on was almost a failure despite repeated requests initiated by me to gain extra resources, or cut scope - all of which were denied, and when the crunch came, to get the project across the line, I fell on my sword and got the work transferred to another branch by publicly admitting that one of the deliverables was not possible with current support levels - in front of the Auditors (brave, or stupid - your call). Hardly the best option, however with 8 weeks to go, the only option. I suffered greatly as a result, and even ended up in Hospital as a result of the stress losing 33 pounds in a week!!!

I was then transferred to another branch to look after a Customer service area (not pure IT - more business application support) in a new role without any position description working for a high D C, who is good friends with my former branch head (also high D C). My current supervisor regularly "goes off" and on three occasions now has come out of the office and swears openly on the floor at me - one quote "The document was f*****g shit"... mutter ... "You did a crap job" - in front of my team.

My direct report is also a friend of this person and former direct report who is regularly afforded 1-1 time in excess of my 1-1 time. My manager and direct report commonly agree to things and then I discover these things in hindsight. Example (from just last week) was a pay rise to a person in my team - despite me being accountable for the budget, or recruitment decision when I am the person hiring... how stupid do I look now!

I have always been one to never walk away, however in this instance, I do not feel strong enough to confront this manager (as the relationship was poisoned prior to me getting in this role by the former manger), and when I took this to their superior, I was told that I should confront this manager... I just need to have a drink immediately prior!

If you've read this far, I think you'll agree this is difficult, and my reaching out to you guys (and other forum members) is a vain hope that I can change this situation.

All the best regards to you both, and keep doing what you are doing - I am certain you are making a difference.

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

Well, you have three choices:

1. Talk to the manager. You don't have to confront him. Just give him several small instances of small peer feedback, and see how he responds.

2. Stay and do nothing. I don't recommend this.

3. Leave.

All three require the same thing - an up to date resume, and hopefully a network to call on. If those things aren't up to snuff, add them to your to-do's right away.


btg_1967's picture

OK - it's been a while and to say this have gone from bad to worse is a bit of an understatement but I thought I'd give an update, as in recent weeks there has been a bit of a turn.

While the words harasssment, bullying and descrimination have been used by others in the HR department to describe the behaviour, I have tried to rise above this and just learn the lessons needed. In this case, I thinn it will just be how to work for a Bad Boss, as I still do not believe the situation is totally salvagable.

I now keep a diary in 15 minute intervals to cover off comments that I take too many breaks (never more than 1/2 hour a day), and that I 'socialise' too much with another staff member in particular. On all occaisions when this has been trotted out by the manager, the diary has been a terrific defense - if you can be bothered :roll: however necessary in this case - facts seem to disarm the situation very fast, however only frustrate further... :?:

So where am I now?

I had a :idea: BFO :idea: the other week - I have no real relationship with this person now, so why protect it... saddle up and give some adjusting feedback when the time presents - I didn't have to wait long :?

During another barrage, I shared that the person was the most difficult person I had ever worked for... and that my view was not isolated - deathly quiet was the response, and then a phantom meeting was materialised (I have access to their calendar so knew there was 'nothing' and a cigarette was being had outside).

Another opportunity arose the following week, and I followed up with comments relating to her behaviour and that I had had complaints from my team located adjacent to her office. She called one of them in, and they said nothing until I drew it out of them. "But you mentioned to me.... so are you now backing down from that position" and then the person (my team member) opened right up.

I'm still waiting to cover off the aggression, however since this has happened, while still less than ideal, she is at least listening to me ([i]very[/i] occaisionally) and only yesterday, my direct and I met with her and came up with a collborative solution to a problem that was awesome.

To date I have not had any response on the feedback I have given but have noticed that emails I sent months ago are now being read. BUt even better is that emails sent today are read - generally - by the end of the day, and I even received a compliment last week.

Option 2 had me for a while, but not any more - I have seen the light

Option 3 is still on the cards, as she is encouraging me to leave, however my performance and the performance of my team will not allow her to performance manage me out.

I'm hanging in - some days are better than others, and here's hoping that some day soon, things will change for the better, either through her realising her behaviour is both unaceptable and in breach of every major policy of profesional resect, or a new opportunity. I'm just hoping for a bit of respect and a functional working relationship.

I hope others find this interesting/useful, if not then feel free to delete, with my apologies.

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

Don't lose your cool. EVER. All it takes is once.

Stay factual with the diary. I wouldn't even have said worst boss ever...that's an opinion. Her raising her voice is not.

Know corporate policy and statement of values on treatment of employees.

Keep it up. We're with you.


mauzenne's picture
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And when she *does* engage in positive behavior (e.g., responds to your email), don't forget to give her some POSITIVE feedback. She needs encouragement as well!


btg_1967's picture

Thanks guys, and great points (as always).

... thankfully with this manager, I have not had a two way voice raising, so the yelling and other such behaviour has only ben one way... although wwhen she does just talk over me, I do ask for her to stop and listen until I have finished.

... also on the reinforcement of positive behaviour - excellent point, and I must remember to do this :oops: and preferably as soon as posible after :oops: :oops: I'm currently waiting until later in the day...


juliahhavener's picture
Licensee Badge

Just to follow up with what has already been said, be particular to record the behaviors that occur instead of your feelings around those behaviors. When you give that feedback, be sure you focus on the behaviors, which are changeable, rather than your feelings, which largely are not.

And definitely give the affirming feedback at EVERY opportunity. It's only to your benefit to tell her what *works* as well as what doesn't.

JoeFuture's picture

I just took an excellent course called "Crucial Conversations". It's based on a book called "Crucial Conversations - Tools for talking when the stakes are high". It gives some guidance about how to have tough conversations just like this. I have some feedback on the course I'll post in another thread, but you might want to read this book before you confront your management chain again.

Sorry M&M if I'm offending by suggesting other management tools. I actually think CC would be much more effective if combined with the DISC model (I'll elaborate in another post).

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

We're in favor of all effective management improvement, particularly those recommended genuinely by our members. Thanks for sharing!