Handling a ‘newbie’ manager: Deal with it or go over her head?
Question: “My team recently got a new boss who is very green as a manager. Although I have 20 years’ experience, she makes it abundantly clear that she feels superior to me in every way. She talks incessantly about her credentials and all the ‘important’ tasks she has been given. I find her condescending, unapproachable and inflexible. Staff meetings have become a painful experience because they accomplish nothing. Our new boss will not discuss projects in detail nor take any direction from ‘subordinates.’
“I have known her manager for a long time and have a good relationship with him. He’s a fair guy, and he respects my opinion. Should I tell him how I feel about my new boss?” — Kofi Nyarko-Cape Coast
Gabriel’s Answer: Although “newbie” managers can be frustrating, the biggest problem with this supervisor is your reaction to her. You’re doing a very poor job of “managing up.” Some tips:
• Like many new supervisors, your boss feels insecure and inadequate. To compensate, she puffs herself up to show that she’s the boss. If you threaten her authority, she’s likely to retaliate.
• Your own emotional needs are also on display. You resent her failure to recognize your experience and follow your advice. But if you display this resentment, you may soon be labeled “difficult to manage.”
• Adopting a helpful and cooperative attitude toward this inexperienced manager is a better career strategy. You’ll win political points by becoming her ally.
Favoritism in the workplace: ‘She’s the boss’s pet’
Question: “I work with someone who is the boss’s pet. She talks on the phone with him all the time, and he allows her to work extra hours, even though I also could use the overtime. This co-worker reviews all orders and also is responsible for updating the computer records. Whenever a problem arises, the boss calls her to discuss it. There are only two of us here, but he won’t cross-train me on her duties. How should I handle this unfairness?” — Abena-Tarkwa
Gabriel’s Answer: Your colleague apparently has been given the lead role in your office, even though no one has officially said so. If your boss was smart, he would formally define duties and clarify roles, but many small-office managers fail to do this. Having a peer elevated above you without explanation is annoying, so your resentment is normal. However, it’s also a complete waste of emotional energy. Instead, focus on furthering your own career.
Dealing with a boss who throws more than a temper tantrum
Question: “My boss recently got upset with a co-worker about some problems with customer orders. To get her attention, the boss reached across the desk and grabbed ‘Angela’ by the jaw. When I spoke with Angela about the manager’s improper behavior, she agreed that he was probably wrong, although she wasn’t too disturbed about it. I decided to have a talk with my boss. I told him that I found his actions inappropriate, and he agreed with me. But when he learned that I had already discussed the situation with Angela, he became very irritated. My talking to her really bothered him. Should I have handled this situation differently? What should I do now?” — Asante-Sunyani
Gabriel’s Answer: Your manager’s physical confrontation with Angela was appalling and also illegal, since he could be charged with battery for such uninvited touching. Now what?
• Your boss should be ashamed of himself for losing control. That may explain why he’s upset that you discussed his outburst with Angela.
• Giving honest feedback to a manager takes courage, so congratulations to you for calling him on his offensive and immature behavior. If your comments help to curb his impulsive reactions in the future, then you will have done him a big favor.
• Grabbing an employee is so out of line that someone really needs to know about it. This guy could easily create legal liability for the company. So if you have a trustworthy human resources manager, consider having a confidential talk with that person.
• As for your boss, you don’t need to say anything further to him. Odds are that he’s more upset with himself than with you. And he now knows that someone is watching his behavior.
Productivity should in all cases be the ultimate goal for everyone in the organization before personal interest. Irrespective of all personal traits and affections try and learn to live with everyone equally and self-motivate yourself. Always try and let your work (output) speak for you and not your words.
Happy day at work!
Author: Gabriel Ofori Yeboah
Fund Manager, Investor, Broker, FX Trader, Consultant–(Investment, Financial Analyst, Banking)