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Can any managers tell me why my manager is behaving like this?

(74 Posts)
woundedplacerias Sat 26-Nov-16 23:15:25

I have been covering for my line manager for the last 4 months as she has been off sick. This is not official and there has been no adjustment made to my own job, or extra payments, but the role has to be filled and I have stepped up accordingly as her 'deputy'. Our line manager gives me tasks to do that would otherwise have been given to her, but never really mentions the extra work I have had to take on, aside from one occasion when she briefly thanked me in an email.

An added complication is that when my line manager's current role came up (the one who is ill) we both went for it and obviously she got it. She was kind of next in line, but I had been hopeful and had been led to believe by management (including the woman I mentioned above) that I was more highly regarded and was in with a very good chance. Since then she has done very little and I have really had to support her in the role (before she went off ill). I know this sounds like sour grapes but it happens to be true and so many people within our organisation have told me I should have been promoted and she is not up to the job. She really isn't - she gives the impression of being both lazy and incompetent.

While she has been off I have made some changes to the way things are done - things I wanted to do had I been given the promotion when it came up. These changes have been very well received by the team I am now managing and I have been given nothing but positive feedback. Last week two team members went on a training activity with and came back saying how well prepared they were for forthcoming changes to our sector thanks to initiatives implemented by me. They even went to my line manager to tell her how well I am doing and how far ahead we are compared to other organisations. She cut them down and said sh didn't want to hear anything negative about the woman who is off sick - though they hadn't mentioned her at all. The team member told me it felt like she didn't really want to hear anything positive about me either.

AIBU to feel a bit use and to wonder why someone incompetent is protected and someone else is not valued or even thanked for making improvements for no money, time or even thanks?

e1y1 Sat 26-Nov-16 23:49:58

Not a manager (but have been a "supervisor" - which seems similar to what you have been doing in the OP), plus OH has been a manager too.

Can't offer much advice, but from what you have said, YANBU and I would be very careful; some people in organisations do seem to get "used" and then dropped when no longer required (ie your colleague returns from sick).

I saw it countless times, one particular scenario was a colleague who had been with the company for over 14 years and throughout that time, would constantly be used for "stepping up/filling in", was very competent and would have made a great manager. However, for some reason, they were never made a substantive manager.

Final straw was when said colleague was told at a Christmas party by a (very drunk) very senior manager that it wasn't known why they kept bothering to go for management, as it was "never going to happen".

Earliest opportunity colleague got, they left the company.

That's just one that sticks out, but as said, saw it happen many times over - it seemed that if your face "didn't fit" you were going nowhere. It was who you knew, not what.

7SunshineSeven7 Sat 26-Nov-16 23:58:49

Could it be that the manager is very good friends with the woman off sick and doesn't want to hand you praise or have it passed higher up incase someone higher up puts you in line for that job/promotion? That's what I would be thinking.

Can you go to HR (or the relevant department, I'm not sure what it is) and talk about compensation for your additional workload? Try to find any and all proof of the additional tasks you have undertaken and have a talk about either a new title or additional money coming in. Its not fair how they are treating you - 4 months is not short term for you to be doing this work. It is now a major part of your job and should be appreciated as so.

IMissGrannyW Sun 27-Nov-16 00:06:16

The thing is, you don't know why she's ill, and maybe they do. Maybe they're being amazing in supporting her through a difficult time and they're fantastic employers in keeping her job open for her?

And maybe you being used is a consequence of that?

Or maybe it's what the poster above said.... that they're screwing you over for your skills but for some reason they're not going to promote you.

Management is quite nebulous. It's not like those threads where you get poster after poster saying "...another teacher here...."

It sounds like you DO have good, transferable skills. So if you're able to have a frank conversation with someone senior to you to maybe understand why it's not being properly appreciated what you do (understand, they may not tell you the in's and out's of your manager's illness, but they might make it clear that there IS a reason she's not around at the moment and they're supporting her). And/or start looking for other management jobs. The work you've done here can go on your CV. Get the testimonials you've mentioned in writing (printed out emails are fine). If your current company don't want you, I'm sure others will!

nicknamehelp Sun 27-Nov-16 00:17:36

Management have to tread v carefully when dealing with long term sick as can open up a whole can of worms

caroldecker Sun 27-Nov-16 00:27:31

They promoted the wrong person and no-one likes their mistakes being proved true and obvious.
The other thing is people who put up with being used are.
Talk to the line manager and say that unless you are paid more/promoted, you will no longer fill in. Worst case scenario, you do your old job fpr ypur current wage.

TSSDNCOP Sun 27-Nov-16 00:36:35

The point is that sick woman will most likely be coming back-so they're not going to big you up because they'll have to deal with the aftermath upon her return.

They're right not the listen to critics of a manager that, regardless of her competencies, isn there to defend herself or improve her performance.

You're an easy ask- you went for the job, you've stepped up without being asked despite not getting the job, and you've even introduced effiencies without having to pay you.

You are a mug.

DonaldStott Sun 27-Nov-16 00:44:36

Are you in a union? Because I am sure that after 3 months of doing a job, it becomes your new contract, as long as you can prove it. If you are not in a union, I suggest comtacting ACAS to see where you stand.

ChasedByBees Sun 27-Nov-16 00:57:24

I don't think that's the case Donald, as otherwise, people doing maternity cover would get the same benefit? Seeking advice would be a good idea though.

OP, have you asked for a temporary raise for the work you are doing? Write a list of your extra responsibilities and formally ask.

DustyMaiden Sun 27-Nov-16 01:02:27

You are not the manager you should not change the way things are done. You do not try to undermine someone when they are ill. You need to show loyalty and be a team player.

brasty Sun 27-Nov-16 01:05:18

I suspect your line manager is not lazy and incompetent, but has been ill for a while, and thus has struggled. 4 months is a long time to be off and points to either a planned operation or major health problem. Her line manager will know that, and will not appreciate anyone being negative about her.

But ask for a temporary raise. But do not undermine your line manager.

LucieLucie Sun 27-Nov-16 01:08:09

Agree with dusty, this is not your time to shine. That time has gone, they chose her for the job instead of you.

The best thing you can do now is carry on her role the best you can following the way she has it set up. Show yourself to be a professional team player rather than trying to score points against her in her absence.

brasty Sun 27-Nov-16 01:11:15

And wait OP until you are really ill and hanging on for an operation or treatment. You will finally understand what your boss may be going through.

GrimDamnFanjo Sun 27-Nov-16 01:14:26

I agree with Dusty. I would tread carefully. You come across as nit being very supportive of your line manager. However, they should be compensating you for your new role if official.

Rustythedog Sun 27-Nov-16 01:31:25

I have seen this happen countless times and I would urge you to thread carefully.

Firstly, you do not know the nature of your manager's illness. I would not get involved in any gossip about why she is off or the quality of her work.

Secondly, while you became an acting manager, when your manager returns to work, this relationship can become very tricky as you will have to get used to suggesting rather than implementing ideas and it can become awkward.

Thirdly,, if you are currently acting manager, then other team members are doing your day to day tasks and you should use this to show what a team player you all are. If you are maintaining your team role as well as manager role, it leads to justifying your daily work load as a team member unless you have implemented improvements that have reduced the requirement for an additional team member?

I don't think there is any harm in asking for a one to one with your current manager to ask if you can do anything further to help out. IMO this will be seen as you taking the initiative to step up further and be seen as eager to learn and take responsibility. Furthermore, it will give you an opportunity to ask how long this role may continue. Personally I think that being an acting manager for sixteen weeks is too soon to ask for renumeration benefits but only you know what is involved, how much extra time you are spending at work and if the temporary role merits it.

You also need to remember that the overall manager chose somebody over you because they thought she was a better fit. That is not to say you did or are doing anything wrong, but personalities play a very important part in internal promotions.

Lastly, I would take the experience you are getting of acting manager to strengthen further applications and interviews which I'm sure it will.

GnomeDePlume Sun 27-Nov-16 06:39:43

OP I was in your position at the start of this year. For the first couple of months I carried on and coped. At around the same stage you are at I went to HR and told them that I was deeply unhappy and that if the situation wasnt formalised in some way then I would start looking elsewhere.

Cue a long chat with my boss (previously my boss' boss). Initially nothing happened. He was in a bit of a cleft stick as my real boss was still signed off sick. There were grievances flying about. Making my post substantive would run the risk of my real boss being able to claim unfair dismissal.

In the end I forced my boss' boss' hand by applying for other jobs outside the company. When I told him that I had a second interview he got his finger out!

Old boss has now gone and my position is formalised but it did take a lot of push from my side.

Gasp0deTheW0nderD0g Sun 27-Nov-16 07:40:47

When I read work-related threads on MN, it often seems as if some posters only have experience of working in efficient, well-managed places where all decisions taken by more senior people are good and well-founded. I have worked in places where this was very far from the case, unfortunately. It has been my experience that in some places managers feel very threatened by bright people coming up below them and have no desire whatsoever to see their juniors showing initiative.

Yes, I agree your workplace may be supporting your line manager through a very difficult time. But equally they may have appointed her because they thought she would not rock the boat, or because she had been there longer and/or was on chummy terms with those higher up.

If you are in a place where managers seem to have tall poppy syndrome, my advice is to look for another job. I wish I had, years ago when I could get absolutely nowhere as an internal candidate for more senior posts. I also wish I had made more of a fuss. On at least one occasion I think I had enough reason to make a formal complaint to HR. I was interviewed for a job where I had far more experience of the work than either of the other candidates. I think I did a good interview, but I didn't get it. The manager then sent the person appointed to me to brief her on what she would have to do in her new job. She was hideously embarrassed by it all as she knew absolutely nothing about the area in question and had taken it as read that I would get the job. Gah. Well out of that place.

fiorentina Sun 27-Nov-16 07:48:16

I suspect that in reality they may have promoted the person who would keep the status quo. They knew you would want to drive change and it can be very hard for people to adapt to that. I may be totally wrong though. In all honesty if your managers line manager isn't supportive of you then would you want her job if she doesn't come back from being sick? Maybe look to use the experience and move elsewhere?

notaflyingmonkey Sun 27-Nov-16 08:10:04

Was it actually in your gift to make those changes? Did you get clearance to do so beforehand?

I think that you need to establish exactly what it is that is being expected of you to cover, and in what capacity (ie official acting up means financial remuneration, and you can put it on your CV).

SuperFlyHigh Sun 27-Nov-16 08:13:27

I think you need to be supportive of the current line manager and follow Rustys points.

You want to ensure that you aee the number 1 choice for the role or can leave for a similar role if need be.

Years ago I covered for my boss who was an office manager at an architects (when she was sick or on holiday), in a new job at small solicitors I tried to practice office management there as though I was receptionist/PA/legal sec the other legal sec was quite lazy and didn't want to eg order stationery or hire temps. So I did that and helped the bookkeeper.

By the time I was looking for other jobs I was at an agency where they said you could be an office manager in an architects. I needed another course so have done that, so did it, then applied and got a job as office manager/PA for small (15 staff) architects but they intend to grow. I'm more than happy to take courses on HR and payroll but they outsource these parts of the job which is sometimes included.

It's laughable because a bully in my solicitors job said behind my back but it came back to me that I'd "never be an office manager" but whilst there I quietly and efficiently got on with the job made myself indispensable and learned the office management side of things doing things like employing temps that were efficient and also solved our staffing problem but at a reasonable cost etc and the old legal sec there now has to pull her weight now apparently. Life sucks.

SuperFlyHigh Sun 27-Nov-16 08:14:58

I agree with notaflyngmonkey too ensure you have clearance re the changes, sometimes people don't like change, especially larger organisations so that needs to be formalised.

Luckily in my old job I had carte Blanche within reason to make changes!

Headofthehive55 Sun 27-Nov-16 08:18:46

I think you are only appriciated when you move elsewhere. I've ended up being asked to do stuff, which isn't really my job. It's going on my cv and then I will look elsewhere. I've been turned down for internal promotion too. Unfortunately, keeping me in my job means they have a very competent worker. They have no incentive to promote me.

sterlingcooper Sun 27-Nov-16 08:23:10

Was the manager (the higher up one who isn't off sick) on the interview panel for the job you went for and didn't get?

JustSpeakSense Sun 27-Nov-16 08:24:48

They promoted the wrong person and now they're stuck with her.

I'd be looking for another job myself, no reason to stick around somewhere you're not appreciated. They are using your willingness to progress for their own benefit without compensating or thanking you.

Take the experience you've earned and go somewhere where you will be rewarded.

ShowMePotatoSalad Sun 27-Nov-16 08:30:03

YANBU but the only issue I would be worried about is ensuring I receive an uplift on my salary for the time I have been deputising.

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