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Pissed off with comments about my management style in my job appraisal interview...

(4 Posts)
MrsSchadenfreude Mon 06-Jun-11 21:37:30

I've just had my JAI and have been told that my management style is "too passive" and I need to be "more aggressive and directional with the staff." I said that whoever made this comment seems to be confusing "light touch" management - which is what this team needs - and gets - from me, as they are all experienced in what they do. I have absolutely no need to get aggressive and shouty and "tell" people what to do - I give steers, ask them to consider other options etc, but do not "tell them what to do." And apparently this is where I am failing.

I've been told that I manage the support staff very well (these are all women), but "the men think I need to be more aggressive." I have never been an aggressive manager, and I'm not going to start now. I am not a piece of piss to work for, or a soft touch. I am tough, can deliver a difficult message, turn round underperformers, and have always been seen as someone who gets the best out of people. Which is why I was given this job - to turn round the team, which I have done, and I didn't get any credit for this at all - it was just brushed over, and all the focus was on this one issue.

I am fairly sure I know where this comment has come from, and am almost tempted to turn into Mrs "You don't want to do it like that! Do it like this! As I am telling you!" and to start snarling. But that would be juvenile.

I think the whole place is getting me down, actually - I've had no real leave beyond a few odd days since last summer, I'm a workplace counsellor and have a heavy morning tomorrow with a nasty case of bullying (the sixth in as many months - yes, we really need more aggression in the workplace!), and have been refused the afternoon off to attend DD2's school concert as I "won't really be working in the morning" (oh no, a formal grievance procedure is like spending the day sunbathing)...

Sorry, just a whinge.

StillSquiffy Tue 07-Jun-11 08:12:13

Oh, MrsS. I would also be mightily pissed off at such an appraisal.

The chaps are simply being a bit primal, and are ?perhaps intentionally? undermining you because you do it differently.

If you wanted to sling it back at them you might like "Please can it to be officially recorded that I am very unhappy that in my appraisal you seemed to be suggesting that I adopt male-gender traits in my management style, and that this feels very discriminatory to me. I am confused as to why the excellent output of my team as a result of my quiet leadership style seems to have been ignored, and that I am being pushed to change my inputs in a manner which is not only generally felt to be effective (as demonstrated by research and which we can all see ourselves from the numerous bullying grievances we handle), but would also be inauthentic and uncomfortable for me on a personal level. Having turned the team around and brought productivity up to the point where we now perform at XXX level, I find it somewhat odd that the very respectful and professional methods by which I have done this have been brought into question. Can you please provide evidence of specific examples of where, why and how you seem to think I would have received better results be being more, well, primal? In the absense of such examples, do you perhaps think it time for the team to be given some diversity training so that they can recognise that there are different styles of management and some can be much more effective than others (as my results have amply demonstrated)?"

BerylStreep Tue 07-Jun-11 17:31:20

Squiffy - what an excellent response. My initial thoughts were to respond that it is the results that matter, and that management style, provided it is within a range of acceptable parameters, is a matter of personal choice, provided you are achieving results.

Can I clarify, are the workplace bullying incidents occurring in your team? If so, perhaps people are taking the piss, thinking you are a push-over. If not within your team - please accept my apologies.

MrsSchadenfreude Tue 07-Jun-11 20:28:50

Squiffy, thank you, that's outstanding, and I will certainly use that in response! Yes, have turned the team round, recruited new staff and they are all working better and more cohesively - which head honcho has recognised.

Beryl, no, the bullying incidents are not taking place in my team (thankfully), although my boss's PA has been bullying the newest member of my team - he has refused to address this on the grounds that his PA is leaving in August (!) and as he hasn't seen my team member in tears, "it can't be that serious." I am in the process of referring this up to head honcho - usually I would have a word with his PA myself, but I think on this occasion, HH should see how wet and cowardly his deputy is being. In the meantime (he is away at the moment), I've moved her to another bit of the office so that she is physically removed from PA troublemaker (and closer to me).

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