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Awkward new boss - how best to handle

(7 Posts)
Stevie77 Wed 27-Mar-13 11:52:11

I've been unhappy in my previous role (loved work and company but desperately needed to progress but there were no opps there) and have started with a new employer last month.

My boss here is, well, just awkward. He's not a bully or abusive or even a bad boss (at least I don't think so) but he makes the atmosphere in our small office awkward and uncomfortable. It's little things like; he'll start talking to someone or asking a question, without addressing the person first. When I'm at the recieving end I feel unprepared to answer the question, like he's ambushed me. He likes to repeat the obvious a lot and explain and re-explain simple things (which is my pet hate). At the same time he is not very communicative on his expectations (been here 5 weeks and still not had objectives).

He is incredibly disorganised and instead of thinking and acting strategically, he gets bogged down by minor details, for example, our role is marketing but there is no marketing strategy or plan which is rather a basic thing!

So, while it all reads quite trivial, I have been getting increasingly frustrated which means I'm concentrating on the negatives. I'm not sure how to turn the situation around and would appreciate some advice.

gertrudestein Wed 27-Mar-13 15:05:26

If sounds like you moved because you had some personal goals you wanted to reach. Would it help if you focused on these goals, and then worked out how you can achieve them in your new role, working withib the constrainta of a less than ideal situation? It may just have to be a stepping stone rather than a long term job. Especially in small offices, the boss's personality makes a huge difference, and it sounds rely annoying but also not something you can change. Try to focus on how you're benefitting from the job, rather than how it doesn't match up to your old office

Stevie77 Thu 28-Mar-13 11:57:22

You're right, it is absolutely a stepping stone. Funnily enough, I spoke to one of my colleagues yesterday and she too commented on the awkward, uncomfortable atmosphere in the room when he is around. It is clear it is down to his communication style/skills (or lack of).

I agree, I need to try and ignore those little isms and find a way to deal with them for the time being!

Stevie77 Thu 02-May-13 11:08:18

Bumping this to expand and ask for some advice!

So, 10 weeks in and things aren't better. On top of everything, I've found out he's lied to me in our negotiations about pay rises, so am even more unhappy. Will probably stick it out because we really want to start TTC #2 ASAP and would not want to put this off whilst I look for/start a new role. So hopefully, only a matter of a few months!

My question is; how can I in future job searches and interviews try and avoid this situation again? Are there ways to find out about companies' cultures, questions to ask at interview that could be telling, things to look out for?

tribpot Thu 02-May-13 11:23:22

Btw you're aware that you won't qualify for any enhanced maternity pay from this employer anyway? I'd be tempted to start looking around whilst you TTC, you don't have any protected benefits to worry about.

Have you thought about going to his boss to talk through your concerns? It sounds like your probation hasn't been properly handled at all, do you have any objectives?

I'm surprised really the lack of organisation didn't come out in the interview process. With hindsight were there any red flags, like a poorly-prepared interviewer? Feedback slower than indicated it would be? (I will be honest when interviewing that I have to go through various HR hoops before the feedback will arrive with the interviewee, but give an indicative timescale). Do you feel the questions were really challenging? Or actually rather basic?

I think I would specifically ask - and cite this experience - how they organise the probation period. What are the timescales for objectives being reviewed? Is there access to a mentor or buddy who can give you feedback without the constraints of being a line manager, and help you navigate the new organisation? The old chestnut 'what's a typical day in the office like?' can be revealing. You can ask specifically the thing you highlighted in your first post - what's the company's marketing strategy? I look at the company's Twitter account to get a feel for what type of company they want to portray themselves as, which has certainly freaked out interviewers in the past!

The best way of course is to go on personal recommendation - do you use LinkedIn? This could help you uncover friends of friends (or colleagues of colleagues) who'd be prepared to give you an honest appraisal of a particular firm.

Btw I think gertrude's advice still holds good. Does this place help you meet personal goals?

Stevie77 Thu 02-May-13 12:09:00

This place does not offer any enhanced maternity benefits (something else you only find out about after starting!), only SMP which I would qualify for.

The culture of the organisation is such that I would not be able to talk to his boss or HR as she would feed right back to him. Yes, as I write it it is even more obvious how odd/wrong this place is.

I do now have objectives for my probation, which I am we'll on track to achieving. I have no worries there.

I guess there were red flags during interview and negotiations, but as I am fairly inexperienced (worked for previous employer for a few years), I didn't pick up on them at the time. Also red flags re my boss' poor communication and people management skills. It also took me some time to accept the offer, had to think it through, I guess that was a sign!

And yes, being here does help me achieve my personal goals. I got the promotion and job title I wanted, which would help me in future job searches. I am also working well above my level, so gaining good experience demonstrating capability.

Stevie77 Thu 02-May-13 12:11:35

Sorry! Meant to say, thanks for the advice smile

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