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Problems at work & a line manager who never gives sign of life

(6 Posts)
Treasa24 Sat 29-Mar-14 00:06:09

I'm deeply unhappy at work. A small team, all on the same level, but the colleagues who've been there longer have set the culture and the tone. I feel like a fish out of water. I've tried to fit in and I certainly work hard but it's not working out. There's a bit of a secretive atmosphere - I can't question practice, I'm only told just enough to get on with my job.

My line manager sits almost at the top of the organization but is only directly responsible for the very small team that I'm in. My contract mentions periodic reviews. He has barely set eyes on me since I arrived, nearly a year ago.though long serving staff in my team see him (they do so very quietly and never report back). Normally, he'd be the one I'd see to talk to about the work and the set up. But he ignores me completely as well as responsibilities to conduct reviews. I'm reluctant to be pro-active and see him because I'm really pretty certain that colleagues have and that they are advising him that I should go. My evidence? Flimsy - but it's a strong feeling.

Do I go to HR to get them to persuade him to do his job impartially?

It's so bad that I'm wondering whether to quit. I can barely sleep but I need the income and feel that it might be easier to get a job from a job though, of course, I worry about references from this manager.

Thoughts or suggestions very welcome!

flowery Sat 29-Mar-14 07:09:12

Why is a feeling that your colleagues are persuading him you should go making you reluctant to approach your manager? confused

If they are saying that, at the moment he doesn't seem to be agreeing with them, does he? Otherwise he'd do something about it! But do you really want the impression he has of you to be more clouded by colleagues than influenced by you yourself?

If you are concerned that he doesn't have a good opinion of you at present, the way to counter that is to be proactive, approach him, be keen to improve, ask for feedback etc. Ask for a one-to-one or if you can put a review in the diary, and then raise your concerns with him.

Asking HR to tell him to do his job really really isn't going to help counter any possible negative opinion he may have of you.

littlemrschatterbox Sat 29-Mar-14 07:48:44

Your intuition is probably right. I'm just about to finish a contract which has been more than awful so I understand how you feel!

In your position, I would approach him and request a 1:1 then see how it goes. I wouldn't approach HR. I think that would just cause problems. It could just be that your face doesn't fit in which case I would start looking for a new job and doing your best to build relationships so you leave on good terms. If they are all stuck in a rut of what they have always done then they will feel threatened which is the problem I think I've had.

EBearhug Sat 29-Mar-14 15:13:15

I would say ask for a 1-2-1, saying you'd just like to review how things are going. You can at least give your impression of things, so he doesn't just have the opinion of your colleagues. Try to keep it objective and focus on what you've achieved. If there are things you could be doing better, ask for feedback you can act on. Maybe there's a training course which could help.

I wouldn't raise the point of other people seeing him and not reporting back. You don't know what they're talking to him about, and it could be nothing about you at all. However, it could be there are issues with communication. Do you have team meetings where you can discuss things which have been going on, sharing info that others need to know or may find useful? If not, maybe you could suggest it as something to improve communication flow.

You say you only get told enough to do your job - do you think that's enough? Is there a training manual, documentation? If not, you could develop it, and highlight the gaps - things you need to know, things which are useful background and things which are role-specific. I tend to develop these in jobs where things are not all I might wish, because I make notes about what I get shown and if I document it for me, others may as well benefit.

These are ideas and you may not be able to do anything about some of them, but I mention them because of someone came to me saying, this isn't good enough, this needs changing, my first question is going to be, what have you done to improve things so far? How do you think it should be done? So you need to think about this before you go for a 1-2-1, and later, if you need to go to HR, which is an option later, but not yet. You need to show you are going to be part of the solution, not making the problem worse. Just complaining won't get you far - showing you're willing to be involved with fixing it stands more chance.

But it might not improve, if the culture is that ingrained, so I would also be getting my CV out there and looking elsewhere.

Treasa24 Sun 30-Mar-14 09:29:35

Thank you all. The suggestion that I go directly to my line manager is a good one. It's just that I'm nervous about doing so because I really am pretty certain that he's been 'lobbied'. Still, it makes sense to go.

I feel sick in my stomach now at the prospect of going back to work tomorrow. I'm a very level headed person and have reasonably thick skin but nevertheless, this job actually scares me. Hence my thoughts about approaching HR if only to have it on record that I am concerned - in case anything is being cooked up or in case I need to resign speedily.

I'm made to feel distinctly unwelcome and am certainly not asked to be involved in anything or even informed about what is going on. There is - to answer a question above - a group meeting coming up soon and while I should be welcoming it, I'm dreading it. Part of me wants to ask one or two people if they have anything hatched (I wouldn't put it quite like that) but I might not get the truth or it might fuel their dislike of me.

Shall I just brave this meeting out or shall I say, in advance, that I'm worried?

flowery Sun 30-Mar-14 10:59:15

If he is being lobbied all the more reason to speak to him, so that he isn't just getting one side of it.

As you've not been there long, if your manager wanted to get rid of you there would be no need to "cook up" or "hatch" anything, he could just give you the requisite notice.

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