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Boss insists on redrafting emails - normal?

(29 Posts)
Lissie2015 Fri 08-Jan-16 13:33:38

I started a new job six months ago. Really like the company but am struggling massively with my boss. I have nothing against her as a person, she's great at her job but she's an intense micro manager. I have to copy her into all my emails, she insists I send her my emails so she can redraft them (these are straightforward emails to colleagues) she rubbishes most of the things I do.

We are both in senior positions as department heads. I was hired to lead on strategy and push through lots of new leads but I find this is impossible as everything gets blocked by her.

I've brought up the way she manages me with her, her boss (he picked up on the conversation I had with her) and HR. Each time her iron grip just got tighter.

Is her behaviour normal? I've only had really laid back bosses so far.

LillyBugg Fri 08-Jan-16 13:35:46

Really doesn't sound normal. Surely you can't actually do your job like this? What did HR say when you raised it?

Murphyslaw21 Fri 08-Jan-16 13:36:12

If you are both senior positions then surly this is incorrect. Maybe ask her why she insists in doing this. And suggest vice Versa happens.

Lissie2015 Fri 08-Jan-16 13:40:05

I do find it impossible. It's also really demoralising, urgh. HR was useless. Part of my complaint was that her management style makes me feel like an intern rather than a senior manager, and in response I just got a whole spiel about work being a new company and people often working in more junior positions than their titles suggest.

Murphyslaw21 Fri 08-Jan-16 13:44:55

That sounds very unfair. I would suggest another sit down meeting with her and HR raising your grievance. But make it known that it is unacceptable. It undermines you in your role and that's not right.

Does this happen with other managers?? It is it just you. If it's just you then to could raise a complaint

LillyBugg Fri 08-Jan-16 13:47:12

Even if it's not just you I would complain. I would definitely raise it with HR again and make it clear you need support on this or you will need to take out a grievance. It's just madness that they think it's normal behaviour.

Lissie2015 Fri 08-Jan-16 13:50:18

Thanks! I did bring up with her why she needs this level of control and she basically said something along the line that she felt I wasn't up to my job. Couldn't give any examples of course.

She manages one more person who's based remotely and is a lot more junior so he minds her controlfreakery less but he has very similar issues.

My boss is very well liked and has the trust of all the execs (she really is great at her job) so when I started complaining I felt it was put down as my issue and me just not liking her.

Hassled Fri 08-Jan-16 13:53:01

If she's not going to change and you're not going to get any support from HR or elsewhere then tbh I'd be looking for a new job. That sounds appalling - you must feel undermined all the time. I couldn't bear it.

Lissie2015 Fri 08-Jan-16 13:57:41

Thanks all, I feel genuinely relieved you all think it's nuts. It is absolutely driving me insane. I think you're right and leaving might be the only option.

TheClacksAreDown Fri 08-Jan-16 14:11:20

You can do two things.

First you can sit down with her, try and understand why she feels you're not up to the job and what you need to do to show that you're performing - frame it as looking at 2016 goals/performance rather than criticism of her management. And then you need to decide, trying to take an objective view as you can manage (getting feedback from stakeholders) as to whether you are out of your depth here and actually the micro management is because you need it or whether you are good enough and just need to demonstrate it so she will back off. It partly depends on what kind of stuff she's picking up on - if she has a preferred drafting style for example then I'd just follow that if it makes her happy.

Second you can decide that life is too short and leave.

Personally I'd try doing 1 whilst simulateously job hunting if I ultimately felt she was the problem not me. But what I would also say is that I've currently got a situation where I've ended up having to micro manage an employee - they felt they were great at the job but they simply weren't - I had them put (against my wishes) into my team 6 months ago following a reshuffle and I'm unconvinced they're up to the current job. They are a reasonably senior grade but I can't let them do much unsupervised (whereas at their grade they should be largely flying solo) because they're getting it wrong, I get the complaints and that reflects badly on me. I'm trying hard to coach them to improve but it is tough and we're going to have to look to move them into another role or out if we can't make this work medium term. I loathe having to micro manage though.

Lissie2015 Fri 08-Jan-16 14:27:42

Hi Clacks,

The situation with your employee sounds tough but at least you're working on helping them!

The weird thing is that she's avoided my requests for this kind of performance review. I've asked for one after I passed probation and she's not come back to me on a similar request where I asked for feedback on my strategy for the year (which included suggested KPIs for myself).

I genuinely wouldn't mind at all if she'd straight up tell me if/what I'm lacking or any kind of constructive feedback. Although I genuinely still wouldn't understand how I can't be drafted to write basic emails...

Lissie2015 Fri 08-Jan-16 14:27:58

trusted even!

SwedishEdith Fri 08-Jan-16 14:43:51

What kind of things is she picking up on? Is she always changing the same type of stuff?

I'd be tempted to play games. Use her corrections in later emails and see if she still corrects them. Probably not wise and maybe wait until you've got a new job.


Lissie2015 Fri 08-Jan-16 14:50:11

Swedish, tempting! smile It's completely random. She once edited a piece of copy, asked me to make further changes, then edited some of it back to how I'd written it in the first place.

Great example of her constant undermining just happened: colleague goes up to my boss and asks a question about something that falls into my department. Instead of directing him to me she gives an answer that's incomplete. I interject, add the missing bit and she gives me the death stare. She's mental.

SwedishEdith Fri 08-Jan-16 14:57:45

Oh dear. Does she actually like you? Is this personal and she sees you as a threat? Have you shown anyone the amended/unamended work?

feesh Fri 08-Jan-16 15:02:43

I had a female boss like this. I tried to get a new job for 3 of the last 5 years I was there, but my confidence was so shot that I never succeeded. In the end I left to become a SAHM. I'm not kidding, she completely destroyed me.

Get out now before it's too late.

Lissie2015 Fri 08-Jan-16 15:03:03

I'm sure she doesn't like me, after all I've complained about her. I've never shown her edits to anyone, that's a good point.

Lissie2015 Fri 08-Jan-16 15:06:54

That sounds horrible feesh, I can completely understand how the constant undermining completely kills your confidence and drive.

EBearhug Sat 09-Jan-16 01:37:35

What would happen if you just sent a mail, with her cc'ed, rather than sending it to her first for review?

If she won't agree to doing a performance review, make sure you've got all that recorded (email, or at least keep a log of the discussion, dates and times, who was there, summary of what was said and what was agreed).

Would it be worth going back to her boss (initiated by you) or HR? Does your company offer anything like 360 degree reviews and feedback, so you get feedback from everyone you work with, not just your immediate line manager?

It's normal for us to get important mails/documents reviewed by someone else before sending, but no one has time to review and rewrite every single mail - you wouldn't have time to do your own job, and unless there really are specific performance issues, people should be capable of writing professional emails. If there are particular issues, you need specific feedback, and that can be followed up with courses, or just some on-going checks till it's shown you've improved.

I've had a manager who is very good at coming up with stuff like, "That's not good enough," and not giving any details, and it's very frustrating, because you've usually no idea what he's on about. Fortunately though, he wasn't my direct manager, so I could mostly ignore it, which you can't. I would have my CV up to date and out there in your circumstances, in case no other efforts improve things.

Lissie2015 Mon 11-Jan-16 10:06:54

EBearhug, I'll get told off, I've tried this out already.

Thanks, it's a really good point to start keeping a record. My company is very new so there are barely any formal HR or review procedures in place.

The feedback that I have been getting from other stakeholders has been positive though, got an email from the CEO just this weekend complimenting me on my work. Moreover the figures and stats are positive too, we're up on ROI and other KPIs since I've started.

I would have no issue having any important emails or documents checked at all, but straight forward emails to colleagues etc - I just don't get it. I'll ask her for direct feedback on where she thinks my email skills lack at our next 1 to 1.

I've also updated my CV...

AnchorDownDeepBreath Mon 11-Jan-16 10:14:43

This would drive me scatty.

I get advice from my manager and perhaps legal, for very important emails (usually the ones that we need to check liability for), but they make minimal changes and if something is changed, they explain why they've done it, and send it back to me to make sure I'm happy. Then I send, if I am.

Your bosses' way would drive me insane, and I'd be looking to end that now, or at least set an end date in a few weeks.

Meeep Mon 11-Jan-16 10:21:48

I had a boss like this. I was office manager and she was department head. Nightmare micromanagement there.
She had to check and edit everyone's emails, all my staff and mine, making ridiculous, pointless changes. It meant everything took three times as long as it needed to, very frustrating, and nobody felt trusted.
Staff turnover was horrendous, I spent a third of my time training new people or comforting / HR liaising with those who were deciding to leave because of her!
She was there from seven each morning and every night until ten or eleven, making herself sick.
I was stupid, I felt proud and took the job when they told me they thought I was the best candidate to work with certain difficult colleagues. Never again will I make that mistake!!

My strong advice is to find another job ASAP.

BlueSmarties76 Mon 11-Jan-16 10:25:29

I think your boss is my old boss! She used to demand every email sent to clients be sent to her first for proofreading. Lasted a million years fortnight before she realised the system was batshit crazy and that she was a moron wasn't going to work.

Lissie2015 Mon 11-Jan-16 10:46:32

It's totally driving me insane. This morning, instead of just asking me, she rang up another colleague to make sure I'd done xyz. She wasted 30 minutes trying to talk to said colleague who then told her I had. I sit opposite her. BATSHIT.

You're all right, time to get out!

BlueSmarties76 Mon 11-Jan-16 10:49:39

FFS! Half an hour when she sits opposite you!? Has she been in other roles in the company? If so, was she a control freak then too?

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