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Just had blazing row with the boss...

(7 Posts)
jamandjerusalem Mon 02-Nov-09 14:44:06

Huge amounts of back story I can't go into here but she criticised something I had done incorrectly in her eyes.

I had previously gone to her a fortnight ago with an outline of my workload and said I was worried about how much I had to do and how much time I had to do it in. She had a go at me about being a rubbish manager, that I wasn't 'stepping up to the mark' or being proactive enough.

(Her managment style veers from non-existent to micro management, so it's very difficult for any of the management team to know where to position ourselves.)

Anyway, I reiterated that I'd been to her previously about concerns over my workload. She basically said I should be able to do everything I needed to do in my part-time hours. She said that some of my work is sloppy and it's clear when I don't put in enough time hmm

So, a bit of a stale-mate. I haven't had a staff review at all this year, had a vague discussion when I came back off maternity leave 14 months ago (where my job had been altered slightly, with my agreement, but to include managing someone myself which is new to me). I'm wondering whether to formalise this by emailing her with my concerns and asking for a review, copying in her superiors too. Or doing something else... don't quite know what.

Sorry, v long, I know, but I feel I need some advice.

mabh Mon 02-Nov-09 16:43:13

Hmmm. Sounds like you have a stressed boss.

My suggestion would be for you to come up with ways you think you could make your workload more manageable - ie. the old mantra 'don't bring me problems, bring me solutions'. I know it's the last thing you need if you're wound up yourself, but I would say it's the only way to re-start the conversation.

You could also ask in as nice a way as you can manage, if she'd say at the time if she isn't satisfied with the way you've done a project, so you can address her concerns.

Good luck.

jamandjerusalem Mon 02-Nov-09 17:20:29

Thanks, mabh. She is stressed. But she's also a bully. My maternity cover left because she couldn't handle being shouted at/undermined any more.

I will try to bring up possible solutions, and to ask her to say at the time if there are issues. Do you think this should be face-to-face?

mabh Tue 03-Nov-09 10:04:57

Hi jam - sorry about yesterday's post-and-run but DH hogs the pc in the evenings.

I would say absolutely, do it face-to-face, but have your list of possible solutions written down, with a copy for the boss.

Sadly a lot of people in middle-management type positions end up bordering on bullying because they fundamentally can't cope with their own workload. I know it's really tough to feel sorry for them when they're being a complete pain, but it might help to try to imagine that she is getting the same level of pressure from her boss. No-one can live like that forever, and in the end, she will change or leave. It just doesn't feel that way at the time.

The mistake a lot of people make in your position (and I've been there, too) is to let it escalate because they're pee'd off at the injustice. Unfortunately, this never works. Even if you technically 'won' a battle by getting the person ousted/even going to court, you will forever drag it round psychologically. Better to be the 'good guy' and resolve it as best you can until she moves on/changes, or move on yourself if you can't wait. You will be better for it, honest.

<so speaks the voice of experience - been at the receiving end and a director of a company with uncoping managers> hope you are feeling a bit calmer this morning.

LoveBeingAMummy Tue 03-Nov-09 10:10:47

SOunds like my old boss.

Agree re needing to have solutions. Start with your tasks/objectives and ahve a real look, can it be done in your pt hours?

Have a look at what she is saying about your work and be honest is some of it not up to scratch now you are going back with fresh eyes? If not then defend it.

Ask her for specific improvements and SMART objectives. If she is like my old boss then she's now got this in her head and you will have to prove its not true, ince you have you'll be fine again.

Good luck

jamandjerusalem Tue 03-Nov-09 13:24:52

Thanks, both. I do feel less angry, but more worried and fearful

Boss is the director, and therefore her bosses are trustees and not terribly competent, tbh. Any pressure is not from them particularly, but rather stems from the fact that she is not competent to do her job. She's already been off with stress for 3 months, a couple of years back. Also I have previously tried to talk to her about the way she speaks to people and her response was to say that she'd been like that all her life and she wasn't about to change now.

Good idea about the SMART objectives - think she'd like that. I suppose this is the crux of my concern about workload - that our conversations about this are vague and she throws examples of things I haven't done or have done wrong into my discussion about workload, which isn't constructive and feels very defensive.

You know how sometimes you can't believe people have reached a ripe old age and still not learned how to interact with people in an appropriate way? I find it bizarre.

You're right, mabh. I would dearly love for 'justice' to be served, but it's such a complicated issue that I don't know where to start. Maybe escalating isn't the best course of action. The trustees have asked me and the other managers the same level as me to let them know if she's up to her old tricks, so I might have an 'off the record' discussion with one of them so they are in the picture. Or is that a daft idea?

mabh Tue 03-Nov-09 14:45:06

Hi jam, sorry to hear you're still feeling worried. I understand, I really do.

You hit the nail on the head about senior managers getting to a ripe age without working out how not to pee people off. There's a lot of it about.

The only way to 'win' this one is, to use an over-used cliche, 'manage your boss'; present things to them in clear and manageable chunks, with solutions proposed for each problem and stick to it like a limpet.

If you do have a good way to have a quiet word with a trustee, it would probably be a good thing as long as you are feeling balanced and can be very calm, dispassionate and 'professional' about it (not that I'm doubting your credentials, but when you're feeling overwrought it's quite easy to sounds wobbly, subjective and unprofessional in some people's eyes). Remember that they (presumably) don't know you as well as your boss so you will have to be very clear in what you say. Might be an idea to have a suggestion as to how she could be 'helped' (yup, play the game), but only mention it if they ask for ideas. Discretion is the key here (well let's face it, none of us would like our deficiencies discussed publicly, would we?).

I think what made things easier for me was deciding that I couldn't fix the boss's problems, but I could make sure I wasn't one of them. This takes you out of the firing line.

Bosses who can't cope do eventually get sorted out in the end, honestly.

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