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Monday, January 07, 2008

Bad Managers

I don't know how to handle a situation with my manager. HR is the last stop for advice in my organization so before I go down that slippery slope, can you help out with with some HR advice?

It's end of year evaluation time. I schedule a time and room to meeting with my manager two weeks ahead of the meeting day at his working location which is a two hour drive for me. I sit in the meeting room and wait for 15 minutes. Finally I go back to a desk close to his and go back to work. He shows up in another 5 and asks if we can split the evaluation up in 1/2 hour sessions but offers no reason to his tardiness. I'm pretty ticked off by then and said splitting up a evaluation session didn't sound like a good idea. We decide to delay the meeting until after my next meeting. The delayed review went OK but I'm not exactly in a 'open' frame of mind to discuss performance gaps productively.

Two days later I found out that he left a paper copy of my review in the meeting room. A co-worker found it and gave it back to him. It was left in the room for at least one full day. He has not said a word to me about leaving the paper copy in the meeting room nor any apology for being late to the session. I have asked for another time to re-discuss my evaluation with focus on the short comings which he scheduled almost immediately at my work location. But still no confession from him on leaving my evaluation in the meeting room. Now what - confront him, call HR or just forget it? Oh, by the way one of the points on my evaluation was 'difficult' conversions.

Drop it. Just drop it. It was undoubtedly not done with malice. (I know, I'll leave John's hard copy review here in public view! That will show him, although I don't have a clue what it will show him! Insert maniacal laughter here.)

He says you have "difficult" conversations, which probably means he has trouble talking to you. Either this is a flaw you need to work on, or a flaw he needs to work on, or you two just have personality conflicts. He's uncomfortable talking to you in general, so he's probably not going to say, "Hey, just wanted to apologize for leaving your review out on a table!" He probably assumes you don't even know it happened. Why bring it up?

And since you and your boss have trouble communicating verbally, it can either be really good or really bad that you are two hours away. Make sure you are good at e-mail communications with him and keep him up to date. He still won't feel chatty around you, but he'll know what is going on.

And just as an FYI, delayed reviews seem to be the norm in every company I've ever worked for. It's nothing personal. Managers dislike doing them. Employees dislike receiving them. End result is delayed reviews all around.

1 comment:

Chris Young said...

I think you are right on with your comments about differing personality styles.

My experience has shown that this conflict is likely a result of two conflicting behavioral styles that directly impact the communication between a manager and a team member.

We recommend the use of the DISC behavioral assessment to help pinpoint these behavioral differences. When you realize these differences it is easier to understand where the other individual is coming from and why they communicate in the way they do.

My guess is that in this situation the manager is not direct in his or her communication style and wishes to avoid these "difficult" conversations because of his behavioral style.

Chris Young
The Rainmaker Group