Submitted by Oscar.P on
Hi there, new to the forum and I found this when I was looking for guidance on a new team I have been been assigned to lately.
I work at a non-profit organisation with a hospitality character and am leading a team of about 6 and part-timers (about 8) It's a hands-on job where everyone has to fill in for reception and floor duties when we are low on staff. My boss micromanages and my staff members gets direct instructions from him without me even being cued in. They consider him their boss, His decision making is arbitrary and contradictory at times. On a whim things policies are changed and I only learn about it from an email I am cc-ed in. Basically I have very litte actual authority because even simple things as leave, and work schedules, shift changes etc get approved by him. The staff now knows I get very little support from my boss and they use it to their advantage. Since I have been in this job only for about 7 months and have learned that other managers have left because of it I decided to work around this by applying reason to decision making. If it makes sense then why challenge it. And for a certain amount of time this works but there are moments where there has to be some sort of accountability.
When at some point someone stayed away from work without any notice and another one decided he could just not fullfill his basic responsibilities and actually told me to "why don't you do it yourself" I informed my boss that this required warning letters as per base policy in this organization. He did acknowledge that this was warranted but didn't want to do this because "it would make things worse". He had a chat with the staff members. To me it seems how this place has been run for a long time and I can see now how staff just gets away with everything. He did tell me when I started that they were a "sensitive" group of people who will make everything as difficult as possible and know the ropes since most have been working there for 10 years.
Is there a better strategy then what I have been doing? Over time I have become a little insecure as well because of this which I think they are noticing as well, hard to hide.
Sorry to hear about your problems. However, it sounds like there is a two-way issue here as you say your boss micromanages and he cuts you out of decisions. You clearly don't trust him, and it sounds like he doesn't trust you. I would approach him and explain what this is doing from your point of view. Let him know that you want to take some of the load off his shoulders, but you need to understand his reasoning to enable you to do this effectively. You will also want to know that he has your back when things get tough, and if staff try to circumvent matters by going directly to him, let him see that will just mean he gets more of the same happening so he has to send them back to you. He has to learn to trust you, and that won't happen overnight, but you need to demonstrate that you can be trusted to do the job, too.
The MT mantra that it's all about relationships cuts both ways, and you have to try and foster a better relationship with your boss by demonstrating the behaviour that he expects from a manager, while you also have to go the extra mile with your team. Get to know them as well as you can - one on ones are the best way of doing this. It gives them clear space with you once a week, and shows you see that time with them is important. Go to the MT basics podcasts on rolling out the trinity and invest the time in yourself to understand the process.
As to the fact that you are feeling insecure, one of the best pieces of advice I ever received was that even when you aren't confident, behave as if you are. I was in sales for many years and trust me, there is nothing that tests your self-belief more. But don't let your staff see that you feel that way. Learn how to create rapport quickly, and don't rely on the fact that you are the manager to make the people in your team do as you ask. The MT folks point out that role power is the least effective when dealing with people - you have to earn their respect.
Listen - My Boss Skips Me - PodCast
My Boss Skips Me