Author Topic: Alert management or keep my mouth closed?  (Read 6475 times)

NeverWasACornflakeGirl

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Alert management or keep my mouth closed?
« on: April 11, 2014, 08:45:23 AM »
Edit:  Within 5 minutes of typing this and reading the replies I realized that this is a terrible idea.  ;-)  Feel free to read and even respond if you'd like, but I think I've gotten all the feedback I need.  Thanks to those who replied!!

This is going to be long and kind of rambling, so please be warned!  Also please know that I am asking this question with the best of intentions.  I'm not trying to get revenge or get anyone in trouble.

I have worked at a company for four years.  For most of that time I have been very happy working there.  Over a year ago I reached a point where I no longer had to work full time for financial reasons, but I stayed on because I enjoyed it and I really liked seeing the people I work with every day.  I have had the same manager for three years.  He's a nice guy and, up until about a year ago he was a really great manager.  He had his faults, but we all do.

About 8 months or so ago his management performance began to decline.  As I see things now, he is trying to wear three hats:  executive level, project management, and team management.  Also, our team has greatly expanded.  In my area alone we have grown from three people to seven in a very short period of time.  His old methods of management were just the right mix of hands-on and no micromanagement.  However, because he is wearing the executive hat and project management hat, he barely seems to wear the team management hat at all.  We rarely see him as he is busy at meetings.  This would be fine if he had a structure in place that allowed us to make decisions, communicate, or collaborate without him, but we don't.  He seems to assign work willy-nilly, and no one knows what anyone else is doing.  As an example, I recently found that five of us were working on the same things, and none of us knew what the others were doing.  Also, there is much duplication of effort because there is no one actively coordinating work.

I brought this to his attention about a month ago, and he was receptive to what I had to say, but didn't have a solution.  I think he needs help.  He needs at least one team lead if not more for the number of people he supervises.  He said this was not an option.  I see other ways that his management is slipping, as well.  I recently had my annual review and it was pretty much the exact opposite of how a review was supposed to be done (I was in management for 8 years and am very interested in management methods).  He brought up things I had never heard about before, mentioned hearsay without telling me exactly what the hearsay was or who said it, and then did mention that two of my closest coworkers had complained about me, but wouldn't tell me what the complaint was (if I were my coworkers I would be really upset that he was telling me this).  When I asked him to give me specific things I could work on, he couldn't or wouldn't list anything.

In an adjacent group, also under him, two members of the team have been there for a number of years, and a new member was added about a year ago.  We can all see (since we have an open office) that he is not doing any work, and the other members of the team have complained that he doesn't do anything.  He also comes to work late, smelling of alcohol.  Our boss was clueless that any of this was happening because the two established members of the team didn't feel right about complaining to the boss about one of their teammates.  But how could our boss have someone work for him for that long and not know that this person wasn't doing anything, and was coming to work drunk?

So here's the question.  I am planning to give notice at the beginning of May, with my last day being in the beginning of June.  I'm retiring and will be trying to get some part-time, work from home work in my field for at least the next year until I transition into my part-time retirement career.  My boss's recommendation would be very helpful to get work.  I have thought about going to the VP in charge of our department (this is skipping a level, but the Director between my boss and the VP is worse than useless, and is just part of the problem) to talk about the structural problems in our department and to say that they really need to get my boss some help in the form of team leads. 

But there are so many downsides to this I think maybe I should just let it go, leave "gracefully", and keep my boss's good will.  I care about the coworkers I'm leaving behind, and this could possibly help them, but I also don't want to "fall on my sword" for no good reason.

What do you think?  Would me meeting with her even make a difference, except to make things even more difficult for my boss? 
« Last Edit: April 11, 2014, 09:11:20 AM by NeverWasACornflakeGirl »

stash4cash

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Re: Alert management or keep my mouth closed?
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2014, 08:50:04 AM »
My vote: I'd retire gracefully and let it alone. :)

NeverWasACornflakeGirl

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Re: Alert management or keep my mouth closed?
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2014, 08:54:15 AM »
My vote: I'd retire gracefully and let it alone. :)


Thanks for your reply.  As I was typing it out the idea seemed worse and worse.  ;-)

mbl

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Re: Alert management or keep my mouth closed?
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2014, 08:57:05 AM »
What makes you think that anything you say will make a difference?
There might be things going on that you're not aware of.
Your co-workers need to advocate themselves.   It's not up to you to decide how things should go there.
I would suggest that you leave the job and resist the urge to get into these issues.  You could end up causing more problems.

Rural

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Re: Alert management or keep my mouth closed?
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2014, 08:58:22 AM »
From your description, I think the problem is not with the manager, anyway. He's overworked, trying to wear three hats. That's a problem somewhere much further up the food chain, so your taking the problem further up the food chain won't help the problem. All that it might do is get a decent guy fired for trying to do the three jobs he's been given. And hurt you, of course.

Villanelle

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Re: Alert management or keep my mouth closed?
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2014, 09:01:02 AM »
You already brought up some issues and were blown off.  There's little reason to think another attempt will be better received and in fact it's likely to be less well received than the first time. 

Countdown to May and enjoy your retirement and your boss' recommendation. 

NeverWasACornflakeGirl

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Re: Alert management or keep my mouth closed?
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2014, 09:01:40 AM »
From your description, I think the problem is not with the manager, anyway. He's overworked, trying to wear three hats. That's a problem somewhere much further up the food chain, so your taking the problem further up the food chain won't help the problem. All that it might do is get a decent guy fired for trying to do the three jobs he's been given. And hurt you, of course.

You're right, of course.  Thanks for giving me some perspective!

CNM

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Re: Alert management or keep my mouth closed?
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2014, 09:04:42 AM »
I would probably just leave it alone, too.  BUT I was going to say that Ask A Manager (askamanager.org) is a great resource for management and workplace advice.  Maybe shoot her an email with your dilemma!

NeverWasACornflakeGirl

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Re: Alert management or keep my mouth closed?
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2014, 09:06:08 AM »
I would probably just leave it alone, too.  BUT I was going to say that Ask A Manager (askamanager.org) is a great resource for management and workplace advice.  Maybe shoot her an email with your dilemma!

Thanks!!

impaire

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Re: Alert management or keep my mouth closed?
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2014, 09:21:58 AM »
I may give an extremely edited version of what you wrote here as part of my reason for leaving, something along the lines of "I feel like our team is at a transitional point, where we have grown but not quite yet figured out the best structures to address our new size are. It makes sense for me to leave now, when you can take my leaving into account and perhaps replace me with a team lead or someone who you think would better benefit our new organization."

Why?
Helpful for your boss--might give him ammo to negotiate team leads or something with management;
Helpful for your colleagues, for obvious reason;
Preserves you as a "colleague" of sort, even in retirement, which may be useful later.

Honestly I think careful honesty is often the best policy, and this is a situation which sounds like it could be turned into a win-win. So why not try?

(Now, I would really prepare myself for follow-up questions, and to be still very positive and constructive with them).

arebelspy

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Re: Alert management or keep my mouth closed?
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2014, 10:14:21 AM »
I wouldn't bring it up yourself, only if you do an "Exit Interview" and they bring it up, you can sort of cautiously and kindly mention some of the issues.
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Frankies Girl

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Re: Alert management or keep my mouth closed?
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2014, 10:20:54 AM »
Honestly, I probably wouldn't say anything if I was leaving, but I don't understand why the smell of alcohol and other red flags haven't already been brought to the attention of your HR department. If I was staying, I'd be documenting these instances and asking for a meeting with them to discuss the concerns. Sounds like your company is pulling an ostrich routine and trying to ignore some serious issues, but it's costing them in employee productivity and morale to ignore this sort of thing.

If the manager in question is so overworked that he's sunk into drinking and depression, that's also really sad that no one has spoken directly to him to see if they can get him the help he needs.

SwordGuy

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Re: Alert management or keep my mouth closed?
« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2014, 10:28:05 AM »
Only in fairy tales is the little boy who cried "The Emperor has no clothes!" a hero.

Weyfarere

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Re: Alert management or keep my mouth closed?
« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2014, 08:32:57 PM »
If coming to work drunk is against company policy, HR/management probably would love to know about the guy who smells like alcohol.

What if a customer/client/senior executive came in and noticed him?

SnackDog

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Re: Alert management or keep my mouth closed?
« Reply #14 on: April 11, 2014, 11:33:01 PM »
Sounds a bit like sour grapes to me. You mention he criticized your performance and indicated colleagues did not like you. What's up with that?

olivia

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Re: Alert management or keep my mouth closed?
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2014, 08:35:43 AM »
Nope, I'd keep it to yourself unless you have an exit interview.  I recently left a job and had an exit interview and kept my comments very general.  However, I told my interviewer that the office was understaffed and underpaid in comparison to other equivalent offices in the area.  Didn't burn any bridges and hopefully it will help out my former coworkers down the line. 

ritchie70

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Re: Alert management or keep my mouth closed?
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2014, 10:00:15 AM »
I think he needs help.  He needs at least one team lead if not more for the number of people he supervises.  He said this was not an option.

I just want to comment on this little fragment. If it's "not an option" because he doesn't want one, that's one thing.

If it's "not an option" because there's no budget, it's been my experience that "team lead" is usually the most organized/managerially oriented existing team member, whose "individual contributor" role gets decreased about 15% so they can take on about 30% more work in the management arena. With no additional pay. Over the long term they might get a better raise now and then than the team members, but that's about it.

Source - I was a "team lead" for three different software development teams at two different companies.

NeverWasACornflakeGirl

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Re: Alert management or keep my mouth closed?
« Reply #17 on: April 15, 2014, 04:31:18 AM »
Sounds a bit like sour grapes to me. You mention he criticized your performance and indicated colleagues did not like you. What's up with that?

That is always a possibility, which is why I was looking for outside perspectives.  It can be difficult to know your own motives sometimes.