Author Topic: How do you manage your managers?  (Read 1166 times)

Bearblastbeats

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How do you manage your managers?
« on: March 02, 2020, 02:59:13 PM »
I started a new job in July of last year. I thought it would be a decent gig that paid me a decent wage and was just about 20 minutes from my house. Yes, I took a slight pay cut from a job an hour away to this job seeing as I was hoping to break even in a multitude of ways.

I thought this new job would be a little more low key since I was stepping down from a PM role to a estimator role, but I am find the environment to be a little less than Ideal. Sure, when I started out I had on rose colored glasses, I liked that I could wear t-shirts to work, I got along with my boss's, and even sometimes they would give me beers when I work ed after hours to get quotes out with them.

About 3 months after I started, the company hired a consultant to help manage their business. The business is 25 years old and has grown pretty rapidly where the 2 owners are in need of support from the consultant to trim the fat and get the company for the next level. The 2 bosses seem have a control issue and are having a hard time letting go in just about every aspect of the job. From fabrication in the shop, to estimating, to project management. They complain they work 7 days a week and never get to see their family, but they choose to work late nights sometimes until 10 to "get work out". I understand being a business owner you need to put in the time but I don't think its right to make everyone in the company feel bad if they leave at 5.

Unfortunately, my desk is positioned outside of both of their offices. Where I hear them bitch and moan and gossip about people in the company. I try not to let it affect me personally, but my main boss brings it up while we are reviewing projects. He'll go into detail on how no one takes accountability for their actions and how when the drafters constantly mess up and draw the wrong thing, that even though they get paid to redo the drawings, the two bosses have to pay for it. Or that, if the PM ordered the wrong material and we need to redo the entire project, everyone gets paid and gets to go home for the weekend, yet the two bosses have to pay for it and work longer hours and work weekends because no one else will. I get it, you chose that life when you wanted to start a business.

I guess my problem with this is the fact I sit outside of their offices and it's putting me in a bad mood. I don't want to look for a new job because I already changed my job 3 times this past year and that was exhausted. I feel bad for the 2 bosses because, I do try to be an exceptional employee and know when I am wrong and don;t make excuses, but I don't understand why they don't let go of the people who are constantly screwing up instead of just talking trash about them all the time.

seemsright

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Re: How do you manage your managers?
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2020, 04:04:49 PM »
How much FU money do you have?
 
Based on that number would change my answers. If you have a little FU money just ask for your desk to be moved.

If you have a lot of FU money and you want to help the bosses I would schedule a meeting and see if you can have a bigger role in helping them and tell them what you see because they are so deep they may not see what you do.

Bearblastbeats

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Re: How do you manage your managers?
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2020, 04:17:32 PM »
How much FU money do you have?
 
Based on that number would change my answers. If you have a little FU money just ask for your desk to be moved.

If you have a lot of FU money and you want to help the bosses I would schedule a meeting and see if you can have a bigger role in helping them and tell them what you see because they are so deep they may not see what you do.

I have zero FU bucks.

They know they need to change and the company continues to grow, I have offered my services outside of my role to help them along. We had a PM leave recently which has resulted in a lot of SHTF, I offered to assist in PMing and drafting due to my background but it has been ignored.

There isnt really any other place for me to sit since this is a small building. When ibstarted here they had to build my workstation.

I think itll die down a little when the dust settles from the PM leaving.

mm1970

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Re: How do you manage your managers?
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2020, 04:28:49 PM »
Noise. Canceling. Headphones.

Bearblastbeats

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Re: How do you manage your managers?
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2020, 04:35:30 PM »
Noise. Canceling. Headphones.

I have headphones, but it doesnt change the fact when I'm in one of their offices going over something and they go on a 10 minute tangent about how "the pm missed this change, and the drafter sent in the approvals, and the architect approved it, so we built the wrong thing and now I have to pay for everybody's mess up."

I let most of it slide but its getting old

seemsright

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Re: How do you manage your managers?
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2020, 05:19:04 PM »
Noise. Canceling. Headphones.

I have headphones, but it doesnt change the fact when I'm in one of their offices going over something and they go on a 10 minute tangent about how "the pm missed this change, and the drafter sent in the approvals, and the architect approved it, so we built the wrong thing and now I have to pay for everybody's mess up."

I let most of it slide but its getting old

Quit giving a damn!. If you cannot have your desk moved. Wear your headphones. Do your job. Clock in at your normal time and leave when you are scheduled to leave. Do not give them a second longer. Work on your plan to get as much FU money as you can. Moonlight if you have to. The more FU money you have the more power you will gain.

use2betrix

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Re: How do you manage your managers?
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2020, 07:56:22 PM »
I am an upper level manager for a fortune 20 Oil & Gas company and over several hundred million dollars worth of projects. In addition to site construction, I am also over all the vendor surveillance (i.e. I manage the inspectors that audit and perform regular inspections at shops that sound exactly like yours).

Iíll be forward that it sounds like your company does not have a Quality Control program in place, or take it seriously. Some of those issues are very easily avoidable. I hate to sound cliche, but many shops do not want to invest the money into qualified personnel and a quality program, and in turn they run into issues exactly like you are describing. Every single issue you have described below, I deal with on a very very frequent basis with the shops we audit. I frequently reject materials that donít meet our very straightforward requirements (wrong material grade, ASTM/ASME spec not referenced, etc.)

Itís amazing that I can review a shops engineered drawings, provide detailed comments, the drawing is revised and only half my comments were captured. Itís like giving someone a multiple choice test will all the answers, yet they still manage a 50%. I have sat in kickoff meetings with shops and made some of our specification requirements very clear, I captured it in meeting minutes, distributed after the meeting, yet they are still missed during fabrication, causing very costly rework. I sat in a meeting with a very large fabrication shop last fall and their schedule kept slipping so we were looking to pull over $1MM in work from them. I told them if they wanted to keep the work, then they need to agree to liquidated damages if they donít meet their schedule. That really got them to ďput their money where their mouth wasĒ in regards to their commitments. They agreed to the LDís and actually met every deadline after that. We have since given them close to a million dollars worth of more work since they were really able to step up.

Iíd be very interested to hear more about what advice your consultant is giving. The type of mistakes you are mentioning seem very easily avoidable.

Feel free to reach out to me via PM if youíd like to discuss more details. Iíd be interested to hear exactly what your company does, because if itís similar to the type I audit, I could be of more help.

lhamo

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Re: How do you manage your managers?
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2020, 08:17:22 PM »
Can you arrange your workflow so that you only go see them for very short sessions on very specific issues?  And every time you go in say something like "I've got 15 minutes before I am scheduled to call XYZ regarding issue ABC -- can we go over the changes to plan LMNOP quickly?"

Then if they start on a tangent have a stock phrase like "Hey, I hope that is something the consultant can help you address.  I've got to call XYZ back at [T+ x minutes left]--let's deal with these changes first and if we have time before my scheduled call you can fill me in on [annoying issue that is out of your control]."  They are hopefully going to be less likely to take offense/feel you are blowing them off if you are showing you are focused on legitimate work-related things that actually contribute to the bottom line.

Also, if you notice there is a particular pattern in the timing of when they want to fill your ears with their rants -- like maybe they always do it right before or after lunch, or when the employees in question are out for their lunch -- then you can do your best to fill your schedule up with calls or other meetings during those time periods so that you are too busy to be their sounding board.

Car Jack

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Re: How do you manage your managers?
« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2020, 08:12:06 AM »
The owners are micro managers and need to sell this business (maybe they realize this and its why consultants are looking at it).  It sounds like in addition to a complete lack in business processes, there's no quality control.  Likely, the owners are not really good at business and as this company grows, it's showing more and more. 

I have no advice for you.  My advice for the owners is to sell the business and go work for someone else.  They sound like really good workers.

Bearblastbeats

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Re: How do you manage your managers?
« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2020, 09:00:14 AM »
The owners are micro managers and need to sell this business (maybe they realize this and its why consultants are looking at it).  It sounds like in addition to a complete lack in business processes, there's no quality control.  Likely, the owners are not really good at business and as this company grows, it's showing more and more. 

I have no advice for you.  My advice for the owners is to sell the business and go work for someone else.  They sound like really good workers.



I've heard one of them mention that many times, where he's just that fed up. I guess I'll just keep my head down, put the headphones in, and continue to collect a paycheck.

Here4theGB

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Re: How do you manage your managers?
« Reply #10 on: March 03, 2020, 09:04:31 AM »
I am an upper level manager for a fortune 20 Oil & Gas company and over several hundred million dollars worth of projects. In addition to site construction, I am also over all the vendor surveillance (i.e. I manage the inspectors that audit and perform regular inspections at shops that sound exactly like yours).

Iíll be forward that it sounds like your company does not have a Quality Control program in place, or take it seriously. Some of those issues are very easily avoidable. I hate to sound cliche, but many shops do not want to invest the money into qualified personnel and a quality program, and in turn they run into issues exactly like you are describing. Every single issue you have described below, I deal with on a very very frequent basis with the shops we audit. I frequently reject materials that donít meet our very straightforward requirements (wrong material grade, ASTM/ASME spec not referenced, etc.)

Itís amazing that I can review a shops engineered drawings, provide detailed comments, the drawing is revised and only half my comments were captured. Itís like giving someone a multiple choice test will all the answers, yet they still manage a 50%. I have sat in kickoff meetings with shops and made some of our specification requirements very clear, I captured it in meeting minutes, distributed after the meeting, yet they are still missed during fabrication, causing very costly rework. I sat in a meeting with a very large fabrication shop last fall and their schedule kept slipping so we were looking to pull over $1MM in work from them. I told them if they wanted to keep the work, then they need to agree to liquidated damages if they donít meet their schedule. That really got them to ďput their money where their mouth wasĒ in regards to their commitments. They agreed to the LDís and actually met every deadline after that. We have since given them close to a million dollars worth of more work since they were really able to step up.

Iíd be very interested to hear more about what advice your consultant is giving. The type of mistakes you are mentioning seem very easily avoidable.

Feel free to reach out to me via PM if youíd like to discuss more details. Iíd be interested to hear exactly what your company does, because if itís similar to the type I audit, I could be of more help.
This.  I've worked for smaller shops like what OP describes before.  Owners are too cheap to hire the right people, to implement a QC program, and hire people at $15 an hour and expect them to have the knowledge of an engineer.  I gave up on it quick and went back to a mega.  I just can't deal with all that nonsense anymore.

dcheesi

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Re: How do you manage your managers?
« Reply #11 on: March 03, 2020, 09:32:09 AM »
It sounds like a classic case of small-business owners having trouble making the transition to "big" business as the company grows. As is often the case, they're having a hard time learning to delegate effectively.

I don't have any specific advice to give, but I know that this sort of thing happens fairly often in growing businesses, so I would expect there to be plenty of people out there offering their advice on the subject.

Of course, not being the owner or manager yourself, you might find it hard to make use of any good advice you might find. You can suggest things, but in the end only your bosses can decide if they're willing and able to make the changes necessary, both in the business and in their own approach to it.

Bearblastbeats

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Re: How do you manage your managers?
« Reply #12 on: March 05, 2020, 10:09:40 AM »
Life is funny/weird sometimes.

No sooner had I made this post, my inbox has been flooded with job offers in my area. I think it's too early for me to leave my current position and should sit tight for about another year or so.

It's hard to say that considering I was sought out by a big engineering firm who is in need of an off-site PM for a client in my area. The client is also a huge organization. Reviewing their data from glassdor, compensation is nearly 40k more than I make now, with every other Friday off to boot!

Is this a test from the powers at be?

Laura33

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Re: How do you manage your managers?
« Reply #13 on: March 05, 2020, 01:21:23 PM »
I have headphones, but it doesnt change the fact when I'm in one of their offices going over something and they go on a 10 minute tangent about how "the pm missed this change, and the drafter sent in the approvals, and the architect approved it, so we built the wrong thing and now I have to pay for everybody's mess up."

"That sounds really frustrating.  What can I do to help resolve the issue?"

"That sounds really frustrating.  I'm happy to [go talk to X/take over Y/work overtime on Z] if that will help."

"That sounds really frustrating.  What about [Consultant XYZ], did they have any suggestions?"

"You know, this seems to happen a lot.  I can see how frustrating that must be.  Have [Consultant XYZ] been able to offer any solutions?"

Basic two-part recipe:
Part A:  empathy.

Repeat as needed.
Part B:  shift conversation to possible solutions.