How much impact does a boss have over an employee’s happiness and career? What is your experience?
posted by anonymous to work & money (16 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Started a new job about 1.5 months ago. The culture is play hard, work hard, the management team seems to be on top of everything, and my coworkers all seem decent and likable. The problem? My new boss, let’s call him Bob.
I can tell we're going to have some issues and while I can learn to manage my boss better, I am not sure if I'm committed to invest so much. I think his bosses realize some of issues (listed below) but may not care due to 1) high volume of work he produces (although not all successful), 2) his expertise due to being in the same team for 6+ years, 3) there will be an inevitable HUGE org change at the end of the year due to external factors.
Summary and questions at the bottom
Bob and I are on a team where we make decisions about the products – what to build, what to fix, long term strategies, short term tactics, etc. If we make the wrong decision, it’ll result in a lot of wasted time and resources as well as pissed off customers. This is in the web service industry. Below are the issues I have with him:
1. Doesn't listen to people, including his people, his peers, or people above him.
Example 1: After I presented to him about 3 ideas for a project, his only feedback was pretty much dismissing everything I presented and said, "so do you agree with MY concept for this?" If he paid attention, he would have realized one of the ideas I had was directly in support of his concept (which I stated earlier in the meeting).
Example 2: I noticed the same thing happened in other meetings with his peers or upper management. Everyone has been mentioning their (mostly the same) concerns to me about a project but I noticed Bob would just dismiss them and keep moving forward despite their very valid concerns. He doesn't seem to care or want their feedback, unless someone goes and hammer it in to him. My impression is that most people just gave up after working with him for so long and only a select few really challenge him, which I think he respects.
2. Makes people feel stupid (unintentionally) and puts them on the spot to justified their actions or thoughts to him.
Example – I sit right next to him so I hear a lot of his conversations and it’s things like, "Why didn’t you add this on there?... It didn’t occur to you? You’re kidding, right? That’s so obvious we need to put this here." For the first month or so, I really struggled with this until I realized he does this to everyone.
3. Is a micromanager.
He is more concerned with how I do something rather than on letting me know what the goals of the projects are, what are the visions, how does this tie with other projects, what failed in the past, who I work with, etc. If he does mention something, it's very superficial compared to the "how to create this spreadsheet."
Example 1 - He told me to create a document, made me redo it 2x (no impact to final results, btw), pass it off to another team, the other team started working on it... only for me to realize we were going in the wrong direction. This is like creating the dashboard of a car, only to realize you're supposed to be building a motorcycle.
He also does this to other teams as well. He'll write documents with one level above doing the actual coding for the programmers (Bob and I are on the business side). Same with another team. Again, if we were eating at a restaurant, he'll tell them when/where to get the tomatoes, when to boil the water, and how much of each spice the chief should put in the dish.
4. All his direct reports have problems with him.
A few years ago, someone quit after a few months of working for him because that individual couldn’t stand his style.
Another coworker, Jess, told me Bob used to check in every 5 minutes or so, asking questions, 'why haven't you replied back to my email I sent 5 minutes ago? What's the status of project X? Are you even working?' Every 5 to 30 minutes. Bob even jokingly suggested Jess was not really working (Bob did this to me at about 2 or 3 weeks in). Jess and Bob still have moments where I can tell they have frictions.
5. Great individual contributor but a LOUSY manager / team player
He works very fast – thinks of an idea, quickly gets data for it, writes up the documents, and pass it to our technology folks. He expects the same of his direct reports but I have already told him that even though he’s been working here for over 6 years, I just started. I don’t even know how to get IT to come and fix my computer yet. He gets it - for about 15 minutes and then goes back to why am I so slow.
Another time, our team traveled out to support our internal partners on a project and worked about 3-5 hours overtime each day. At the end of the project, we left office halfway through the day (as planned) in order to get back to our city before 5pm and Bob made a side comment that next time, we shouldn't be leaving so early because "it doesn't look good."
Boss is a micromanager, doesn't listen to other people, cares more about how someone does their job rather than if their work is supporting the goals of the project, dismisses people's concerns, jokes to his people that they're not working if he doesn't seen immediate results, has a way of making people feel stupid (unintentionally), and seems to care about how his team looks to other people rather than making his people feel good. He's also relatively young (although older than me) and is looking to move up.
So my questions are:
1 - Can a person have a successful career with a micro-manager (such as get recognized for their work, get raises or promotions)? Is it also possible to be stress-free and happy during that time? What are some of your experiences?
2 - In your experience, is it possible to work around your manager and/or be the liaison for other team to manage your boss better?
3 - If not and I start my job search again, how should I tackle this current position with new prospective employers? What should I put in my resume, especially after being here only 1.5 months? What should I say if asked about this?
Thanks in advance.