September 6, 2013 7:22 PM Subscribe
Help me navigate an awkward meeting at work.
posted by young sister beacon to work & money (14 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I am having an issue at work I can't see clearly on and I'm looking for outside input. I'm trying to keep this kind of short, but I will answer any additional questions if something's not clear.
The problem: I have to have a meeting with my manager and another manager and I don't know how to deal with it.
At my job, I am on a team that works closely with another team. Both teams have their own managers. My manager is fine. The other team's manager is not. Thankfully, we don't have to report to her but my manager is gone a lot so wants us to kind of see her as a proxy manager. Except she's difficult to deal with. Most people on her team don't like her, some people have left (retired, new job) because of her. She does things that have not been popular (e.g. taking away flextime) and a lot of people on her team are demoralized. Despite this, my manager really wants us to cooperate with her (i.e. by going to all her meetings) and I am doing that.
My problem with her: She has come into my client meetings and done things that I think are counterproductive and make my job harder. I see how she is with her staff and I worry that she's going to start doing similar things with us. I think she's a micromanager and controlling*.
My own issues: I know I can be irritable. It's hard for me to not show my irritability and frustration over having to do things that I think are a waste of time but I know I need to work on it and I try. My manager pointed out to me when I went to one of the other manager's recent meetings**, I looked really irritated the whole time. He's probably right (I was very busy that week and had to go to a 90 minute meeting that she's having us go to that I don't think was relevant or necessary). Ever since then I have tried my best to not do that and to at least keep my face neutral when I'm frustrated. I probably need to learn how to control this and not get so irritable over things like this so any suggestions on how to do that would be helpful.
My manager has acknowledged that she is not the easiest person to work with but he really wants to clear the air so he is holding meetings with her and each of his direct reports separately (so our meeting would be me, him and her). I'd like some guidance on how to best deal with this meeting. I don't want to get into a back and forth finger pointing thing but I also don't really want a big heart to heart either because I honestly don't really trust her. I think the best approach would be to go in and answer any questions that I'm asked, stick to the facts and don't elaborate. Should I bring a notebook in and take notes? Do I try to defend myself if she says things I think are unfair (she has in the past) or focus on the the future and what we can all do to be successful?
My manager knows all of the above. We've had long talks about it in the past. He supports me and other than my irritability issue (which he says I've gotten better on), he is happy with my work. Thanks.
*It seems to be that she is trying to exert control over our team that she doesn't have and my manager is the only things that stands in her way. For example, when she first started, she tried to get us all be on on 9-5 hours. Right now we all stagger our hours so some of us come in earlier and leave earlier and that's never been a problem. My manager told her no, that things are fine the way they are and that we are exempt employees (he also thinks flex time is valuable and wants us to feel that if we need it, it is there).
**The other manager is having my team go to meetings that I feel are not a good use of our time (e.g. regular continuing professional development for things that I don't have certifications or even a base level of knowledge in). These are appropriate for her team (who have the certifications) and for our team she views it as training. CPD generally assumes a base level of knowledge, which I do not have in this case, and I therefore don't think these meetings are productive when we already have too much to do.