A manager who's a screamer

When faced with screaming criticism from a manager, employees still need to figure out if the criticisms themselves are valid.

Taken from a comment to an earlier post. - Bob

My boss instructed me not to go to others for assistance because she got in trouble with her boss when I do so. I told her that I never want anyone in trouble, I just needed helps so I can get my works done. She even told me not to tell anyone about our conversation. To respect her, I did not said it outloud. I then sent her an email instead, to confirm that I will set a case aside and wait for her response instead of go to look for other sources to complete my tasks in the future. She got angry and shout out like an uneducated fisherwomen at the flea market. Next thing I received a nasty email from her boss, stated that I many times misinterpreted my manager's order and went directly against her instruction. Her boss also stated in the email that I need to stop and no further discussion about this matter. My boss set up very well, and made it like I'm not a team player and finger point to my manager's favorite individual's mistakes. I joined the team almost a year, I witnessed many cases that she set up to made others either left the company or got terminated.

She and I never have any other conversation besides works related. First, I don't know how to kiss butt. Second, I'm not a gossiper. Third, I take pride in my works. Fouth, I have the deadline to meet, no time for me to fool around. Fifth, I never want anybody in trouble because I always put others before me and always have in mind that all of us need our jobs and feed our families.

Please advise me what to do. The reason that I'm still with the company as of today because I like to work for a non-profit organization and I feel good that I can contribute my times and efforts to serve my communities. Please help.

- Have a bad boss

Dear Join the Club ...

My first piece of advice is to sign up for a writing class ... perhaps at your local community college, or in a continuing education program at a local university. There are very few knowledge-worker jobs, if any, where the ability to write clearly and grammatically isn't important.

The impression you create through your writing is akin to the impression you make through your personal grooming and choice of apparel. The comment you posted creates the same impression as every-third-day bathing and clothing purchased at the Goodwill Store.

Next: I tried to see this through your manager's eyes, to see if there's an interpretation in which your manager isn't just a jerk. There is, but if it's accurate you have some soul-searching to do.

I've managed employees who, whenever they received an assignment, asked the best-qualified employee they knew to do most of the work on their behalf so as to get it done "as efficiently as possible." Problem was, they provided no value of their own -- one reason I gave them the assignments was so they could learn how to be productive members of the team.

And so I had to instruct them to not ask for help.

I'm concerned that this might describe your behavior because of your statement that you said, in writing, that from here on in if you receive an assignment you don't know how to handle, you'll set it aside until you get more instruction.

If you were my employee and said this I'd be pretty direct about your responsibility as an employee, which is to dig in and figure it out ... especially if I'd already had to coach you about not just passing along everything to others to handle in addition to their existing workload.

You need to take a long, hard look at your own performance to see if you're a serious part of the problem.

Even if all of this is true, none of it justifies your boss flying off the handle or instructing you to keep it all secret. That's unprofessional and very poor leadership.

Whether you're a strong performer, average, or marginal you've described a bad place to work.

Which means you should:

  • Make sure you're a highly desirable employee.
  • Make sure you make an impression on everyone around you that's commensurate with your status as a highly desirable employee.
  • Find a better place to work ... one that deserves an employee as desirable as you.

There are plenty of non-profits out there who need the help. Not all of them employ managers who scream like a fisherwoman when they become frustrated.

- Bob