Manage a jealous line manager

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Manage a jealous line manager

Postby Ralf K. » Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:35 am

Dear forum,

My current Line Manager was informed that I would like to transition to another department. I did it myself, because it is a process inside the organization that requires this. Unfortunately he did not like it.

Eventhough we had actually a good relationship on the personal side and he said he understand my commuting and iterests - he has serious "cover-his-ass" problems and will be the worst top-down manager when it comes to a risk for this career. Thats why he is affraid to lose me (which is a good sign).

It can very well be that I will not be the one choosen for the other position, but the cat is out that I had an internal interview. The collaboration is very different since then. He wants me to ask him if I am allowed now to do home office, he wants me to ask for everything and blocks off my ideas.

Question A) How can I handle such a line manager?

Question B) If the situation aggravates I can see only: either apply externally or need to have a discussion with HR, that I can't work with my LM anymore. Any experience with this one?

Thank you for your recommendations
Ralf K.
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Re: Manage a jealous line manager

Postby Dave Jensen » Thu Mar 22, 2018 9:52 am

Thanks for posting this one Ralf. This is a bit of a tough one, because there are a zillion kinds of bad bosses out there, and yours is exhibiting signs that it could be tough to work in his department in the future.

Today, job loyalty isn't so much a "rah rah" company loyalty -- it's moved to more of a situational loyalty, where it's the line manager, the boss who is very much the person who is expecting the loyalty. I guess that with this kind of manager, it might have been better to have let him know beforehand that you wanted to apply to this other internal job. And just because you'd like to spice up your career with varied experiences, and certainly not because you are disloyal in any way. Now, finding out about it from others in the company, he may be "showing you who's boss" and blocking you from internal progress. If it doesn't go away soon, and your relationship doesn't get back to normal, you may indeed have to ask HR for an internal transfer or start job seeking externally. The only other way to approach this is to ask for a talk about the matter. Take it from the background and put it right up front and talk to him about it. It was NOT an attempt to be disloyal to him -- it was just your need for new experiences.

“There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.”- Alain de Botton
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Re: Manage a jealous line manager

Postby D.X. » Thu Mar 22, 2018 2:33 pm

Hi Ralf,

Sorry to hear of the situation. Probably the line manager is not jealous but fearful that they may lose a head count at a critical juncture in thier career or goals acheivement. Unfortunately if not saavy or well experienced some line managers cant see the win win in developing a report to another team - such moves can be planned.

Taking a back step, your approach may not have been the right approach. Having an internal interview without your boss informed and supportive, be it official or unofficial, with or without HR involvement , is just not good practice, thats not how you do an internal move.

The correct practice is to get your line manager on board first! Have thier support and then and onky then proceed to consider other internal roles with open communications with your boss. To be blind sided is well not a good thing, take it from a line managers point of view.

In a situation like yours its best you sit down with your boss and have a reboot conversation. Trust will be an issue you need to address. Dont apologize but you can cop it to mis-comunication or unaware of the process etc. and remedy from there. Read what Dave said.

You can go to HR as Dave suggests and as for an internal transfer however in my indirect experiences i have not see this result in favorable outcomes - you may get it but you will have an uphill battle to re-establish your political credibility and standing. You could be viewed as tainted goods. Thats the risk. And development will be a long grueling process should you have career advancement ambitions. You could get placed into the role you wantbat the risk you have someone working against you.

Yes your boss is unfortunately entering the micromanage phase do to fear of objectives not being acheived and may some form of punishment. Sit down with them and try to suss it out otherwise you'll find your self stuck really fast. And if the HR thing doesnt work out then well you're super stuck.

To Daves point, today its not about company loyalty, and somewhat about more loyalty to boss and team until its not anymore. I guess what im saying is that today its about being entrepreneral in your career. Get what you need experiene and development wise, when the cheese has changed to a sour taste or there is no more as you call it, then move on. All this the backdrop of doing a good job and ensuring you are giving value to the organizations you work for. So an external move may be in you interest if you no longe pr find a win win with your employment situation.

You have another choice - do your job, shut up collect the paycheck and go home. Thats a short term remedy as acstop gap for you save up the energy to plot you next step the event you need some energy recovery time.

Good luck and hope you can work it out, take your learnings and keep going.


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Re: Manage a jealous line manager

Postby Dave Jensen » Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:42 pm

Excellent advice from DX

I should have caught this myself, but I think I agree with DX that the "going to HR" approach may be a mistake, or at least the "nuclear approach" if all else is not working. That's because, as DX correctly surmises, this is going to taint you in the organization. It's far better to dig in, talk about it with the boss, and come out six months later with everything back to normal.

Keep us in touch with how it goes.

“There is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.”- Alain de Botton
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