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At my current job that there is growing discontent amidst the employees and the management seems unaware of the extent of it. This includes some new hires, yet, no one complains to the management about their exhaustion and frustration, due to a lack of trust.

The workload is always extreme - literal chaos one day and everyone standing around yawning the next. One moment we seem to be overstaffed and the next we seem to be understaffed. Morale is very low.

The management seems to be partially aware of the low morale and they try to remediate it with planning fun company events, giving encouragement, friendly competitions, etc. But none of these things fix the root problems - poor communication, heavy-handedness, too few managers, and employee exhaustion.

We have just barely recovered from a large employee exodus, which thankfully was during a slow season. An exodus right now would make my job impossible and would set the company back considerably.

1. Should I talk with my own manager one-on-one about the things I've overheard and what others have confided in me about? Or would that be like tattle-tailing?

2. How can I tell the management that they need to expand their own ranks to make themselves more accessible to the rest of us without seeming to imply that they aren't doing a good enough job?

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    Most of my questions seem to get downvoted, but I'm never sure why... This is a legitimate workplace situation that needs advice and I haven't found a similar question on StackExchange, so what's wrong? – Tagger Nov 3 '17 at 10:56
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    From what I can tell at first glance (not a downvoter BTW), your question focuses more on telling the story of what is happening in your workplace than asking a direct question. Maybe you should try to focus more on your problem, or add a TL:DR at the top or bottom. – BgrWorker Nov 3 '17 at 11:27
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    I trimmed this down a bit to crystalize your points. Please review to see if I have inadvertently changed the intent. – Richard U Nov 3 '17 at 12:35
  • Thank you! I think you did what I was trying to do, but struggling to know what to remove. :) – Tagger Nov 4 '17 at 1:57
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You write:

Should I talk with my own manager one-on-one about the things I've overheard and what others have confided in me about? [...]

I like this. Now you do have to approach it with a modicum of tact and delicacy and without naming names. Maybe, "Hey boss, I need help. I think we've got some structural problems going on. Here's what it looks like from where I'm standing..."

Basically, make the point that you think there are some structural problems going on, and you want to get his perspective on them. Perhaps the two of you can work together to evolve an approach...

Update after comments...

The key here is to (a) lay out the problems clearly, and (b) enlist manager as an ally instead of accusing him. Best approach is to spend some time meditating on what you think are the largest issues, and come up with at least a sketchy approach for each. Bring these to manager. The phrase "I need your help" or equivalent is good here, because you want to rope him in as a colleague in this effort. Tell him you've noticed problems in the office and you need his help to evolve solutions. Explain what your thinking is so far, then, "What do you think?"

Note you are not saying "you're not doing your job", and you keep asking for his input. You want to pull him in to your fixit conspiracy.

  • I think you forgot to say that it is imperative to do it with a modicum of tact and delicacy. ;) – DarkCygnus Nov 3 '17 at 3:52
  • @DarkCygnus I'm trying to popularize a new word "delitactcy" which combines both concepts, but having trouble. I mean, making "fetch" happen wasn't this hard... ;D – akaioi Nov 3 '17 at 3:57
  • This is a very simple approach and make sense. Still, it's the matter of "delitactcy" in this situation which leaves me uncertain how to go about it. – Tagger Nov 3 '17 at 11:00
  • @Tagger I dropped in some more thoughts to see if I can clarify some... – akaioi Nov 3 '17 at 14:48
  • "Rope him in as a colleague..." Excellent point! I think this is exactly the approach I need to take - not talking to a superior so much as a fellow laborer. We are in the same industry, after all, even if we're at different levels. – Tagger Nov 4 '17 at 1:59
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Should I talk with my own manager one-on-one about the things I've overheard and what others have confided in me about? Or would that be like tattle-tailing?

If you do it correctly, without implying any coworker, it will not be tattle-tailing.

If you should or not depends on you and if you feel/know you have the trust to approach your direct manager that way. If you can do so, plus you wish to and can do it in a polite and careful way I suggest you go for it.

How can I tell the management that they need to expand their own ranks to make themselves more accessible to the rest of us without seeming to imply that they aren't doing a good enough job?

Whatever you say, say it as per your point of view, that is without mentioning other coworker's stories. This is also polite, as you are not saying that what you say is the absolute truth, and are open to discussion by doing it in an inclusive way ("Hey boss, my perception of ... is ... what do you think about it?").

It is important that you do this with care, as this could well backfire on you of not handled properly.

Interestingly, this time is one where HR could be your friend.1 You could try approaching your HR department with your concerns as positive feedback, in the same careful way you would do with your boss. If that fails or is not possible, then talking to your manager could be the other option you got here.

Bonus: it would not be a bad idea to update your Resume and be ready to jump if everything goes South.

1.(several folks here agree that this is not always true)

  • There is no true HR at this company, so it wouldn't be an option anyway... – Tagger Nov 3 '17 at 10:57
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    Yes there is, your boss is HR then ;) another reason to talk to him/her. Besides I presented other things in my answer than just "go to hr" – DarkCygnus Nov 3 '17 at 13:46
  • Sorry, I didn't mean to take away from your answer. Unfortunately, my boss is one of the people who have become inaccessible, so I have to go to someone higher up for HR. – Tagger Nov 4 '17 at 2:01

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