I am a first-time manager at a small company.

I was happy to receive the promotion, as I've worked in/around leadership positions in prior jobs and really wanted to progress to this type of role.

However, my position at this company is awful. I have no authority to fire, no authority to hire and while I can reprimand, I can't back it up with much of anything. This is a huge problem in the case of one of my employees, who is resentful and competitive towards me. He has serious work quality problems (his work has to be double-checked to the point where it's a waste of mine and everyone else's time), and openly disrespects me with a colleague of mine. He sneaks around and does favors for this particular colleague, and I strongly suspect it's solely to subvert my authority. In addition, he has expressed personal views so offensive that I am worried about my own career being ruined for even being associated with him. I have written explicit messages to the company's management about his ethics/behavior, and I have actively refused to sign on off any type of endorsement for him as an employee. The response has been a shoulder shrug or silence.

This is further complicated by the fact that my boss is a micromanager. Even when things are flowing well, he feels the need to swoop in and directly tell my employees what to do, or what could go wrong, etc. This is especially a problem with the above employee, because it becomes a situation where his attitude is, "Why would I listen to you?" because my boss is reaching out to him directly. My boss has acted resentful of my promotion which I suspect is an underlying motivation for this behavior. The CEO behaves almost the exact same way. Yet when I ask both of them about it, they agree they shouldn't micromanage my reports, that I'm doing a great job and then they stop...for a short time.

The end result is a circus. I am constantly trying to run around and get everyone else above and below me to do what they're supposed to do. I am constantly trying to cross reference everything with my boss and the CEO to get them to just stop handing things to my employees so my team can produce a finished project instead of being bogged down with 75 unfinished tasks.

I am reading everything I can on leadership (they aren't investing money in any type of training for me), but I am burning out and don't know what to do.

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    I feel for your situation. However, your post lacks an actual goal (or even a question) that we can help you with. Most of your post seems like a rant to me. Would you mind editing that part out, and leaving the relevant details, while including the goal or questions you would like us to help you with? Remember than just saying "What can I do" is too broad, so please narrow it down (help us help you) – DarkCygnus Nov 30 '17 at 18:53
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    And while you're getting a more answerable question together, go bookmark www.askamanager.org, and then start reading it. – thursdaysgeek Nov 30 '17 at 18:55
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    The answer is to simply start looking - all the signs are there... – JonH Nov 30 '17 at 18:57
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    @JohnDoe Please stop vandalizing your post. If you wish to delete the question or have it disassociated from your account, flag it for moderator attention. – David K Nov 30 '17 at 19:49
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    @JohnDoe Additionally, thursdaysgeek was not being condescending, they are just trying to be helpful. There is no reason for any of us to assume you are aware of the site. Please assume positive intent when you come here asking our community for help. – David K Nov 30 '17 at 19:51

Time to move on

You have taken all the reasonable steps you can. You have presented your case to upper management, and you still cannot take action against an individual who clearly is not going anywhere for whatever reason. Working for a boss who micro manages sucks.

With this in mind I can offer you two choices. Continue to take the abuse for some time in the hopes upper management will come to its senses or leave. I would recommend moving on.

When you apply for other positions, ask the appropriate questions to make sure you don't find yourself in another toothless management position.

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    You're right. My head has been down in this mess for so long I've lost sight of the big picture. Thank you. – user80312 Nov 30 '17 at 20:05

The main thing you get as a new supervisor in a situation like this is supervisory experience to put on your resume. Try to stick it out for a year just for that reason. In the meantime, make note of all the things you will do differently when you have a management position where they actually let you manage. Use this as a learning experience even if it isn't the learning experience you originally intended.

Next, document in detail all the problems with the employee who is not performing. Not just one issue but all of them. As big a list as you can come up with. Then ask for a meeting with your boss and HR to discuss how to handle this employee. Press to put him on a Performance Improvement Plan. Without HR in the room, tell your boss that this situation is why you need to have the normal authority of a supervisor to handle performance problems. Phrase it as removing the burden of dealing with problem employees from him.

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