At work, we have a manager with no prior managerial experience, at least none in the tech world which any of us would consider reasonable. He doesn't even have a manager title, but we're assigned to him as subordinates. He attempts to micromanage people, butts in to our personal lives in a way that's considered excessive and has even revoked another employee's disability accommodation, which the employee paid for himself, because the manager has "trust issues."

Long story short, he's an individual contributor with no prior managerial experience who wanted to become a manager and the company let him. We were performing well and enjoying our work, then he shows up and feels the need to engage in very petty, passive-aggressive micromanagement that considerably reduces our performance as he's constantly interrupting our work.

This has been going on for months. Many of us work flexible hours, but he revoked flexible hours from some people he didn't like. The disabled employee is taking the brunt of the problems after reporting to HR, but I've started updating my resume just in case.

How do you deal with this? I've only been at this job for 4 months, but it's starting to look really bad. What's more, I'm afraid of it affecting my resume if I leave. Same issue with another employee who has only been here a few months.

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    They may figure it out and fire him of move him. Revoked a employee's disability accommodation could be against the law. You can file with the ADA. Not sure if they will keep it confidential. – paparazzo May 30 '18 at 15:53
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    You haven't told us what you have already tried, try to talk with him one to one ? Tried to escalate the issue to upper management ? – Maxime May 30 '18 at 16:07
  • @Maxime The person who complained (disabled employee) is taking the brunt of the punishment for standing up for himself by going to HR over this. This has been edited. Thanks. – Fortress May 30 '18 at 16:17
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    Does taking the brunt mean that the abuse by this manager is worse or that HR said to "suck it up" and "get over it"? Wheels turn slow in management, but if the HR person is competent eventually upper management will get involved. – Phil M May 30 '18 at 16:23
  • Hey there @Fortress and welcome to The Workplace :) I must tell you that "Should I" questions are off topic here (more info on how to ask), as they are asking advice on a specific choice. Perhaps you can rephrase your question so it is on-topic and we can reopen this post? – DarkCygnus May 30 '18 at 20:02

Stay, or move on?

Short answer: Move on.

Someone who does this "to engage in very petty, passive-aggressive micromanagement" normally does not change. The fact he is targeting a disabled person speaks loudly to his character.

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    Unless too many people complain about him. Then he might get fired. – Val May 30 '18 at 19:48
  • @Val Maybe, maybe not – Neo May 30 '18 at 22:35
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    @Val I've seen this happen, they will not fire him because it would reflect badly on whoever hired him. – solarflare May 30 '18 at 23:24
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    The place I worked at, had such a manager a few years before I arrived. One day a whole department (about 20 people) handed in their resignation at the same time, because of him. The manager was promptly fired, and the 20 people stayed. Of course, this is risky. And everyone must cooperate, because if only a few do it, then nobody will care. – Val May 31 '18 at 4:02

I had a manager like this a long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away). In my case it was not a rookie manager but one who had been bumped down from a senior manager level to team lead during a reorganization. He was determined to get back to his old level even if it meant micromanaging his new team. There were almost blows thrown during team meeting over the way he treated his team.

Several people did leave. Sad because we were a high-performing team with very experienced developers.

For most things, going to HR is not advised. For violations of ADA yes go to HR. They will want to cover their (the companies) tushes. Giving different benefits (ie. flex time) to different people might be a reason to go to HR if there is a defined policy not being fairly applied. If not, going to HR could result in everyone losing their benefit.

In my case, several experienced developers leaving did cause major issues with a critical project. The new, inexperienced developers brought in were overwhelmed and were not able to meet the published deadlines. As I had meetings twice a week with the project manager (who was in a different group), I pointed out the risk to a multi-million dollar project (that had regulatory implications) with inexperienced staff and that the some experienced staff had left because of the manager. This was listed when the project went RED. Senior management of the PM group brought the risk to my senior management (who I couldn't talk to directly) and Mr micro was walked out the door.

So best advice - find someone on another team that can see the problem and escalate.

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I would start documenting all the times your manager's micromanaging has an impact on the amount of work you can get done in a day. If it appears that he is repeatedly disrupting you for petty things, report it to his boss. This starts a "trail" that proves your manager is interrupting you and can keep you out of trouble if he decides to spin it as your fault.

The thing that worries me is the fact that your manager is attacking a disabled person and butting into your personal lives. This is extremely disturbing and I would attempt to stop associating myself with this person immediately.

Telling you exactly what to do is hard, as you have only been at that job for 4 months. If there is no resolution of the issue with upper management, I would suggest leaving as you have not been at the job for a long time.

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  • Looks like the disabled employee was put on a PIP and presented with almost a dozen infractions which we all know to be completely untrue and twisted around. Welp, time to leave. – Fortress May 31 '18 at 14:20
  • @Fortress Based on that information, yes. Get out ASAP. – TheRealLester May 31 '18 at 14:32

Right now, the effect of this manager is internal only within your department. Its very unlikely that management will know about the issues you are having because it really has been too short of a period of time.

Just rolling over and taking the abuse is similar to sexual harassment/abuse... if nobody reports it the offender continues to affect others.

Schedule a meeting with HR because someone in your group needs to step up (you can, but the stronger case is the disabled individual). The grievances should be written out in advance — but make sure that the issues are back up with facts. This would just be a personal meeting between you and HR, not involving the manager at this time.

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  • I updated the question because one employee already went to HR and it's not going good for him. – Fortress May 30 '18 at 16:18
  • This is risky advise, as MGMT chose this person to lead the team. – Neo May 30 '18 at 16:30
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    HR is not your friend. The only time to go to HR is to resolve a dispute with the company that could have legal repercussions for them. The disabled coworker that is having issues with this manager MAY have a legitimate complaint for HR if the new manager has violated ADA regulations, but micromanagement and revision of policy are not problems HR will be likely to solve for you. – GOATNine May 30 '18 at 16:49
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    @GOATNine Of course HR is looking out for the best interests of the company, not for the employee (that is there job). However, I find that many times employee needs and company needs align. In many companies HR also have the added responsibility of arbitration and settling disputes... and this falls into that category. If there is another team at the company that does this, go to them instead. – Phil M May 30 '18 at 18:05

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