7

At my work, I'm working in a department (of four people) in which the floor manager resigned. I would become the new floor manager, but my boss chose someone a week ago who isn't familiar in this department (let's call him Bob). Because I have the most experience in this department I'm responsible to train Bob. I've asked my boss for a raise because of this, but my boss rejected it. There are some problems with this as Bob is giving me tedious tasks, he doesn't listen to my advice (which made him make a few mistakes) and he doesn't consult me about things we should agree upon together, e.g. my days off.

What's the best approach of dealing with this situation?

  • Find a new job
  • Wait until Bob fails and than show my boss that I already knew this was coming
  • Tell Bob how I feel (I'm afraid this will cause conflict and I expect this not to work)
  • Tell my boss what's going on. The department needs me right now as I'm the most experienced, shall i take advantage of this telling my boss I'm not accepting how I'm getting treated?

Or are there other options I didn't take into consideration and what consequences will these choices have?

  • I'm working for him for 1 week. I work here for 3 years, he about 6 years but in a different department – Jelle Mar 17 at 17:16
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The best option is to do your job well - which is doing what Bob says and helping where able. Be ‘a company man’, respect the hierarchy and the written rules. The days off is the only thing that stands out to me as possibly worthy of bringing up, depending on the written policy.

This is a job, in which a company pays you to do a job, a job they define. If the redefinition of your job is not to your taste, you can negotiate (you tried) or you can leave. There is no third option where you stamp your feet and expect a positive result (your forth bullet). Do the job (as it has been redefined) well or leave. You can bring up policy violations but that’s it.

Ultimately, two scenarios are possible: Bob fails and is fired or Bob doesn’t get fired. In the first case, your behavior will be evaluated for management potential, and no one wants to hire someone who questions authority (it’s self serving for the manager) or has a bad attitude. In the second case, you have to work with Bob, so a confrontational relationship will make you unhappy. You may want to find a new job, and a good relationship with your company can only help that.

  • It's important to note the OP is under no obligation to stop Bob from failing (except as instructed). It won't build good rapport between him and Bob, but if Bob really does avoid his advice, etc, just let him twist in the wind. – Malisbad Mar 24 at 4:29
  • @Malisbad "the OP is under no obligation to stop Bob from failing " that's not true! He wrote, "I'm responsible to train Bob", so if Bob fails he reflects bad on him, plus it hurts the company (sets back initiatives, wastes resources, and potentially hurts Bob's prospects.) I'd argue the opposite: he has a moral obligation to help Bob success--that would be best for Bob, best for the company and ultimate it should reflect the best on the OP and his future rewards and prospects. One of the OP's primary roles is to support his manager. Training Bob is what his manager wants. – Max Hodges Mar 24 at 15:47
  • @MaxHodges I think you and I disagree on this. They're instructed to train Bob. So you train him. If Bob doesn't listen to OP, ignores their advice, or otherwise doesn't consult them about things he should, that's Bob's choice. The manager decides what is/isn't a waste of resources, what initiatives matter, etc. OP's obligations only extend to their normal duties (* as assigned) and the instructions to train Bob. They're under no obligation to cover for Bob's mistakes through insubordination, even if it ultimately works out for the better. – Malisbad Mar 25 at 7:03
  • @Malisbad yep, we disagree. What do you think training means? It's about instilling a way of thinking, a sense of relative priority, an appreciation for what's at stake, and what can go wrong. Would you feel the same if the stakes were higher? What if the OP is a surgical doctor training Bob to perform an operation on your wife? Or what if Bob is a trainee pharmacist who is going to dispense powerful drugs to your family? Would you want whoever is training Bob to really take OWNERSHIP of their responsibility, or are half-ass efforts and failure still acceptable when you have skin in the game? – Max Hodges Mar 26 at 3:54
  • @MaxHodges This is why people generally don't train their direct supervisors, and why many corporations outsource training. It creates a situation where the person with authority might have to be reprimanded by the person without. This is why doctors aren't trained by residents, why pharmacists aren't trained by techs. In cases where they are (pharm tech to parmacist on say, the till), the supervisor's supervisor is monitored closely. OP can submit a training report if they want, that's just documentation. They don't have to cover for them, lawful or ethical situations aside, obviously. – Malisbad Mar 26 at 5:44
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I'd think that Bob is probably giving you busywork and ignoring your advice because sees you as a bit of a threat. Seeing as you're contemplating setting him up to fail and/or going over his head to his manager, he's not entirely wrong, is he?

Also, if he's got the confidence of management and you've not, you'd be fighting a losing battle to overturn their decision.

As such, you can probably make life a lot easier for him by making the occasional show of public acceptance that he's now the boss, and saving his bacon whenever he screws up. If he does fail in the job, you sure as hell don't want it to be through lack of support from you, or you're going to find yourself passed over yet again.

On the other hand, if you want a new job, go for it. There may be someone out there who would value your services as a manager, and with a bit of luck the people there who've been passed over won't resent your arrival either.

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I can hear your frustrating with these management decisions, but I hope you can avoid letting those feeling interfere with your ability to do what's best for the organization.

Wait until Bob fails and than [sic] show my boss that I already knew this was coming

Firstly: Do what's best for the organization, not for yourself. If you don't want to be there anymore, then leave. But if you're going to stay then your most important job is to support your immediate supervisor. She choose Bob for this role and if it's your job to training him, support your boss by training Bob as best you can.

Bob was promoted; it's not his fault you were passed over. So under no circumstances should you treat him like an enemy. The idea that you should wait until Bob fails and then your boss will recognize that you were right all along is unlikely to work out for several reasons. As a Floor Manager, Bob represents your reputation to others in the organization, and his opinion of you is likely to have a strong influence on how others come to view you and your abilities. So if you're hoping he fails and you start acting in ways so that he fails, there is going to be blowback. That kind of attitude will only make you look like an uncooperative, insubordinate, self-serving troublemaker. This course of action would be unfair to Bob and it would be the wrong thing to do to the organization. Even if it works and you get promoted for bad behavior, you have a moral obligation to not act this way.

Since you feel you should have been promoted instead, it should be interesting and worthwhile to find out why you weren't. Did you ask your boss why she didn't make you the floor manager? Could you be unaware of some behaviors and communication style issues which are holding you back? Or maybe Bob just has more experience and a positive track record as a manager? Wouldn't it be helpful to know these things? Book some time with your boss and tell her that you'd like to better understand the decision and it would very helpful to you if she could explain what attributes she's looking for in a floor manager, how you measure up, and what you could do to improve.

I'm responsible to train Bob...he doesn't listen to my advice (which made him make a few mistakes) and he doesn't consult me about things we should agree upon together

Don't blame Bob. Blame yourself. I know this sounds extreme, but if it's your job to train Bob, then you need to take ownership of his training. So instead of blaming him for "not listening", blame yourself for not being heard. If someone isn’t doing what you want or need them to do, look in the mirror first and determine what you can do to better enable this.

This is a new role for Bob so--of course--he has a learning curve. You need to do a better job helping him get over it. If he makes a mistake don't blame him, instead ask yourself: am I articulate and compelling enough in how I'm training him? What context have I failed to communicate?

Could I do a better job linking work to company/functional goals?

Could I make the relative priority of things more clear?

  • how important/how time-sensitive
  • what's critical and needs to happen now
  • what's nice to have (when you can get to it)

Am I communicating the appropriate level of refinement?

  • No errors (credit cards handling, etc...), or...
  • Pretty good/can correct errors (website copy), or...
  • Rough (experimental)

Have I identified key stakeholders? Can I define key metrics and define success?

Do an amazing job helping Bob onboard into his new role and he's likely to do what we can to help you. Hopefully, your actions will be praised and you'll be rewarded. But even if you aren't, at least you did the right thing instead of trying to get ahead by sabotage and ethically dubious behavior.

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It seems like you wanted this position so not sure you let them know. Anyway, they didn't chose you and now they want you to train your new boss. Probably they thought you didn't have the soft skills or maybe you are more valuable on your current role due technical experience.

Now, depending on your aspirations you might want to make it clear because if you want to be floor manager, and you were already experienced, it seems like they don't see you in such position. Then you might justo want yo look at other companies.

OTOH, if you feel underpaid given your experienced and they don't want to increase your salary you might just want to look at other companies as well.

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