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Today I had an argument with my boss. We had some problems with our software. A configuration issue that was partly our fault, but also a problem with the support team that didn't deploy it correctly.

When I ask that team to check their servers and see what differences they can find, their boss says it's a problem with us. My boss tells me to look at the problem myself. I explain that I can't do it (I can't reproduce the issue with my setup) and she again tells me to deal with it. I say "what do you want me to do?" and she tells me not to talk to her in that tone. Then I hang up.

I was really mad at the moment, when she disavowed me in front of everyone in a call.

Then we have a call with her boss, he gives me the reason, but of course without some "stern talk".

This has been a pattern lately. My boss doesn't stand up for the team and tells us to "deal" with things outside our reach. She won't listen to me and will always take responsibility for things that have nothing to do with us. Earlier in the day another team member had an argument with her. I talked to this person and she told me she's tired of being told exactly what to write in every email she sends (this is another thing our boss does. she wants us to have the same email writing style).

Anyways. My boss is overworked. We're not the support team but she takes responsibility for support issues. Clients yell at her. She gets stressed. Her stress starts trickling down on us.

How can I deal with a person like this?

Edit: My boss also doesn't respect her own schedule. She decided we should have daily meetings, but the first day she canceled them. "She had a meeting with a client". She won't sey no to clients, ever. Not even "I have a meeting scheduled at this time, would you mind if we met 30 minutes later?" This is not only annoying but personally I see it as disrespect to her own team.

  • You can go up to her boss and tell him/her that you're getting concerned about her getting worked up and being unable to say no to clients. Sounds like she could delegate many of her tasks to support team for example. Why is she taking support issues in the first place? – Jenny Tengson Mandani Mar 27 at 3:42
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    @JennyTengsonMandani I did. Her boss knows how she is....it's her husband (let's not get into the conflict of interest thing). She's taking support issues because the support people won't treat clients the way she considers clients should be treated. She puts the weight of a 35k+ employee organization on her own shoulders, "because no one else will". She also expects me and the rest of the team to do the same. – hjf Mar 27 at 4:06
  • Sounds like she is legitimately asking for help yet can’t elocute properly how. Is the support team doing an objectively good job? I’m not sure yet but I am half suggesting that you get in touch with the support team and they have a word with her, then ask her how support should be done—it doesn’t necessarily mean that they need to heed her in that regard. Just so that you could have an excuse to lighten her workload. She definitely needs to learn how to let other people do their job. – Jenny Tengson Mandani Mar 27 at 4:51
  • What is your title? Are you a junior, senior, grad? – Gregory Currie Mar 27 at 7:06
  • @hjf so in other words, you can't go to your boss' boss cause it's her husband? That's some sweet setup they got going there. If you can't take this situation, then going to your boss' boss' boss (bypassing the husband due to conflict of interests) might also be an option before quitting. Managers come and go. If you go in as a team you might get results. – Xander Mar 27 at 8:42
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A configuration issue that was partly our fault, but also a problem with the support team that didn't deploy it correctly.

Problems like this are unavoidable. But when they occur, it is better to collaborate to resolve the issues rather than blaming each other.

When I ask that team to check their servers and see what differences they can find, their boss says it's a problem with us

The support team is not involved in the development of the software, is this correct? if yes, they are also kind of (super) user. "check their servers and see what differences" is too broad as an instruction, you are just telling them to investigate the problem themselves.

You need to be more concrete, e.g. which files, which ports, which environment variables to look at? If they refuse to answer such a concrete inquiry, that's when you need to tell your manager.

You developed that software, your manager and the support team are right to expect you to take ownership of that problem.

I explain that I can't do it (I can't reproduce the issue with my setup) and she again tells me to deal with it. I say "what do you want me to do?"

You can't reproduce the issue, and you can't access customer servers. But doesn't the software have debug flags that, when turned on, printing out, e.g. until when it worked normally, at which location the error occurred, and what kind of error: was it a segmentation fault, or connection failure and so on. If you haven't done that, I'm afraid the root cause of the problem is your technical skills and/or experience.

She won't listen to me and will always take responsibility for things that have nothing to do with us ... My boss is overworked. We're not the support team but she takes responsibility for support issues.

Really? You developed a software that was only tested in your machine, and whether it runs on customer's machine is other people's responsibility? With this attitude, I'm afraid you will have troubles wherever you go, not just at the current company.

While your manager does have problem with her management style, I don't think she overworked, nor she took the responsibilities that were not hers.

  • We are a team of 30 people. I'm no longer in the "core" team. But since I've worked there and often fix things when they break, they call me. I'm not allowed to enable any debug related information in production services. The "testing" part was decided by a higher manager: "we trust you have a high enough seniority level so you don't need a dedicated tester". – hjf Mar 27 at 12:10
  • But if you want to know, the error was produced because MSDTC service doesn't work properly in the production server. It's the implementation's job to figure out why MSDTC is misconfigured. We told them this in the call. They said "Oh no, MSDTC again, I don't want to deal with that. I need a fix so this won't happen again". So basically they expected us to turn transactions off, so they won't have to deal with MSDTC setup. – hjf Mar 27 at 12:13
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It seems like you are dealing with a poor manager here, who believes she can micromanage everything and possibly a control freak. Also, it appears, she does not know how to say "no". They are fairly poor signs for a manager.

My boss doesn't stand up for the team and tells us to "deal" with things outside our reach.

Indication that she does not know her team and team's responsibilities well. She does not believe in the team itself.

She won't listen to me and will always take responsibility for things that have nothing to do with us.

"Not listening" is one of the worst possible habit of bad leaders/ managers.

My boss is overworked. [....] My boss also doesn't respect her own schedule

Sign of poor time management.

At this point of time, I really have no option but to say: Look for a new boss. , even if it comes at the expense of the current job. Trying to stick around is not going to take you anywhere, you'll only be dragged more and more into the mess, until "you" fail and eventually have to face a bitter ending. Better end it sooner.

  • OK, what did I miss here? – Sourav Ghosh Mar 27 at 5:29

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