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One of the newly appointed managers always keeping an eye and criticizing the habits of one of the employees. He always keeps getting frustrated for one or another reason because of him, As being close to the Employee (Team member of mine in the various project), I am sure that He is perceived wrong and being gaslighted.

A few days ago the manager in question

  1. Walks into his desk just after lunch hours and asking him what he has completed till now since morning (even there were no clear guidelines of what needs to be finished).

  2. As my colleague, was shocked to see his rude and inquiring tone, he took little time to express what he has done and what he was doing. (Its post-delivery bug fixing session)

  3. After acting dissatisfied with his answer Openly said to him (my colleague) that from now onward he will not assign him a task and he(my colleague) can decide himself of whatever task he wants to do.

I find this behavior very shortsighted as well as confusing. Since that incident, the manager is giving my colleague a silent treatment.

It has become embarrassing for all to see my colleague asking for him list to the task to finish and he just saying him to do whatever he likes without taking an interest.

I am sure my colleague has never failed upon delivery timings in the past two years. What is the best thing he can do to solve this rift?

  • Is the employee sleeping with the manager's wife? Whatever it is, he probably knows why he's getting the silent treatment. – Stephan Branczyk Nov 6 '19 at 9:28
  • @StephanBranczyk or the manager is just plain nasty / crazy... I've certainly seen that. – DaveG Nov 6 '19 at 14:21
  • Today That guy went to manager's desk and ask him that he has updated the code and he hasnt acceted the pull request, the manager pulled the code and make a face and said "just 4 lines of code you added in past one hour"? Also when I compared the Branch history, at the end of the day everyone ess had done the same amount of work. Is there any documented or studied behaviour of this pattern of the manager? I felt like a deja vu from school days on many events. – Talk is Cheap Show me Code Nov 6 '19 at 15:38
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Three primary steps:

  • Act professional.
  • Follow a process and document everything.
  • Escalate as necessary.

We don't know both sides of the story, but given the description, it seems the manager's behavior is aptly inappropriate. We should focus on finding the reason behind the incident and treat that accordingly.

Some pointers (start doing immediately if this was not done / practiced earlier):

  • Ensure the task assignment is on record (e-mails). It should include the clear assignment description, the acceptance criteria (definition of "done") and estimated target date.
  • Start using a project management tool effectively, where efforts and estimates are logged.
  • Have periodic review meetings (ex: daily stand up for scrum) to check on the progress and ensure any blocker incidents are communicated timely and properly.
  • (Based on the urgency of the assignment) Send out periodic updates via email to keep everyone aware of the status of the assignment.

That being said, in light of the current situation, your colleague should do the following:

  • Request for a meeting with the manager for official review of the work and request for clarification on the decision made (to not to assign any work to them).
  • Have the discussion points recorded in official emails and try to seek the next steps to solve the problem. Formulate the discussion around the thought of suggested improvements, not only asking about the problems.
  • If no satisfactory answer is received, next step would be to involve the HR in the discussion.
  • Yes after reading this answer first step I am doing is to write an email to start using Bugzilla for the shortest ever bug. – Talk is Cheap Show me Code Nov 5 '19 at 6:03
  • Focus only on the intra-company relationship makes a lot of sense because professional business is equal to a closed system without influence of the market. But seriously, the true reason why a manager is criticizing a team member is, because the low level employee has a weak status in the company. The reason for it's low reputation is, that he has no important customer as leverage in reserve: – Manuel Rodriguez Nov 5 '19 at 20:07
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It is very difficult to assess the real story there. Personally, you should do nothing officially.

If your colleague is a good guy as you mention, then advise him to go to HR and discuss with them the issue, asking for mediation, or any other help which is in place in the company.

However, your colleague might want to update his CV and start assessing the work market, just in case. These kinds of situations usually do not end up in the employee's favor, on the long term.

1

As the others say, there's something unknown going on here. Maybe your colleague knows exactly what he did to cause this, but if not his first step should be to go to his manager in private and ask about it.

Depending on their relationship and company culture, this could be:

"Have I done something wrong?"

to

"I'm sorry, I've obviously done something that annoyed you, what can I do to make it up to you?"

Maybe he misunderstood a task and inadvertently did something actually wrong, maybe the manager misunderstood something and just thought he did, or maybe the manager is just having a bad day and snapping at people with no reason.

Hopefully he can fix this relationship and won't have to resort to the other advice.

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The manager is quite obviously not doing his job. If you were his manager, you’d have to do something about that. You are not.

Your colleague can for the time being do exactly as he was told: Find work himself. Depending on how your pace is organised that could be easy. (I was working once for a manager who worked hard to keep any work away from his team. So I did the work I was assigned in 15 hours a week and spend the rest doing useful things that he didn’t know about. He seemed quite happy that I always delivered on time. The next manager came up with lots of new ideas and for over half a year I would just say “that’s already done”.)

Then comes the time when raises, promotions etc. are discussed. And if the manager creates any problems at that time, your colleague takes the documentation what he’s done straight to HR. Should be an interesting conversation. “Manager refused to talk to me, so this is what I’ve done”.

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