I am a Software Development Manager. In our organization chart, I directly report to a Senior Director ("Manager A"). A couple of months ago (early December), Manager A has asked me to start working closely with "Manager B" on a couple of projects.
After a couple of weeks, Manager B asks me to schedule a regular 1-on-1 call with him. This immediately set off some red flags for me because a 1-on-1 usually meant that I somewhat report to that person. I asked Manager A if this is necessary, to which she replied that I can just provide updates on current progress and other usual things.
So, I obliged, I set up a weekly call with Manager B. Oftentimes, Manager B either doesn't attend or moves the schedule due to conflicts. If ever Manager B does attend, it's fairly quick and just wants a rundown on what's happening. If he doesn't attend, I usually ping him over Slack reminding him of the call, but he doesn't respond. Not really an issue for me, I just go ahead and drop off after 10 minutes.
Fast forward to February, Manager B messages me:
Manager B: "do you need another slot for 1-to-1"
Me (confused): "Hi, do we have a scheduled call today?"
Manager B: "why you do not attend the 1-to-1"
Me (still confused): "we don't have a scheduled 1-to-1 today. did you send an updated schedule?"
Manager B: "Can you schedule as per convenience, I cannot follow always on it"
Me: "can you clarify? are you saying i'm not attending the 1-to-1? or are you asking me to schedule it in behalf of you?"
Manager B: "Please schedule it as per your convenient schedule, once in 2 weeks."
Me: "Ok noted"
So this was the first issue. From my perspective, he's basically saying that I don't attend the calls, which is really untrue. Our conversation continues:
Manager B: "What's the update on Project X?"
Me: "Project X was not planned for this release, i'll have to discuss this with Manager A as we don't have bandwidth."
Manager B: "please discuss with me for any bandwidth issues, you need to work closely with me for all work related stuff."
Me (surprised): "Sorry, i want to clarify. I'm still directly reporting to Manager A right? I should involve her in these discussions."
Manager B: "not really, she is your HR manager. but, work perspective , I need to manage your team work."
Me: "I don't think that's been communicated to me. I just had a 1 on 1 with her earlier today"
Manager B: "I am not sure why the case is.Let me tell Manager A. This is the model. Manager A should only control for HR part."
I immediately contact Manager A for a Zoom call for some clarification. This is how our discussion went:
- Manager A confirms that I will also report to Manager B for certain tasks, while I report to her for certain tasks.
- I said that this was not the discussion we had back in December. I stressed that "working closely with Manager B" is different from me "reporting to Manager B".
- Manager A apologizes for the confusion but tells me this will be the case. She just didn't input it in the system.
- Manager A "reassures" me that there will be division on the tasks, but I responded that this is rarely followed, especially if there's a difference in prioritization, approach, etc.
Based on my experience, I do not like this working model. It creates a lot of confusion and conflict. See my older posts that about me having more than one manager:
- Former Manager still giving me tasks
- My former Manager Isn't giving an Endorsement to my new Manager
How can I effectively communicate that I do not like this working model because of the possible complication it may bring?
- Manager A and Manager B have been in the organization longer than I have (15+ years?).
- I prefer to report directly to Manager A because she's been my manager for longer and I honestly don't like Manager B that much.