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I have been working in a US-based company (> 70,000 employees worldwide) in China for 2 years as a data "scientist" for business/commercial analytics. Recently the new coming team leader finished her 6-month probation and entered a long-term contractual position with this company. She acted "perfectly" professional (e.g., effective communication, quick catchups with projects and paying attention to computing details) in the probation leading the team.

Just as she passed her probation, the issues of toxic behaviors suddenly emerged.

  • Constantly not even up in the office and meetings, saying herself is in another "important meeting" which is not recorded in the meeting scheduler, this introduced significant unnecessary communication difficulties.
  • Cancelled all weekly meetings as many analytical projects between technical colleagues need to be synced.
  • Copy and paste email contents from the data science colleagues and forward out pretending it was her idea or input, and showing off in the meetings with other internal non-technical audience, without any acknowledgement.
  • Have no transparency with the information coming from her manager (the management).
  • Failed to pay attention to the technical tasks.
  • No plan for the new year working priorities.
  • Have trust issues on the technical results for no reason.

Currently there are ~5 colleagues (data scientists and engineers) report to her. I was wondering if it is possible for me to professionally handle this situation.

Thank you so much for reading this.

TL;DR: How to professionally deal with that my new manager acted to be professional in her probation. After she passed probation, she starts to not do well in her job and ignore almost all responsibilities. No guidance, no management, no planning, no transparency, not showing up in person and plagiarism of other people's work.

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    Have you brought up these complaints to her? Feb 25, 2022 at 17:47
  • You said that this new manager now enters a "long-term contractual position". Does it mean she now works as a contractor for a longer-term contract such as 1 or 2 years ? or as a regular full-time worker now ? Feb 25, 2022 at 17:58
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    Do the other 5 engineers, who also report to her, agree with your views about her work behaviors now ? Feb 25, 2022 at 18:00
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    How important is "face" in your particular office culture? Is publicly disagreeing with or contradicting her a mortal sin?
    – nick012000
    Feb 26, 2022 at 12:09
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    @nick012000 Yes, you are right. This makes the situation even more difficult. The "face" is similar to their lives.
    – user122301
    Feb 26, 2022 at 15:49

2 Answers 2

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I suggest you schedule a 1:1 meeting with her to bring some of these points up to her respectfully, but prioritize those that actually inhibit your team's work. Save the rest for a future conversation. Note: I don't understand Chinese culture, so adapt accordingly.

Address Now

Cancelled all weekly meetings as many analytical projects between technical colleagues need to be synced.

Failed to pay attention to the technical tasks.

No plan for the new year working priorities.

Tell her directly that she is important to the group's success, that you all need her support, help and active involvement. Talk in a positive way about her abilities. Ask her to reschedule meetings to work for her, or to communicate more in a channel that better works for her. If she cannot do meetings, you can send her more emails or chats, whatever you want to try.

Solve Later

Copy and paste email contents from the data science colleagues and forward out pretending it was her idea or input, and showing off in the meetings with other internal non-technical audience, without any acknowledgement.

This is ugly, not inhibiting your work, so wait until important points are addressed. Later, ask her to acknowledge her team.

Leave alone

Constantly not even up in the office and meetings, saying herself is in another "important meeting" which is not recorded in the meeting scheduler, this introduced significant unnecessary communication difficulties.

Tread carefully: she may be ill, she may be lazy; you don't know.

Have no transparency with the information coming from her manager (the management).

You may not be entitled to this, so skip it for now. Caveat: I don't know what you intend to do with this information.

Have trust issues on the technical results for no reason.

She's your boss. Not knowing any more, I say trust her interest in challenging you. Answer the challenges with a smile.

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    "Answer the challenges with a smile" is a great point (both inside and outside the workplace). Feb 25, 2022 at 19:10
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    really helpful, thank you very much.
    – user122301
    Feb 26, 2022 at 0:44
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I was wondering if it is possible for me to professionally handle this situation.

Some people choose to complain to upper management when they don't like what their manager is doing. This seldom works.

Some people choose to wait it out. Managers who perform this poorly tend to get fired eventually.

Most people quit. Issues with their boss is the number one reason people leave a job.

(If you are in a union, you should talk to your union rep and let them help.)

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    "Some people choose to complain to upper management...". You are right. This could back-fire very badly about 99% or 100% of the times. All other points from your answer are right too. (BTW, I am not in a union. So, I can't comment on that particular point) Feb 25, 2022 at 18:03
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    What many don't realize is that when you complain about a new manager, you are also complaining about the decision to place that new manager, which was usually made by the person you're complaining to. Feb 25, 2022 at 21:09
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    "If you are in a union" The OP said they're in China. Unions are basically illegal in China, IIRC.
    – nick012000
    Feb 26, 2022 at 12:07
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    @nick012000 Yes, union is not illegal, sadly.
    – user122301
    Feb 26, 2022 at 15:44
  • Very succinct observation
    – bytepusher
    Sep 28, 2023 at 16:29

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