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I work for a very fast paced organization and I love what I do, but it's gotten to the point that my supervisor who used to be the only reasonable and true leader, no longer is. Upper management has this belief of strict line of commands, strict expectations and etc. but he was always the one that was easy going and cared about his employees and as a result we're the top performing area in the company.

Within the past couple of months my manager has become like upper management and all the other middle managers: Uncaring, indifferent, strict, serious, demanding etc. I'm assuming he's been talked to about his management style or there has just been a change in the company as to what is proper protocols are. I'm not sure.

As a result there are now personality conflicts between us and we no longer discuss progress. He never said we were going to stop meeting he just cut off communication. I have always thrived better in relaxed and team based environments and things are different he comes across as intimidating, uncaring, and unwilling listen to your concerns. It's scary and apparently it has been discussed that I'm not performing well anymore (although he's loved how I work up until this change). Also the way he conveyed it to me was harsh in itself and not constructive.

This change in attitude has me confused as to why that is and now I've realized that my being confused and surprised has been interpreted as being a complainer and a whiner when we had a great working dynamic up until few months ago. The other problem is I have requested numerous times that I would like more direction and interest from him as to my projects not only to build rapport but also I'd like his feedback occasionally via regular meetings, lunch meetings, quick news flash chats.

All it did was make me seen more like a whiner because he was argumentative with all my requests. Then I come to find out that he has scheduled meetings with staff members in other departments and lunch meetings as well.

I'm confused. Everything I've asked for in terms of needing it to do a better job he has thought it was of a whiny nature even though I didn't complain, I was calm and direct about what i was requesting and why it was important yet it got get denied in a harsh way and then see my manager provide that opportunity to people who do not even work in our area.

P.S. I of course did not bring up the comparison because that would have made it worse.

How can I better understand what my boss wants if he thinks I'm whining all the time especially when this change in his attitude seems to come out of nowhere?

What would be the reason why he would make managerial effort with people who do not work for him but refuses to handle the same request he gets from the people that work for him?

closed as off-topic by Jim G., Michael Grubey, CMW, Adam V, jcmeloni Apr 25 '14 at 14:52

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  • My output hasn't declined. I have done exceptional work that he has always loved and now he thinks its not good at all. If he has higher expectations now, he has never conveyed it at all. If he did, I would have tried harder than I already am. – user19009 Apr 25 '14 at 15:54
  • thanks for the clarification. I was under the impression that he had withheld essential cooperation and input from you, which should have impacted your output. Your clarification means, he is taking your current output for granted. Now, I am confused about your question: is it just that you are unhappy with his new management style, but your output is not affected? Has he SAID anything explicitly negative about your output at all? Your lack of clarity is frustrating. – Vietnhi Phuvan Apr 25 '14 at 17:52
  • I'm sorry if its frustrating. I think I'm just shocked at the sudden change in management style and after being told I've been essentially been screwing up and difficult to work with when this is the first I've heard of this in years and I haven't exactly been acting different. I guess its hard to hear that I pretty much suck all of a sudden lol. – user19009 Apr 25 '14 at 19:36
  • OK, now we have more essential piece of the puzzle. It's not your performance that has changed, it's their perception of your performance. Actually, I still could be wrong. What if their perception of your performance was poor all along, and they prevailed on your manager to see it their way, or act as he was seeing it their way? In which case, your problem with them is long standing. Your manager once said that your performance was exceptional. I take it that he is no longer saying it. – Vietnhi Phuvan Apr 25 '14 at 20:06
  • He always loved my work and raved about it. Even within the company upper management would ask me to train new employees including new managers. I'm not sure what happened but all of a sudden he pretty much thinks I suck, i'm a drain on the office but yet tries to socialize still about personal topics. Hmm. – user19009 Apr 25 '14 at 23:24
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It's hard to tell from your question, but I think you're asking your boss for things, and not only are you not getting them, but someone is calling your requests "whining" and "complaining". I can't tell from your question whether you're requesting training, equipment, a meeting with your boss about status, an assistant to be hired, a bigger office, a decision about which of two tasks is higher priority, or something else entirely. Nevertheless I can give you a piece of advice:

Give before you take.

Whenever I want something (anything! even to have my overdue invoice paid!) from someone, I first check whether there is anything that I owe them. If there is, I make sure I give that to them first. If I was asked to look into something, to write something up, to fix a bug, to take care of anything at all, I take care of it and then report that it's taken care of, and then make my requests. This would be how you would ask for training, or time off, or a meeting to discuss your career, or anything else that matters more to you than to your boss.

Now, some things are not requests, because they're not optional. You have to ask for them, but if you don't get them, something else will suffer. For those, I make sure to tie them to whatever makes them not optional, and ask what I should do even when the problem isn't me.

The deadline for X is tomorrow and I am still blocked on it because I don't have permissions on the database, even though I asked for them 10 days ago and have reminded you and [whoever] several times since then. Is there someone else I should be asking, or someone else who can do X instead of me?

Nothing about this reminder is apologetic or subservient, but neither is it whiny. (Well, there's a little whine in the middle about the 10 days, but I think it's reasonable.)

Right now I think what you want more than anything is to understand if your boss is mad at you, or if you are perceived to have done something wrong. So give your boss as much as you can - do some amazing work that is sure to be noticed - and right after reporting your successes and results, ask for a one-on-one meeting to discuss how things are going for you and to let your boss tell you what you need to change in the way you work. You can say "I think you're unhappy with my performance and I'd like to fix that before it becomes a bigger problem for both of us" or "I'd like to get my performance back to where it was a few months ago, but I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong." Don't say you want to meet about how your boss has changed and is no fun and is all harsh and strict and unfair. That's not going to help you learn what's happening.

  • Hi Kate, thank you for the suggestions. I'm not sure if what I'm asking him is unreasonable. The only thing I've ever requested in the past is if there is something I'm doing that's not within his expectations to tell me becuase he doesn't until its too late. The only other thing I requested is if I can take on more responsibility. Which he always agrees to but all of a sudden I'm "whining" I haven't changed the way I asked and I haven't been bothering him about it either. He has also said I've been doing exceptional work but now it seems to not be good enough or good at all. – user19009 Apr 25 '14 at 15:52
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Whenever I see the expression 'fast paced' I equate it with dysfunctional. This means, in particular, changing requirements before you can get something you're working on finished, unrealistic expectations, or obligations being neglected elsewhere that end up in your inbox.

If you are becoming progressively less happy with your situation, it's probably good to put your resume in circulation and move on at the opportune moment - generally this is a sign you aren't appreciated, whether due to your performance or your boss's perception. It's possible people want you gone, but your performance isn't so bad that they can fire you. If your boss and working associates simply aren't relating to you, you are in effect 'surplus goods'. You may be kept until some corporate wide downsizing. This is a situation where you are at the maximum disadvantage.

  • By fast paced means there's alot of work to do and its always challenging and its different from day to day which is what I love. I like routine but not mundane routine. It never used to be a relaxed environment, my exceptional work always appreciated and raved about and then now apparently I'm screwing up or I'm complaining when I haven't complained at all? – user19009 Apr 25 '14 at 15:53
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    Hello, I think the question was asking how the problem could be fixed. Even if you think escaping the situation is best, could you also consider addressing the actual meat of the question? Thanks and hope this helps. – jmort253 Apr 27 '14 at 22:58

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