Let me first say that I have read How to proceed when remote boss doesn't answer emails . This has some great information, but my problem has gone a step further.

Let me first clarify that I have two managers: a lead manager and a "service manager." My lead manager is simply responsible for tasking me and signing my timesheet. My "service manager" handles everything else (travel, training, departmental information, etc).

So my lead manager approached me about a year ago saying that he is the guy to go through for pay increases and to let him know if I'd like to talk sometime. I took this as a hint and did some research to find that I was being under paid. So about 6 months ago, I approached him and asked for a raise (about a 7% raise). He agreed and said this would need to go through my "service manager," who also agreed.

From then on, my service manager has been stonewalling me. My customer has asked that I get additional training (even at his expense). I've sent my S manager e-mails about this for months, tried to call him, but I never can reach him, and he never responds. He's still alive though because he sends out company e-mails. I even have a fee that I had to pay recently (one that the company typically reimburses me on), and like previous communications, he does not respond. My future e-mails will follow the advice from the article mentioned above, but it may be too late.

My lead manager has complained about non-responsiveness from my S manager, but he seems to be getting stonewalled as well. Even on my behalf, he has went to other S managers to get their support, but they've not been able to help much. I'm wondering if they're trying to give me a hint (honestly, I feel I'm just doing my job)? I'm wondering if this company is for me anymore? I really feel like it's got to the point where I need to do something, either leave or make some noise.

How should I voice my concern without upsetting management and getting fired?

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    Wow, does not sound fun. S manager may be in a turf battle with the L manager and you are caught in the middle. – paparazzo Dec 16 '14 at 17:54
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    I have never heard of a place that splits those manager responsibilities for two people like that. The working manager signs your timesheets and has the authority to give you a raise but does nothing else for you? That is a strange setup. – maple_shaft Dec 16 '14 at 18:03
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    @maple_shaft If it is a skill pool like manager in which you can be assigned to various service managers that is not uncommon. But clearly something has broken down. – paparazzo Dec 16 '14 at 18:08
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    Yes, we are under a "matrix" diagram. My lead manager is project-based, being over all employees under his project. My service manager is position-based (aka. Service Line), over all employees with a certain position (eg: all secretaries). Ironically it's supposed to provide easier advice and support for the employees' job careers. – johnnybgood04 Dec 16 '14 at 21:26
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    Thx for keeping me straight guys. I've edited the question to be more practical and answerable. Please let me know if these changes are not sufficient. – johnnybgood04 Dec 17 '14 at 13:15

Who does the Service Manager work for? I would take my non-responded to emails (including ignoring a client's request) and I would take the other manager's non-responded to emails (if he will go with you which strengthens your case) and set up a meeting with the service manager's boss and let him deal with the performance issue. You might even casually ask around of other people who work for this man to see if he is doing the same to them. I would ask in writing to be reassigned to a different service manager. This is not just a case of inappropriate anger, it is a case of failure to perform his job.

His boss should understand that he is making the clients' upset with his inability to take appropriate actions. Frankly this sounds less like it has something to do with you and more like the manager has "Quit on the job." I would not be surprised to find out that he has some severe personal problems. In any case, his boss needs to know that he is holding things up that he should be handling.

Of course it is often not good to be the bearer of the bad news, but with this situation, there isn't anything else to do but escalate it. Personally I would have escalated it months ago.

You also should probably consider looking at other employment. There are only a few things that could come of the current situation. One, this manager gives you a bad performance rating, two, he fires you, three, senior management is aware of the problem but he has political pull so he will not be corrected and you look bad for bringing it up or four, senior management gets rid of this guy or puts him on a performance improvement plan or five, you are transferred to another manager. Only two of those are a potentially good result for you and it can only happen if you go to senior management. Even then the response is only potentially good, you could still be marked as a troublemaker even if they chose to get rid of the guy or move you.

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    +1 "failure to perform his job" - spot on HLGEM. Aside from lack of manners, courtesy etc, this is the crux of the issue. If there is no way to bypass him/her to get answers, this has to be escalated – Mike Dec 17 '14 at 15:19

I think this is most likely a turf battle.

He agreed and said this would need to go through my "service manager," who also agreed.

What I suspect is the service manager did not like that the lead manager agreed and then checked with the service manager. Not fair to you.

The fact the service manager is non-responsive with lead manager indicates he is waging a power struggle with the lead manager.

Lead manager reaching to other service managers indicates he does not have authority over the service manager. Sounds like lead manager is on your side.

The next step would be to ask your lead to escalate this to his manager and/or HR and maybe cc your service manager. But this has a chance of going really badly. You could end up collateral damage.

If the service manager is not performing then this may correct itself without you escalating.

Personally I would polish my resume and interview. If you can really get 7% more then take it.

Not the same thing but I was put in the role of floater for a few years to help on projects in trouble or need some temporary resources. Well they had me rated and ranked with the group I was working for and they would rank their guys high as they wanted them to get raises be happy and stay around. But I got a lot of good experience and when I came back to a regular assignment they saw what happened and made up some of it.

  • Well so far, I have documented all of the e-mails that I've sent and have been very clear that I'm not pushing the issue (heck I've waited months). I don't want a "yes" or "no" on the raise. I'd just like an answer. Why would I be collateral damage when I've been very polite and have done what I'm told? I prefer this to not go bad :( – johnnybgood04 Dec 16 '14 at 19:09
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    Life and work is not always fair. – paparazzo Dec 16 '14 at 19:50

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