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I have started a new job as a middle level manager several months ago. One of the reasons for me joining the company (let's call it XYZ) was the charisma and competence of my hiring manager, a VP of Technology Operations. His technical competence, open communication , winning smile and management style has won me.

Several months into the job, I have realized that my manager has expressed a very little interest on-boarding me to his level. Yes, he has set up a couple of meetings with the current technology team - so I know where the database server is and how to acknowledge the failed web page. Besides that, not much..

Essentially, he was happy with my technical skills and have me do the work "in the trenches".

Say, I have the technical skills - T1, T2, T3, T4 and manager experience M1, M2, M3.

Essentially, my work is T1, T2, T3 and T5 that have learned in this company. The letter "M" is entirely missing: my boss never asks me to the Extended Staff meetings, makes HR decisions without my input (even for my direct reports), and I am learning the ropes on my own without his active guidance.

I need to clarify a couple of moments here.

First, let's not confuse "the middle level manager on-boarding" with "hand-holding". I am senior and competent enough to figure things out, but as any middle-level manager joining the new organization with relatively complex technical, political, financial and management infrastructure -I would have appreciated if my boss thinks of my progress/success report more often.

Second, a few years back I used to work for a different VP who has actively supported my on-boarding: he ensured that I always attend the Extended Executive meetings, asked my opinions, bounced the ideas to /from me, corrected (if/when necessary) my decision making process, etc. Unfortunately, he has been relocated to another area, and I have changed a couple of jobs since then - but I think I have a fairly good understanding what "a middle level manager on-boarding" should look like..

Fast forward to the present day. Yesterday, my current manager (a VP of Technology) has announced that - "there is a knowledge gap", so he plans to hire someone else to manage me while he focuses on other tasks.

Naturally, I did not say anything, but thought to myself - "WHAT HAVE YOU DONE, AS MY MANAGER, TO BRIDGE THE KNOWLEDGE GAP?. Or am I supposed to figure out how things are done on my own in our XYZ corporation (150, 000 employees world wide) " Yes, I have read all documentation. Yes,I have asked all right questions. But I could not insert myself into all management meetings where I was not explicitly invited. I think it is my manager's job, isn't ?

So the question is: looks like my boss is not interested in developing me as a manager, he just happy where he has placed me. Is there any way to reverse that trend? I have expressed that I would like to build a "succession path" for myself for his job (at some point) -yet, if his mind is set, there is not much I can do about it.

Your thoughts?

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  • Beware of what assumptions you make here as the idea that you asked all the right questions yet still ended up in the problem you have would make me question if you have awareness of what assumptions you make of the corporate world and do you speak up when there are issues or do you assume someone else will catch the mistakes? – JB King Apr 1 '15 at 20:49
  • What if the VP is the mirror of you? Where you are expecting them to do a bunch of things with you, he is expecting you to assert yourself in asking to be present at these meetings and bring up concerns if you have them? – JB King Apr 1 '15 at 20:52
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"Naturally, I did not say anything, but thought to myself...." I think this may be the issue right here. If you're not asking questions he assumes you know what to do. If you were hired based on an ability to work by yourself it would not be reasonable to expect to be overseen constantly.

If you found this boss so approachable during the interview process what stops you from asking him about this now? I have a very open relationship with my company's owner and can ask him anything.

If you have not received a job review you can ask for one. If asked why explain that you are uncertain you are fulfilling your position's requirements and want to be sure that if there are any shortfalls you address them.

Alternatively, you could ask what the requirements are for the position they want to hire over you and might you be able to train for it. It is entirely possible that you are seen as unmotivated (I am NOT saying this is so) if you are not taking initiative to affect your job situation on your own. It also may be that they don't feel you want that job and you are content where you are if you don't say anything.

Initiative goes a long way in getting you noticed. Is there an ongoing problem you can address, or a new idea you can put into place? It doesn't have to be anything major but trying says "I care and I want to do more here."

Of my employees the ones who speak up the most are noticed the most whether it is good or bad input. The ones who just quietly do the minimum in their job are the ones that don't go far.

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