Lore: I am experiencing difficulties working with my line manager. He's involving me in useless meetings, he feels threatened by my presence after lying about his own expertise and he's trying hard to make sure that I work in isolation, so that he can intercept all my communications and make himself a part of the creative process.

My boss already got demoted once just before I joined the company. He previously made a favour to the husband of his current line manager, and this person is protecting him despite the demotion and several hr reports, including discussing a new hire salary in front of his future colleagues.

Problem: I would like to get help from my manager's manager, but she will support him by default. Above her, there is a C-level manager and he will just tell me to buzz off.

Question: how can I get help with a line manager when there is no hope in his own line?

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    Some of your complaints seem to be contradictory-- if your manager is involving you in more meetings than you would like, that seems like the opposite of forcing you to work in isolation and the opposite of someone threatened by your presence. Others seem entirely reasonable-- managers want to be involved in projects so that they can manage. Particularly given your prior complaints that the group is too small and there is too much work, it would seem prudent for a manager to be involved to manage priorities. – Justin Cave Sep 9 '15 at 22:45
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    Hello Monoandale. I notice you've posted similar questions before (1, 2) with both ending up being closed. I'm afraid I again don't really see an answerable question here. This site's Q&A format isn't suited to giving you fully personalised advice that won't be useful to others and we don't know enough about the particulars to really give meaningful advice. Consider asking for input in chat where we're not so strict with those rules. – Lilienthal Sep 9 '15 at 23:13
  • HI Lilienthal, if you can advise about which details would be useful I could add them, so that my questions can be more specific. – Monoandale Sep 10 '15 at 10:08
  • What kind of help are you looking for or expecting? It seems to me that you my have decided that the way to fix a problem is to get help with your line manager. Instead perhaps try to explain what the problem is that you are trying to solve and what your goal situation would look like and ask how to best achieve that goal situation – IDrinkandIKnowThings Sep 11 '15 at 20:43

Fighting one layer of bad management is very difficult. Fighting two is almost impossible.

There are a lot of techniques you can use to protect your "credit" for your contribution, but honestly, from 3 layers up in management, all they'll see is conflict, and if they have time to come sift through it, then the upper management isn't doing their job.

I was in a very similar situation about 12 years ago. I fought it. While I ultimately did prove the credit-stealer to be a complete fraud, his "guardian" two layers up made life so miserable that I eventually just walked out one morning. The owner of the company did talk with me later and apologized. He did some investigating afterwards, and was fully aware of what happened. However, there was so much enmity at that point that I didn't even want to consider returning.

You really only have two choices:

  1. Get on the "Good side" of your manager, and just let all his meddling, credit stealing, and misrepresentation slide off your back.
  2. Find other gainful employment.

You can fight this fight if you wish, but I will tell you now, you will never "Win." You may get this manager booted, but the job left for you after that won't be one you'll want.

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Question: how can I get help with a line manager when there is no hope in his own line?

You probably can't get "help". All the way up the line, this manager is supported, so it's unlikely you can have any real impact at this time.

But in one of your other questions (How to professionally handle transition between an incompetent manager and a good one?) you indicated that this is temporary anyway, and that you will soon be reporting to a VP.

It's not clear what you expect to do here - get your manager fired (you wrote "I can't wait to get rid of this parasite"), get moved over to the VP's group sooner, have someone scold your manager, etc.

So rather than trying to get "help" in your desire to deal with your current manager, just bide your time and wait until he isn't your problem any longer, and you are safely working with the VP.

Based on some of your other questions, it doesn't sound like you care much for this company anyway. But if you really want to stay employed there and work for the VP, you are probably better off keeping a low profile for now, and tolerate your current manager as best you can.

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Regarding the meetings: whether you feel they are useless or not doesn't matter. The company pays you for your time and your manager directs you on how that time is spent.

Regarding the communications: You should always expect everything you say/do on company time or through company mechanisms to be monitored by your manager. It's part of their job to know what you are doing.

I'm not entirely certain what you mean by saying this person wants to be part of the creative process. They are your manager which means they are supposed to be a part of whatever it is you are doing. Sometimes all they do is give you a task to perform, sometimes they want to be involved in all the details. After all, it's their job to manage you.

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