There is a disconnect between what my boss (Manager X) remembers and what the rest of the team see and hear. Regardless of what was agreed or discussed in the past, even when it is in writing, what he later recalls can be substantially different.
How can I hold a manager demonstrating a lack of consistency in their actions to account?
Examples of the Manager X's behaviour include that he will:
- frequently deny receiving emails regarding important topics (HR issues, project updates) then become agitated about not being kept in the loop when something goes wrong. I've never met anyone else who has so many 'issues' with lost emails as Manager X.
- remember the outcome of meetings differently from everyone else in the room. Even when actions are written down and circulated immediately after the meeting, Manager X will dispute what was agreed at a later point in time. We've had instances where the entire team agree what was discussed at the previous meeting, only for Manager X to reprimand the team for not completing an important task that was never discussed.
- tell other people (particularly his boss) what was discussed at meetings he was invited to but did not attend.
- mis-remember key points from discussions, even when what he remembers is illogical. For example, we agreed to hire a consultant for £800/day, confirmed in a written quote sent to Manager X and myself. Manager X signed the purchase agreement, the consultant completed the work and issued an invoice. Manager X was the furious because he thought the agreed rate was £125/day, and consequently our team had spent over the allocated budget. After Manager X claimed to have never seen the original quote, the consultant pointed out that £125/day was less than the company pays the most junior engineers (let alone experienced consultants) hence it made no sense to ever think £125/day was the agreed rate.
We try to deal with Manager X's lack of consistency by asking for everything in writing or sending emails multiple times until you get a response. Most of the time the request is ignored, or met with a harsh "don't you trust me" or "I don't have time for that" response. This approach isn't proving to be effective.
I've been tempted to think it's an easy way for Manager X to lay blame for any mistake on another team member. But at this stage I don't really care for the reason, I'd just like to put in place an approach for making sure there's some consistency between one week and the next.