I work in a lovely startup. People are very nice, we have a lot of Directors and VPs but communication is good and nobody usually complains about management. We recently started hiring heavyweights from some other companies. They started reorganising the company, reassigning middle managers and hiring former colleagues of theirs in more senior roles. More importantly, communication with some of these managers is much different: they make it clear that "I am a MANAGER, and who the hell are YOU?". While I was talking to all levels, with these people now I hear "you should ask your line manager for this", i.e. they won't talk to me but to my manager. I can understand this, but I wonder: as these guys come from bigger companies, is this what I should expect from management in general? Am I expected to have a negative experience or at least to be seen as a foreigner, unless I am part of the "old boys club"?

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    So, essentially your previous setting had multiple levels of managers on paper, but in realty it was a chaotic blob of people, and now you're asking if enforcing the structure is correct? ... You can't really blame newcomers for acting like it was supposed to be. And did you ever think that in a company big enough to have multiple management levels, said level structure has good reasons? – deviantfan Jan 26 '17 at 4:40
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    @deviantfan Nothing against some structuring, but this looks pretty much like top-down "you-do-not-know-anything-shut-up-and-do-your-job" management which goes quite opposite the original spirit of the place. We do not have enough information to judge whether this change is necessary and it is not helpful to make this assumption. I am sorry to say that my experience is that managers do not always know what's going on and what's the better decision and some flexibility in decision-making and communication is productive. OP may experience some major shift in company culture and should prepare. – Captain Emacs Jan 26 '17 at 6:28
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    Seen this many times. When the cronies come in, the talent goes out. Unless you've got some serious equity / options, you'll either need to join in with this mindset, or find greener pastures. – Wesley Long Jan 26 '17 at 6:48
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    you should ask your line manager for this - how is this treating people like crap? – Brandin Jan 26 '17 at 7:57
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    they may ask you too ask to your manager, because he's more near to your area of work and as such to provide you an answer that they don't have and they don't care because they dn't consider such knowledge is relevant at their level. Or they're just here for the position without any clear responsability :p – Walfrat Jan 26 '17 at 10:34

You should expect things in a startup to change rapidly and often. That is part of the nature of startups.

Roles change. People that were formerly the go-to folks technically find themselves further down the totem pole and no longer relied on as much. New people with new management styles are brought in. Some stick, others move on quickly. The one constant is change. So it goes in many startups.

When you go through the phase of rapid hiring of middle-level managers, things are often chaotic. Many of these managers come from very different environments, and bring a very different management style. A good startup has a strong culture and knows how to convey this culture and expectations to their new hires effectively.

But sometimes, it takes time. And sometimes it isn't as effective as it should be.

I think you already know that management which "treats people like crap" isn't to be expected. For me, it wouldn't be tolerated. If I hired those middle managers and they didn't change, they would be fired. And if I worked for such a middle manager and the company tolerated it for longer than a few months, I would leave.

Give it a little while and see if things settle out for the better. If not, act accordingly.

  • I have to say, you are consistently one of the most helpful individuals in the whole internet. Kudos! – ta_notreddit Mar 1 '17 at 0:20

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