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Although I am looking for job opportunities elsewhere, I am currently working under a manager who does the following at a workplace:

  • stirs up drama by spreading rumors and talking behind people's back (and also caused one of my coworkers to quit)
  • makes inappropriate jokes
  • only surfs the internet and does very little work
  • starts a task and then gives it to his employees with errors
  • blames others for his mistakes

The following could be our employees' opinions, as stated by others in this community:

  • he would say no to ideas or even essential tasks that requires him to do work (which affects the quality of our projects)
  • does not open to suggestions; stubborn/close-minded
  • sucks up to the boss (it's really hard for us to watch..)
  • we believe the boss and other managers are aware of his behaviors, and unfortunately they are not doing anything about it.

How should I express my concerns to the individual without getting fired? Should I communicate my concerns with the boss directly and skip the communication with the manager? If they already knew about it, should I reiterate my concerns?

I really wish the company to do well, hence I want to address the issues before I take my career somewhere else.

11

I don't think you should approach him at all. I can see no upside whatsoever since what you describe is a malicious and petty individual. There are plenty of downsides though, not the least of which being your employment being terminated before you are ready to leave.

I believe the boss and other managers are aware of his behaviors, and unfortunately they don't do anything about it.

And that is really the essence of your problem. If they're aware it's not your responsibility and aside from coping techniques (which is different than what you're asking), there's really nothing you can do.

2

Understanding boundaries are in order.

Say one of your employees was behaving this way, what would you do? Council, then possibly fire the individual, right?

Say an employee that reported to a similar level manager behaved this way, what would you do? Talk to the manager, and if the behavior was not corrected not have your team work with this individual.

You said that the big boss and his colleagues are aware of your manager's behavior. Through inaction they are sanctioning the behavior. There is nothing you can do except limit your exposure. Mind your own business, don't participate or believe any gossip, do not laugh at the jokes especially at others expense.

Your response to his actions are your responsibility. I would recommend being extra kind to your colleagues as you know they have to put up with his crap.

Keep looking for work and exit when you can. It is rare that company's with such management do well financially. Customers don't want to do business with people like that.

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Be professional and don't seek conflicts. Find another job ASAP, give notice and quit. There's nothing else you can do about him, but think about your colleagues: do what you can to leave with a good image.

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Reading your bullet points, I'm sorry to say that most of them seem opinion-based. in particular the last three:

  • would say no to ideas or even essential tasks that requires him to do work (which affects the quality of our projects)
  • does not open to suggestions; stubborn/close-minded
  • sucks up to the boss (it's really hard for us to watch..)

You can guess the reason behind him saying no, but as you're not in his position, you don't know what else is in place that would cause him to say no. You also don't know what "sucking up to the boss" is for others, you can only go by what you feel it is. I can be construed as sucking up by saying I agree with him, even if it's the right thing to do in my opinion. This is "teacher pet" syndrome: just because one kid reminds the teacher there's a test it doesn't mean they're teacher's pet. (I used to remind them day of because if I didn't, they'd remember eventually and then hit us with a harder test because we failed to remind them in the first place...)

Now, this doesn't mean that you don't perceive what is an issue in your opinion, and aren't upset by what you see is wrong. So you should take action you feel is appropriate.

I believe the boss and other managers are aware of his behaviors

This is another assumption, which is a personal pet peeve. You do not, by your comment, KNOW what the bosses know. They could be oblivious (and, in fact, are more likely to be so because they have other subordinates to oversee, and they tend to blend after a point). It is up to you to ensure they know, if only for your peace of mind.

Don't approach him. Your concerns would be somewhat personal to him (I dislike being called a suck up, I'm sure he would as well). Your best course is to take it to another manager upstream (knowing that it will almost certainly come back to you via the problem manager. Standing up for what you believe in almost always causes you some pain, but if you have conviction you're ready for it) or you can go to the HR department and let them know you're having issues and let them deal with it. That's their job...managing the human resources in your organization.

Best of luck.

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