In my team the lead thinks that only when people are spending are more time at the office or staying late in office, they are doing good work.

Recently a project was done where team coordination and communication with client was excellent. This led to very smooth running of the project. The project won frequent accolades from the client itself and also had unprecedented quality. Here the team members never had to work extra hours or on weekends. Everyone worked 8-9 hours on an average. In spite of this the lead seems not too happy and frequently mentions that the team has relaxed a lot during this project. The achievements of this project are not mentioned as enthusiastically as the work routine of team members during this project. He is often found sarcastically saying to the team members that they are having a lot of fun and are doing no work at all.

He has often questioned team members (including me) how many DAYS have we worked in this project? His implication is clear that if team members are leaving office on time, they are not doing any work.

He never pays attention to the other important things and perhaps he has never heard of them. His only idea of work is spending many hours. Coming early. Leaving late. Working on weekends. These are normal according to him in IT industry and we are expected to accept them politely. When people leave after spending 9 hours and don't come on weekends, he treats it as an exception.

He starts every project with saying that we will have to spend many hours and possibly need to work on weekends too. This is said without thoroughly assessing the project. Without doing any design or planning. This is default for him.

How to deal with this guy?

  • 9
    just ignore!.. that's the best you can do, if your work is getting completed
    – nik
    Feb 12 '13 at 9:43
  • 6
    From what you say I get the feeling that your team-lead doesn't have enough experience and qualification.
    – superM
    Feb 12 '13 at 10:24
  • 14
    If all he's doing is making sarcastic comments and working a bunch of unnecessary weekend work for himself, then just ignore him. If he has the power to genuinely cause problems for you, then ultimately, either he goes or you should go. Feb 12 '13 at 10:48
  • 23
    Productive team members work smarter not harder. He sounds like a fool who is trying to make himself look better to management without real results. Feb 12 '13 at 12:37
  • 2
    Spend a solid few weeks or even month documenting every single thing (well value-add) you do during normal hours, so that if you are "not working enough" you can point to exactly what you did during your job. Even better if you have similar documentation from your boss saying "this is what I expect from you" and they match. After this, stop caring. Or as @Carson63000 said you'll have to make a hard choice.
    – enderland
    Feb 12 '13 at 13:12

Challenge his perception of useful Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These may include:

  • Number of bugs in a given feature
  • Number of features / commits / lines of code (I don't like the latter two, but even they are more relevant than what you are faced with now) implemented in a given time frame
  • Business feedback
  • ...whatever is measurable at your company

Next time he makes comments about you not working hard enough ask which of the relevant KPIs are not being satisfied. Focus on the results. He clearly thinks that teams working 80 hour weeks get more done in the long term. He is wrong. You can find a bunch of articles and studies if you google the word 'work burnout' and 'death march'.

Try to make him understand that he is wrong subtly at first. Keep in mind thought that his comments to everyone that so and so is not working hard will be detrimental to your career in the long term because, well, people listen to team leads. Ignoring him will make it easier for him to later blame you guys for 'not working hard enough'. If he succeeds in branding you 'lazy', management will not listen to you the same as they would otherwise. In other words, you do need to tackle this problem.

If you can't make him understand, you will need to go over him. You can request some time with a manager to discuss the recent project, and bring it up by saying "I am concerned about the productivity of our team. In particular, it feels like we are constantly preassured to work very long hours and I find that it is detrimental to the quality of the product." The manager will probably say "Really? But you guys have performed very well! Why do you feel that you are preassured?" and then you can talk about the comments from the team lead.

Do not let this kind of thing slide.

  • 1
    This is a good answer, but when googling "death march", you will find this has meanings which I would consider a bit drastic for the situation at hand
    – bytepusher
    Feb 2 '19 at 22:11

If he is your direct manager, I would be highly concerned and personally would be looking either to a) get transferred to another team or b) look for another job if his attitude is pervasive in the organization.

If he is simply one of multiple team leads that you report to, ignore him or talk to another lead about the issue if you feel comfortable doing so. Unfortunately, since he seems to see you as "slacking off" it is unlikely he is going to see your attempts at correcting him as anything more than trying to justify your "laziness."

It's really an issue that has to be addressed by a peer or a supervisor of him. How/if you can go about that in your work environment is very dependent on your relationships and level of comfort with your coworkers.