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Dear Wendy

How to handle an employee who went above my head to our boss?

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This topic contains 29 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by avatar LisforLeslie 3 weeks, 4 days ago.

Viewing 12 posts - 13 through 24 (of 30 total)
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  • #718067 Reply
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    dinoceros
    Member

    I think it’s really strange to think this question is inappropriate to ask here out of all the posts/letters on the site. Couldn’t you just tell everyone who writes here that it’s not Wendy’s job to fix their problems? Why this post in particular? Plenty of people posts about work questions, which everyone answers without telling them they shouldn’t have come here. Pretty much everyone who writes in has a problem that is best handled by talking to another person. We don’t tend to scold them for talking to Wendy and not the person in question. I think it’s an odd reaction.

    #718070 Reply
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    Bittergaymark

    Eh, I agree with Ron. The LW clearly is a lousy manager. And as such is (of course!) blaming the lowly employee for doing what EVERYBODY IN THE REAL WORLD DOES when saddled with a pisspoor supervisor. They went over the clueless hack’s head. I’ve had to do it a surprising number of times. NEWSFLASH — the higher ups have ALWAYS taken my side, too. Why! Because I was right and NOT the bumbling clueless idiot .. the employee will prevail here, too. Just wait for the update.
    .
    PS — to me that an employee would use their OWN personal day to attend a work related conference should be applauded rather tha frowned upon. But then I am not the LW and thus not so clearly threatened by my own incompetence.

    #718071 Reply
    Fabelle
    bella

    agree with flammincheeto and BBM. The part that’s particularly bothering me is the casual acknowledgment that maybe she should’ve just have allowed her to go… but instead of seeing this as her own mistake, she’s seeking to punish the employee for being “disrespectful”. There does seem to be some desire to keep this employee in her place?

    OP should be questioning why she didn’t listen to the employee/look further into the matter (instead of saying no over and over, because it “wasn’t pertinent to her role”– pretty robotic reasoning).

    #718075 Reply
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    Ron

    I think the letter falls short of what I would expecsht of a manager because: 1)she suggests no solution, 2) she has failed to take the obvious step of talking to her boss, and 3) she seems not to have adequately iistened to/questioned the employee requesting to attend the conference. The concept of an employee wanting to gain knowledge to expand her role seems alien to her.

    Every organization has its own culture. We can’t know her organization’s, but as a manager, it’s vital that she understand that culture. That’s vital for every employee, but much more so for a manager. Since her boss felt that attending the conference made sense, it seems that she and her boss see the culture differently. Talking that through were her boss contemporaneously, rather than writing in to an advice column and then deciding what to do, seems the very obvious choice.

    I do get the same hint that other posters did that LW feels threatened by her employee’s desire to expand her skills and job role. Tha

    #718092 Reply
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    Kate

    Not that I disagree with what some of you are saying, but the idea that she shouldn’t have even written in is a head-scratcher. How is someone supposed to get a different perspective if they don’t ask?

    I think this is a lot better use of the forums than, say, writing endless bullshit scenarios about your fwb oh wait maybe he’s your boyfriend maybe you’re certifiably insane oh he took the free water bottle at the hotel instead of offering it to you, what gives? Or starting boring AF posts about yourself for no reason, or posting questions you could have googled the answer to in 2.5 seconds.

    #718093 Reply
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    Kate

    But please everyone, keep letting it all hang out there on the forums so Wendy can one day hire me and I can afford my hair products and vacations and makeup without having to sit my ass at a desk all day and die prematurely.

    #718111 Reply
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    Fyodor

    “Not that I disagree with what some of you are saying, but the idea that she shouldn’t have even written in is a head-scratcher. How is someone supposed to get a different perspective if they don’t ask?”

    Right, the idea that you should impulsively run to your boss with everything that initially upsets you seems…not right.

    “I don’t understand. Why would LW write to an advice column rather than bringing her concerns to her boss? That just seems… strange. Like, if you don’t have the skill to talk about the situation, you seem ill-prepared to be a manager. I get it, you’re not certain. Managers have to make a lot of decisions absent certainty. You were hired to manage your group. That’s not Dear Wendy’s job. She isn’t being paid to do it.”

    I mean, to the extent that this is a revenue generating site, she’s kind of being paid to do it, or provide a forum for others to do it. This is a work question that depends heavily on personal dynamics and seems to me to be the kinds of questions that people often ask on sites like this. It’s not like she’s asking what kinds of tax deductions to use for warehouse equipment.

    #718112 Reply
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    Fyodor

    ” Talking that through were her boss contemporaneously, rather than writing in to an advice column and then deciding what to do, seems the very obvious choice.”

    This seems to me to actually be quite a poor choice. I would not “talk things through” with my boss contemporaneously in a situation like this, where I’ve been overruled behind my back. Getting thoughts from some disinterested third parties seems like as good an idea as any.

    #718115 Reply
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    Fyodor

    “Every organization has its own culture. We can’t know her organization’s, but as a manager, it’s vital that she understand that culture. ”

    Every question people write in about here involves some kind of specialized knowledge. We don’t know any of the friends, boyfriends, or husbands about which people write in, but I haven’t seen people harangued as dumbasses for expecting strangers to have helpful insights.

    #718134 Reply
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    Brise

    1) Training is important for employees.
    2) Don’t take this incident as a disrespect of you by your employee. You take it too personally.
    3) If her absence was not a problem, then why didn’t you let her attend a training?
    3) Go to your boss and ask for more information about that case, without making it a territorial problem. Ask what is the procedure on such cases? Who decides, on which criteria? How many training days are allowed, paid for, and so on.
    Clearly, there is a lack of framework on this matter.

    #718337 Reply
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    LisforLeslie

    Others have posted work problems here before – I’m just not seeing the issue with this particular letter. Management doesn’t come with a guide book for every situation – there is benefit to getting an outside opinion on next steps.

    LW – schedule time with your boss. In the most neutral way possible, explain that your employee made and end run and basically got a No from Mom and went to Dad. Ask your boss if he wants to approve training requests for your group going forward. If not, then ask that he refer such requests back to you.

    Then get your boss’ perspective on the situation and whether or not this merits having a discussion with your boss and the employee to discuss appropriate protocol and that going forward if she gets a No from you, it’s a no. Because honestly, if I had told one of my employees “No” and she reached out to someone higher than me, I’d be more than peeved, especially if I had that money earmarked for something else.

    #718409 Reply
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    Sunshine Brite

    This perspective and the various comments may be helpful when seeing this as well:

    http://www.askamanager.org/2017/03/i-got-fired-for-attending-a-conference-that-i-wasnt-invited-to.html

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