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Being left out at work thanks to a change of manager

After working for my current employer for 12 years, unfortunately my situation has taken a dip due to a change of manager, and I am now being left out of things.
As soon as I heard about the new manager and found out it was someone I knew but didn’t feel comfortable with, I asked for a transfer to another team, but was told to give her a chance.
Well, she has been here five weeks now and I have given her a lot of chances, but to no avail. I am really fed up. I keep having to go to her manager for assistance, but she says it is being sorted out. I know you talk about ‘kicking butt’, but which butt do I kick?

Melanie, Portsmouth

Deafauntie says:

Your last comment made me laugh! Goodness knows, we all need a laugh now and again. However this is a matter of hierarchy; usually, it’s the one above who kicks butt, not the other way round!
It sounds like a long-standing issue however, and the new manager has simply highlighted the cracks in the system. You mention in your longer email the various strategies you’ve tried over the years, and obviously, you do not want to look for another job in today’s climate.
The only suggestion I can make is that you write down for yourself a list of all the things that could be improved, and then reorganise them in order of importance, or urgency.
Then go to your current line manager with the first item (don’t let her know you have a list!) and explain carefully what you see as an issue, with suggestions on how you can both make it work. Note carefully who said what, and what was agreed – a confirmation summary email after each meeting is a good way to keep records – and see if you can follow it through. After six months of going through the list, you can measure your success.
One of two things will happen. Either your strategy will succeed, or you will have accumulated a list ready for a grievance procedure – but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

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5 responses to “Being left out at work thanks to a change of manager

  1. I had exactly the same problem in my job after 20 years I suddenly had to cope with a new boss. It does not matter what level you are at everyone has a “boss” unless you own the company!

    Anyway despite the fact that I too had “clout” as a boss myself. I eventually found myself being ignored and having to “protect my staff” from this new boss.

    I had a one to one meeting, I tried explaining. In the end I resorted to the emails using emails to explain my problem and always offered resolutions. All were ignored. Soon these became solid evidence again this person.

    In the end after about 6 months, I decided to resign. I would not advice you to do that extreme measure. I was already at the top level and could do no more. So it was not an easy decision.

    However you are in a better position given there is scope via the next manager further up and perhaps the next one further. Try and get things in writing only or always confirm any face to face meetings and agreements in writing and keep them as records. Eventually you should be able to approach HR Department and lodge a formal complaint under the EA2010 and ask that you be transferred or the Manager removed. They have to act on reasonable grounds providing you show evidence of your own reasonable actions and attempts to resolve problems.

    Bad Managers are sadly commonplace especially in tough times, and it is not needed.

    If you do these steps who knows you may show others how to behave reasonably and get things done. This is a skill, that you can demonstrate and eventually you may be able to use your experience of the above for future promotion! So think positive, put yourself in this Manager’s shoes and try and imagine how you would respond to a member of team who is not happy?

    More importantly I can almost say for certain, the there are others in the same team who feel the same way but dont have the guts to speak up. You do and go for it. It can only get better if you follow standard procedures.

  2. Hi Melanie. Is it possible that the reason your manager is leaving you out of things is because she knows you asked for a transfer? She’s unlikely to include you if she thinks you’re about to leave her team.

    I think there are 2 options open for you.

    One option is to work with more senior management towards a transfer.

    But I think the better option is to prove to your new manager that you are a valuable and committed team member. If you do this, I think you’ll find you’ll no longer be left out.

    Here are a few ways of achieving this.

    Be as professional as possible in terms of things like punctuality and following rules and processes.

    Participate at meetings. Speak up in discussions. Suggest agenda items.

    An excellent approach would be to find something in your department that needs improving – perhaps a process that has been in place for a long time but needs to be improved now that (for example) volumes have increased or IT facilities have changed. Document your thoughts about this opportunity for improvement in an email to your manager, copying her boss, and book a meeting to go and discuss it with her.

    I think this positive approach would be more effective than taking grievances up the management line and should therefore be your Plan A.

    Good luck, whatever your approach is!

  3. Hi Melanie

    You have already been given really good advice.

    Just to add, I don’t know if being deaf/communication is an issue. If your previous manager was good at ensuring you could follow meetings etc., it might be worth noting all this down. Your employer has to make reasonable adjustments, and if they were able to do it in the past, they should be able to carry on doing it! If they can’t – they need to be able to justify this. If this is an issue, I strongly recommend you check out this workplace adjustment agreement template and see if it works for you as a way of recording adjustments: http://businessdisabilityforum.org.uk/employee-engagement/employers-disability-the-law (it’s near the bottom of the page). Quite a few employers have adopted this approach -sometimes it’s called a disability passport, reasonable adjustment form etc.. If your organisation is a member of Business Disability Forum, you can also contact them for assistance. I should make it clear that I work for Business Disability Forum, plus am deaf – hence the tone of this advice!

    If relevant, I would also recommend separating out issues relating to your deafness, and issues related to her management style. That may, or may not, help in identifying a way forward.

    Good luck!
    Joanna

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