Dealing With Evil Managers – Part 2


thLast week I discussed the differences between an incompetent manager and an evil manager. What I should have mentioned is the dynamic of a manager with evil motives and is totally incompetent. Yikes! These managers are the ultimate nightmare!

So this week I want to discuss how we should deal with evil managers.

If you like your company and the work you do, but your manager is the challenge, then leaving the company is probably not your first idea. If everything about your job is awful, then it probably is your best option to just find a better job. It is not worth the hassle to get away from a bad manager but still be in a company and career that doesn’t fit either.

If you have decided to stay and try to change your circumstances, then my advice is the same no matter which course of action you take next. Take detailed notes of every interaction with the evil manager. Keep printed copies of all performance records, memos, performance discussions between you and the evil one. Make a list of all people that could speak as a witness or have experienced the same evilness.   And keep this all at home!

Now while I opine often about incompetent human resources, the truth is they are not all incompetent. They may be superstars at your company, but chances are if they were this evil manager would have been gone without any help from you. Since you are now working with a weaker human resource function, your ability to get satisfaction or help at all is not assured. But hear me loud and clear, you must try and give them the ability to do their job. Sometimes evil managers exist simply because human resources have never been informed.

So let’s assume you went to human resources and nothing has changed. I dare say that “nothing” is not the right word after you have turned in an evil manager because retribution has no limits with an evil manager that feels they have been attacked. So be aware that there will be hell to pay for turning them into the authorities; especially if the authorities couldn’t change the situation.

Depending on the nature of the issues involving the evil manager, you may want to file reports with the Labor Board, or the EEOC. These agencies are overworked, and although will get to your complaint, it might be months before they look into it. This is why everyone should have the name of a local employment law attorney and a personal injury attorney that practices employment law injuries.

By definition, until you suffer a financial loss most employment law attorneys won’t have the ability to take your case. If wage and hour laws not enforced caused you to lose money, then you have a financial loss. But if your evil manager screamed and yelled at you, verbally filleted you to the point of tears, honestly there is very little you can do to get you out of your personal living hell.

While I have been in the training, learning and performance improvement industry for the past 26 years, I realized that learning and behavior changes often require different approaches for different learning styles. In my everyday life this means how the training should be delivered to get a behavior to develop or change. When dealing with evil managers, driven by evil motives, it doesn’t matter if they are incompetent. The first thing that needs to change is their spirit.

Since it is not practical to perform an exorcism on your evil manager, the next best thing begins with serious consequences from human resources that usually require termination. When you need an attorney, the problem is deeper than just the one evil manager, and so the entire organization must be penalized. Not only does the company need to terminate the employment of the evil one, they will need to take a financial hit to the bottom line that motivates changes so this never happens again.

In my younger days when I was confronted with an evil manager, I would often respond with the same level of emotion that was being dished out in my face. I never sought legal help and fought my own battles. Because I know HR laws inside and out, I can defend myself against evil people. As long as I fight fair and play by the rules I am protected. It is a fine line I never want to cross in doing battle with evil that I go as far as to join “the dark side” in my quest for winning right over wrong.

But while I like a challenge, when it comes to advising other people, I say keep good records and get outside help if necessary. Evil does exist, but it doesn’t need to win.

Managers Avoiding Conversations


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Instead of talking with employees the old fashion way with your vocal chords, managers are increasing their use of email and texting as the preferred way of communicating with employees. While it may be quicker, it is causing more problems than the time being saved.

I believe the real reason for typing and not talking is not because of the time saving feature, but rather the avoidance of conflict. You have less feedback, both verbal and non-verbal when you type. There is less of an issue in tone, and yet you also lose the ability to add tone at a level it can be understood. Typists will tell you that tone is possible, and I agree, but it can more easily be interpreted incorrectly too in the written word.

When it comes to giving directions or feedback, verbal communication goes a long way in creating clearer understanding. If there are concerns, or uncertainties, verbal communication can afford a quicker resolution too.

But many will ask, what about documentation? Written communication does document feedback. But try documenting after the verbal conversation instead. Try, “as per our conversation today about being on time for work, we agreed………”

And too much documentation can come back to bite you too. You may be a real nag of a manager, so verbal communication can be a blessing for you, when the opposite is 20 emails in 4 days about a single topic.

A balance in the use of verbal and written communication from manager to employee should be used to build rapport, and get feedback. Using written for times you want to document something can be beneficial, but after you have allowed feedback. The best way to assess your current use is to evaluate your issues. The more issues, the more you need to go back to verbal communications.

Just my two cents for the week………………

When To Resign Your Job


People resign from their job when they are unable to endure working conditions any longer.  They resign when they have accepted another job.  And sometimes they resign to avoid a pending termination.  But how often have you ever heard someone resign because they are just incompetent?

We often see people at work and in government that are just in over their heads.  The job and the responsibilities are just becoming more than they can handle.  They are making significant mistakes, and yet because they have not yet been terminated, or in the case of elected officials can’t really be terminated, hang on forever to a job they cannot perform well at all.

I wish that more people would face up to the fact that not every job is suited for every body.  Sometimes we find ourselves in a role that is just more than we can handle, but because we need the job, or our pride is too big, we cannot resign for the good of the organization.  I wish these people would do what is best and allow the company to hire a more talented person.

While it is often the individual who has taken on a bigger role than they should have, I also fault the company for hiring underqualified people and expecting miracles to happen.  They want to hire cheap, and get frustrated when cheap didn’t buy them the skills and experience they needed.  If they terminate the person, they have to admit that it was a bad hiring match.  If they can hold out and wait for a resignation, they avoid the spotlight of involvement.

So maybe it is time to ask ourselves the tough questions, and if we are in over our heads ask for help.  If help won’t cut it, than tender your resignation.

The Value of a Good Day’s Work


While people will say that there are many other factors that make a job valuable to the employee, like commute time, vacation, recognition, a great boss and engaging work, compensation is still the glue.  Don’t believe me?  Try not paying people to work and see how long they stick around!

Yet, what is the value of a good day’s work for your job?  What should your employer pay you for a good day’s work so both of you feel like you are in a fair deal?  What should your employer pay you if you don’t get much done, or become a slacker?  Ah, you still want the same amount, don’t you?

It is funny how employers would never say out loud that they would not want to pay an employee to underperform, but they do it all the time!  They set goals for employees and work doesn’t happen.  They set tasks and objectives that never get done and just grip about it.  So what message is this sending to the employee?  Clearly it means you will get paid until we just get tired of the situation.  But for months or years, work and compensation are not coexisting with each other.

I see this when I consult, or at least try to obtain new clients.  They will often tell me all the stuff they need to accomplish in the next 12 months, and 12 months later, the list is still the same.  I’d feel sorry for them if they had not been paid either, but that is never the case.  They accomplished none of their business objectives and still earned their salary.  This is the fault, 100%, of the employer.  The value of a “Good Day’s Work” was established on the date of hire when the job and the compensation was agreed upon.  When an employee is allowed to do less than a good day’s work, and the employer continues to pay the same value, new terms are being created.

This is why years can go by before an employee loses their job.  Even the most ethical employee will slide on performance over time if allowed, and so it really lands up being the person paying compensation to get their money’s worth.

Dealing with Millennial Parents


I got caught up in a LinkedIn discussion last week over an article that was asking when we would stop bashing millennial workers and focus on management’s part in performance.  There are two sides to the challenge of working with any generational group, and I was trying to remind my fellow commenters that we should really focus on the single manager-employee relationship and not group everyone into one pot.

Then someone said something that opened my eyes to what a lot of millennial employees have been dealing with since childhood; that many of them have protective, hovering “helicopter” parents watching everything that happens to their child, even in the workplace.

So what happens when you take a manager, who lacks basic management communication skills and pair them with a millennial employee?  If the employee does everything perfect, the world spins just fine.  But if like most employees we make mistakes when we are learning, and our manager doesn’t know how to give feedback, or avoids it all together, things crash quickly.  Now add a human resource factor that only sees performance issues from management’s point of view and things can get toxic.

Everyone reading this has known of a manager that has screwed up and blames a staff member to take the heat off themselves.  If the employee that gets blamed realizes that they are being setup or treated unfairly, this usually gets cleared up quickly and the manager learns not to try that again.  But when the employee is newer to the workforce, like so many of the millennial generation, they often don’t realize they are being treated unfairly.  But their parents do!

Let me repeat this, millennial employees might not realize that they are being treated unfairly at work, but their parents do!  Now you are dealing with a millennial parent, a mother grizzly, and you are about to get eaten for lunch.

See millennial parents have experienced poor management and can see the signs.  They are well aware of employment laws, and what companies can and cannot do.  They are also the people who know who to call, where to report the violations to, and have the money to hire attorneys.  Ouch, why would you want to deal with all that?

Parental involvement doesn’t stop with school.  It is always there, and ever-present.  So if you are going to play games with a millennial employee with the assumption they are too naïve to fight back, I say beware.  Because even though the employee may not initially know they should fight back, once Mom & Dad find out, the fight is on.

My Favorite Part of LinkedIn


There are days I think I live on LinkedIn, looking for business opportunities and hoping to reconnect with associates from the past.  If I wasn’t so challenged at remembering names it might make the process easier, but over all I believe it to be a great professional online environment.

Now while I love learning about new concepts, or news in different industries from the many articles posted, my favorite part of LinkedIn comes from sharing in the success of my contacts.  It becomes so easy to congratulate someone on a work anniversary, a recent promotion or finding a better job.  Bam!  Everyday someone has good news to share, and it allows me the chance to quickly click a comment and tell them how happy I am for them.

Without LinkedIn, I would not learn about 90% of what is going on.  To begin with, LinkedIn is the one sharing the good news.  Sure you can post an update, but most of the time the announcement is because of an update to the profile itself.  If this feature was not part of the environment, then we would never learn of most of these events because most would never post an update.

Now while it is an honor to write a recommendation for someone I have had the opportunity to work with, that is a smaller group of people compared to the total contacts.  But often, I can endorse a skill or two for many of my contacts from the time we have spoken and interacted with each other.  Again, for me this is the chance to pat someone on the back, and I am one of those people who sees the value in recognition.

However, I also love the opportunity to not endorse certain skills that folks believe they have.  Without announcing to the world that they lack a particular skill, I can just overlook it.  I can then focus on the positive, and avoid the negative.

If you need a pick me up, browse the updates in your LinkedIn profile, and pass on a few compliments.  One a day, can make you feel, not to mention others feel, like the world is better than it is.

Dysfunctional Government Workers


Like many Americans, I am quite upset with the amount of dysfunction in many of our government entities, and in the individual performances of so many workers.  While I am very tempted to group all of them into one basket and say that they are all dysfunctional, that would be an unfair assessment for the many workers that bust their butts weekly for the American people.

Just like in corporate America, our government employs human beings.  So guess what, the slackers, and the thieves and cheats of the world work in both public and private industry.  While a lot of humans have high work ethics, many will get away with what they can get away with.  In other words, leaders need to step up and start managing.

I’ve often day dreamed about my first day as President of the United States.  There would be a very clear message sent that if you want to lie, cheat and steal then leave now.  If you do anything to screw with the trust the country has placed in you to perform your job well, I will make sure your employment is terminated.  If anyone tries to cover up a mistakes, all those involved will lose their jobs.  We work for the American people, not the other way around.  I would then make it perfectly clear, that I expect the same management style from everyone on the team, or they too will be looking for a new job.

I am flabbergasted at how many challenges are going on in our Federal, State and local governments.  I fault the leaders from the top down to the offending employee.  Where the hell is management?  Why are things so out of control?  Why are we growing the dysfunction rather than weeding it out?  Because there are no consequences for screwing up!

The CEO for the United States is the President, and yet I dare anyone to find me a company where the CEO is dealing with this much dysfunction and still has their job.  In any corporate function, the CEO would lose their job for any of these activities, and would be taking a lot of people with them on their way out the door.

Corporations are required to make money, while government is in place to spend money.  See the difference in the motivators here?  If government required each function to make a profit, or reduce expenses while improving productivity, we could turn things around.  Yet until we learn to start terminating the dysfunctional employees, no amount of positive changes will make a difference.  If I want my garden to grow healthy vegetables, I must constantly remove the weeds.