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Thread: Work question

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
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    Tabbyville, PA
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    15,842

    Work question

    Hi all, I know its been too long. I have a question that I don't know where else to ask.

    I have recently been promoted to manager (yay!) but in the process, changes were made that created a unique situation. I'll try to explain as simply as possible. I was hired by a man I'll call Tom ten years ago. I became Tom's assistant manager 6 years ago. Tom was a nice guy but lousy manager. He was demoted 3 years ago and shuffled to another department. I'd talk to him from time to over the the past few years and we remained friendly.

    Our company was sold a few months ago, and I was promoted to manager, while Tom was demoted one more step (yikes) He is making very little money and quite frankly, lucky to still be employed. His teammate from the other department told me I'd "have to keep him motivated" and I laughed. I told her that I already knew he was lazy.

    Oh. My. God. I guess time allowed me to forget just how lazy he is! He doesn't care about anything. He just goes through the motions. He doesn't stay on task, and my assistant manager hates him. She worked with him a few months before his original demotion, so she feels awkward trying to manage him. How does she think I feel? I'm his manager and he hired me ten years ago!

    How can I get Tom to get on board? His management style is vastly different than mine. I'm always busy, always doing projects, and always enlisting help. He'd be happy to sit and chat with customers all day, not achieving anything. I feel SO awkward.

    Has anyone suddenly become a boss over someone who was formerly their boss? What did they do?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Location
    Belmont, MA, USA
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    40,818
    Never been in that situation, thankfully. Maybe ask him to come in early some day and schedule a meeting with yourself, the assistant manager and him. Be truthful, ask why he is working there, if he still wants his job. If he does not, ask him to tender his notice. If he does, outline goals for him, and explain they must be met. He likely is fully aware of his poor performance, and is just there for the paycheck.
    I've Been Frosted

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    I would give him one chance, tell him what is expected consistently, each and every day. Only tell him once. I am always a glass half full person but... I do not expect he will change his behaviour one hair. Been through this twice, they either retire, quit or get fired. As you said, the pay check is all that they want, no interest in the job itself or pride in a good days work. Only my opinion, I'd fire him/her. Good riddance, onward.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Illinois, USA
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    All I can say is, keep good notes. I'm wondering why he just goes through the motions and doesn't stay on task. Maybe he is depressed or feeling embarrassed about being demoted and now reporting to someone he had hired. Maybe he doesn't enjoy the job anymore but "better the devil you know" instead of trying to find something new- especially if he's not young. It's hard to get a new job in middle age. I hate to suggest this, but maybe he is waiting to be released from the position so he can file for unemployment. Maybe he is just trying to hang onto his fringe benefits. I like the idea of a meeting with you, the assistant manager and him.
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  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    Tabbyville, PA
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    Thank you for your answers. It's been an exhausting week. We had the president of the company fly in to visit the store. We cleaned, organized, trashed so much stuff, and cleaned some more. The hard word showed, but unfortunately, only a couple of us busted butt. A couple people (my old manager was one) put as little effort into it as possible. Sigh.

    On a positive note, the visit went incredibly well.

    On a negative note,we had about 2" of snow and Tom called off. Really? So I was enjoying my first day off in ages, and I drug my butt outta bed to cover for him. i definitely need to sit down and talk with him. I just don't know how the conversation is going to flow. I have a great relationship with my hr manager, so I think I'll call her first for her feedback. There a reason she demoted him again. Maybe she will have good ideas as to how the conversation should go.

    Thanks again!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
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    Belmont, MA, USA
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    AT least you have a plan moving forward!
    I've Been Frosted

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts; USA
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    Absolutely have HR in the loop! Good job thinking of this, to talk w/ her first.

    For me, it sounded like the guy is really depressed, and just doesn't know WHAT to do about the mess he is in, work wise. As someone else mentioned, his age may be a factor. HR may know about family issues, health issues (not sure she can discuss w/ you, though). She will definitely have insight into the situation. And depending on her own experience, she may have suggestions for you as well.

    I also agree you need to develop a list of goals for him to meet during a 12 month period. Are you the one responsible for his annual review? Then check when you are to do his review (good question for HR!), and have a subset of goals to meet by then. If the review date is 8 months or less from now, you need that smaller set of goals, to make YOUR life easier when it comes time for the review. Have 3 copies, and one needs to have a line at the bottom for him to sign it. When you go over this with him, you have one and he has one; this is so each of you can make notes as things get discussed. At the end bring out the 3rd sheet, which has the added line for him to sign and date. Have him sign the one, and you keep that as well.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    California
    Posts
    12,150
    I have never been in this situation. But it seems to me that if he is being demoted then he has to deal with the consequences that come with that. Like you being his manager now, even if he hired you 10 years ago. I know it is very awkward for you and your assistant, but he put himself in this position. You are there to do your job (and apparently his too). And from what I've gathered about you over the few years I've "known" you, you have a wonderful work ethic and enjoy your job. Don't let him change that.
    Discussing with HR is a great idea. So she knows what you are dealing with and when the time comes to talk to him about it (either during a review or not) HR is aware.

    Good luck!!
    Our goal in life should be - to be as good a person as our dog thinks we are.


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