As I read this, I think of how things have changed over the years. The author of the Blog describes a Ladder Career, work, get promoted, move up in the organization. Today, we have a much more Lattice Career. Where moving laterally and maybe even downward can get you ahead faster. Another issue that is mentioned is that consistently throughout his career his managers were older than him. This is also has changed over the years.
One last thing I would consider and may not agree with the author, is at the end he suggests leave. I think that this is somewhat easier said than done. It is stressful enough to be in the situation, to add looking into a new job only adds to the stress. I might suggest looking at internal methods of dealing; like training classes on Handling Difficult Situations, Communication Skills, etc.
- I was interviewed for my first job in the company by human resources and ultimately selected to begin career alongside my first supervisor.
- I progressed through three promotions with other supervisors over a period of twenty years.
Throughout these relationships, I was able to develop a father-son relationship since all of my managers were years older than me. We established a working rhythm where we had trust in each other's decisions, we worked together to reach our goals. I was not concerned about being blindsided by my supervisor in meetings or performance reviews. He knew what I was doing and he had complete confidence in my ability to do the job. However, I made sure there were no surprises in any decisions I made. If I was concerned about a decision I was making, I informed my supervisor. If he made a suggestion I believed incorrect, I voiced my objections twice. If he did not change his mind, his decision was correct.
Then came the day I was inherited by my next supervisor. A friend asked how I thought I would get along with my new boss? My reply "if we do not get along, it will not be my fault." I believed this. I will let him know what I was working on, my goals and objectives and invited him to join me in some of my activities. He informed me that he did not intend to do so, he knew of my capabilities and trusted my ability. Wow, another home run. I kept him apprised of my activities and made sure there were no surprises he would learn about. But, he was about to retire.
All supervisors to date were all career company employees. The culture of the company was about to change. A new outside CEO was brought into the company. This CEO brought in a new group of leaders. With this change, over the next fifteen years I was inherited by three new supervisors, all new to the company.
My first new supervisor was formerly a government employee. She had no corporate experience. We got along fine. I helped her immensely. I protected her, I advised her, she trusted me. An important company issue cropped up. There was some in fighting among her peers. One gave me orders contrary to my supervisors. I told him he would have to discuss that with my supervisor. I would only react to her orders. We all ended up in the CEOs office. We resolved the issue. My supervisor was very grateful for watching her back. We had an excellent relationship during her tenure. Then, She moved on to another company.
My final years in the company, two more supervisors inherited me. The first brought her own confidant with her to the company. Her confidant was very protective of her. It was difficult to establish a trusting working relationship. I did my best to keep her informed, no surprises, but a harmonious work atmosphere was difficult. I could not gain her trust as in previous years. She only trusted her confidant. He was bad for the morale of all her subordinates.
My final supervisor inherited me before my retirement. Our relationship was rather cool. His concern was to anticipate what the CEO wanted and made decisions to that end and make no mistakes. I worked for him but never with him. He told me to do things that were against my ethics. I gave him all the arguments stating my case. He said the CEO wanted it. I told him that he would have to do it because I would not jeopardize my association with the client and hurt my reputation. My supervisor was concerned about reporting this to the CEO. I won the argument but probably lost the war. He was a yes man and did not want to report bad news to the CEO. This may have cost me in a bonus, I retired shortly afterward.
I was fortunate to have excellent supervisors in two thirds of my 36 years. I supported all of my supervisors, but it was difficult if they are insecure in their position. If so, they are also very controlling. They are afraid to take chances. You have to work through this, help them, but they may not trust you. They are afraid of you, that is why they want to control you.
If you cannot get through this, time to start looking. If my last ten years were my first ten, I would have looked for a new job.
By the way, my last ten years was one step below a Vice-President.
The purpose of this Blog is to gain perspective on different working relationships. There are many aspects that go into these relationships, and how you handle them can be a step forward in your career, or a step back and maybe even ultimately out of an organization.
Throughout the Blog, look for lessons that you can ween from it. Is your situation similar? What have you done in similar situations?