Feeling Under-Appreciated

Question for Ask the Workplace Doctors regarding a new manager: I don’t get along with a new manager who doesn’t give my team respect?

I work for WalMart and have been working here for a year and five months. At my store I am a Sales Associate. However, I haven’t had a problem working here until we received new managers. With these new managers I haven’t quite been getting along with them as far as how they treat me and give me the respect I deserve. So I want to ask: How do I handle working with a management team who does not give those under their positions respect or workplace equality?

Signed, New Managers Unappreciated

Dear New Managers Unappreciated:

Apparently you feel the new management team doesn’t treat you as well as the old ones did. Before I suggest ways to “handle” a new “management team who does not give those under their positions respect or workplace equality,” I am copying the answer I gave to the employee who said her boss gossiped. I suggested that “You get specific. By that I mean you talk to your boss about what specifically you have heard about yourself that she supposedly said or you heard her say about others. You ask her if it is true that she said. If she denies it, you say, ‘I hope you didn’t say that or anything like that. A boss should not gossip about any of us. If she has a complaint, she should talk to that person face to face.’  That’s what I want you to do with me and not to talk about me to anyone else. Can I count on that?”

This is a direct and forceful way to make a rule about communication between you and your boss. Will you do that, and also will you not complain about your boss and rather talk to her about what troubles you about her bossing? To gossip about your boss gossiping is exactly what you don’t want her to do about you. It’s human nature to get something off your chest that bothers you. That’s why you sent this question to Ask the Workplace Doctors. But it’s better to get specific that to generalize about disrespect and to get specific with the individual who you feel has shown that. I get the impression from your short question that there has been talk among those on your  team about the new manager. That’s not a way to solve your problem. The constructive way to deal with a complaint is to offer to help solve it. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS, and is not that what you want?

In short, I suggest you practice what you want from your management team and most of all you don’t badmouth the feeling you have that you aren’t treated as well as you think you should be. There is some truth in the maxim: You get what you give. So treat them with respect. Respect their authority. Walk in their shoes and do all you can to make their job easier. Feed back to them what they tell you about wanting you and others to be customer-friendly; to respond to customers questions quickly and to enthusiastically help them find what they want.

Informally ask for their advice and if you are doing what they want. Seek their advice about your own career direction, if there is a place for you at WalMart. Soak up what it takes to do their jobs. Talk with them about ways to cut waste; wasted supplies, wasted time, wasted energy and wasted money. That’s the kind of talk that new managers want to hear. Does this make sense? This is what I mean by my signature sentence: Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. Even Wal-Mart, the biggest company in our country needs ideas that make managers jobs more effective.

William Gorden