How Can I Get Fairness From My Team Leader?


My manager is located in Mexico. At my U.S. location I’m one of three individuals who perform similar work. My manager assigned one of my coworkers as the team leader and they have weekly teleconferences regarding business performance and strategies.

When I looked at the corporation directory, I show up as an employee of the team leader. He signs my time sheets, and expense account and is currently planning to write my Performance Evaluation.

How can I expect any fairness regarding future growth and promotion possibilities when my coworker (team leader) is my judge, having access to privileged information that my other coworker and I simply don’t have?


Worried About My Future


Dear Worried About My Future:

I rephrased your question to clarify it a bit. I don’t know what you mean by the word “part” in the context of “Judge and Part”, which you mentioned twice. If knowing that would make a difference in my response, please write back and let me know. It’s just not a phrase or word with which I’m familiar.

I have an idea the main issue is that you are irritated and frustrated that a coworker was made team leader and you are now subordinate to someone who was once your coworker. That would be very frustrating, especially if you have had some conflicts with that coworker in the past or feel that his promotion was not justified.

However, the truth is, he is your supervisor now according to the table of the organization, and as a matter of reality, based on the functions he performs (signing your time sheet, doing your evaluations, etc.) In almost all workplaces, supervisors are appointed from within the staff. So, there will always be that concern about fairness–and perhaps it is justified if your manager isn’t present to know about your work.

There are some things you can do to help ensure you are rated fairly and treated fairly in other ways.

1. Be clear about how you’re being evaluated and upon what you are being evaluated. Get a copy of your last evaluation or a blank copy and look at the categories.

Track your own work and be able to show the quantity and quality of the work you do. If your work is unstructured so there are no statistics to tabulate, make notes about the projects you’re involved with, the problems you’ve had to overcome, the positive comments you’ve received, etc. That way you will have something to give your supervisor before evaluation time.

I always remind employees that if they can’t figure out how to show what excellent work they’ve done, they certainly can’t expect their Team Leaders or supervisors to do it.

2. Communicate with your Team Leader. You may not have a friendly relationship, but he obviously wants work to be done well and for goals to be met. Through your success he will be more successful, so it’s to his benefit to work with you not against you.

3. If you have concerns about key information being kept from you, ask about it. The Team Leader and the Manager will talk about things that may not all be shared with every employee. But, if you feel you are missing some vital information, let your Team Leader know you need more information.

Consider asking for a weekly or every two week meeting with the other employee and the Team Leader, in which all three of you discuss the work, ways to be more effective and efficient and the latest news from the Mexico HQ office.

If you are having meetings, use those to show and interest in all that the Team Leader has found out that could help your work or the work of the team of three in your office.

4. Your Team Leader may feel awkward about being put over his coworkers (maybe not). If you think he does feel that way,you could help that by letting him know your focus is on doing well and building your career. Let your Team Leader and others know your career aspirations.

Talk to HR or to other employees you respect and find out the steps for getting promoted or whatever it is you want to do. Be not only a great employee but a great team member. Above all, show that you are ready to both follow and lead.

Best wishes with this situation. As things develop and you have the time or inclination, let us know what happens and if you are able to feel better about the situation.

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.