How to Deal with My Manager?

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about boss nepotism and favoritism:

I have been with this job for three years and my present manager used to be my team leader. I used to be in his inner circle but lately I feel I’m being discriminated. He got promoted as our manager; then to replace him, he promoted his brother-in-law and his best friend and recently hired his uncle to the team.

I read in our company’s handbook that hiring in-laws and relatives is prohibited, specifically if the position is subordinate to his position. But sensing the vindictiveness attitude of this manager and his lack of professional managerial skills, I find it hard to report this to upper management. This guy has the ability of making up stories to the point of distorting facts just to make himself look good and correct.

I have numerous kudos and thank you notes from our clients for doing exemplary service to them, but not one has received an acknowledgment from him. One time a client of mine told me that he send my manager an email about how helpful I was to him, and he was wondering why he didn’t receive any acknowledgement or reply from the manager. So I confronted the manager to learn if he received it the client’s email. He told me, “Yes he received it and he forwarded it to HR Dept to be included in my file.

“I know I am good at what I do from feed back from our customers and clients. I have known them even before our manager came in. I know he is trying to block my opportunity to grow in this company. How can I deal with this kind of manager? Is it proper to report to HR about his biases toward his relative employees? What do I need to do to be noticed by upper management and magnify my contribution to the company? Is his action of hiding my kudos notes from our client’s grounds for him to be reprimanded? Is their legal basis for filing a discrimination case against this manager?

Signed, Way Out of the Inner Circle

Dear Way Out of the Inner Circle:

Your frustration is understandable. Up front please know, as our site clearly states, we do not provide legal advice; however, I doubt that you can file a discrimination case on the basis of the data you describe; hiring one’s relatives or failing to acknowledge a client’s good words about you. That leaves the other two questions you pose: Is it proper to report to HR about your manager’s hiring relative? What do I need to do to be noticed by upper management and magnify my contribution to the company?

A partial answer to getting recognized is to report to HR that your boss hired his brother-in-law, his friend and uncle. You then have made known your dislike of your boss. That will get your recognized. It can also make it known that your think your achievements are not acknowledged and that you want to be seen as a “go-to-guy.” So should you go to HR? You assert that you “know” your boss lied when he told you he had forwarded a particular kudos of your client to HR. How do you know? Did you check with HR? It is apparent that you need to talk to someone in the chain of command, and probably HR is the best place to begin. How you go about this is an important consideration. I think generally I would want a subordinate to come to me first before by-passing me to make a complaint about me. Whether to first approach your manager about your displeasure with him is something you will have to decide.

But before you do anything, would it not be wise get your kudos in a row and also take the time to build numbers a case of what you have achieved; dollars made for the company? When and if when you confront your manager and/or go HR or upper management, it would be wise to approach such a meeting as seeking career-path counsel, rather than as an attack on your former friend who has become a boss who has hired relatives and a friend. Also make copies of the company policy statement that you think prohibits hiring relatives. Make several copies of all these items. Is it possible if you first confront your manager about him blocking your opportunities within the company, he might demonstrate that he does not see it the way you do; and that he can prove this in concrete ways? For example, he might help you make a case for your promotion or transfer within your workplace to advance your career. I doubt that you will first confront your manager because undoubtedly you predict that confronting him is to invite vindictive reprisal. Are you familiar with what HR can offer? For example, an excellent HR site features many articles, such as How to Make Your Current Job – Work · How to Get Along With Your Boss · Ten Tips About How to Keep Your Job http://humanresources.about.com/od/careerplanningandadvice1/a/time_to_go.htm?nl=1 Should you decide to go directly and secretly to HR, you might achieve help of a similar kind of help possible but not likely from your manager; help with promotion and/or transfer.

So far, I assume that your have done nothing except for ask your manager if he received one email of praise. Do I understand that you only have bitten your tongue and been a good soldier? Or have you badmouthed your manager, barely hid your anger, and/or avoided him?

Now if you no longer are content to boil within, you should know that how you choose to “fight” can brand you as a trouble-making complainer or a determined/positively motivated employee who wants to be recognized. I wish you well in your choice of what you will do next. Do quietly seek additional advice from someone within your workplace, someone who can keep a confidence. Do not allow your frustration to fester and escalate. Do think and act with the thought expressed in my signature sentence: Working together with hands head and heart takes and makes big WEGOS. If you like after a few weeks, share what you do and how it works or fails.

William Gorden