New Personnel Director Problems

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about unsure of position because of new personnel director:

I need your professional opinion! About 3 months our 4-clinic office got our first personnel director. He is retired navy and was personnel director for another dermatologist’s office. He is very good at what he does I have to admit. What I need your advice/help on is I am not quite sure of my position anymore. I am supposed to be the front office manager, but I now do not have any say when it comes to the front office employees.

How am I supposed to be front office manager and not manage the employees or even have a say so when it comes to them? I hope this makes sense. I can explain a situation that happened. One of our new employees called me and said that she had a personal issue she needed to handle in the morning and would be about 2 hours late. I thought of who would be in the office and came to the conclusion that they would be okay until she could get to the office (I realize now I should have sent her to the PD, but this wasn’t uncommon for me to help in those situations). I let him know and he said she needed to go another day or at lunchtime. I had explained to him how if I were her I would want to take care of the problem ASAP and that the office would be okay until she could get there. He insisted that she go at lunch (which isn’t reasonable for what she has to do) I told him that I was sorry but I didn’t agree with him. He called me and left me a very rude voice mail. I called him back and it wasn’t pretty.

I ended up having to call the doctor/owner of the offices. She said she agreed with me but can’t over step what he says. Which I completely understand, what I don’t understand is how am I suppose to guide these girls and how are they suppose to respect me as their manager if I have don’t have a say so? Should I just wash my hands of being front office manager? That’s what this is all starting to feel like. I could be over reacting and if I am I need a 3rd party to let me know!I have no problem standing up to an employee if it is something that I believe it. I guess I have been managing the employees and running the front for over 2 years before he came that I am now not sure where I stand or how I should that aspect of my job anymore. I hope you can help me and I hope this all made sense to you! Thank you for any advice!

Signed, Not Sure

Dear Not Sure:

I won’t try to untangle the conflict you had with your new Personnel Director. You’ll need to do that. But I will advise you seek to clarify your job responsibilities. Use this conflict as a starting point. Meet with your superior and/or Personnel with this request. Come with a written statement of what you think they were and should be; yet stay flexible to adjust to and/or negotiate. Also approach this as an opportunity to share your ideas on ways to integrate your work to make your and others’ work more effective and easier.And more, make this a time of mending fences.

Probably the Personnel Director and you need to talk about how you talk to each other. Talk about talk can help. What it entails is surfacing and spelling out unspoken ways of communicating; to say how you and he do and don’t want to be talked at or with.Work is hard enough without feelings of who’s up and who’s down, who’s in and who’s out, and who’s liked and disliked. Think and talk positively about how all might earn big WEGOS. By that I mean doing what it takes to save each others’ faces and egos. Working together with hands, head, and heart takes and makes big WEGOS.

William Gorden