Jim “Worthless” is an Engineering manager at a large company. That is not his real last name; it is what his employees call him behind his back.
Jim is known for making commitments and then handing them off to his people to complete with very little direction. If you were to talk to his employees they would share their frustrations with you.
The employees sometimes feel ill equipped to handle the situation because they are not aware of all the details. Consequently, the customer service is poor and it is a reflection on them.
One day, Ron came into Jim’s office to ask him some questions about another mess that was dumped into his lap at the last minute. As was the norm, Jim proceeded to tell him he was too busy to talk to him right now and asked him to come back in five minutes.
At the appointed time, Ron returns to the office, only to find that Jim is gone. No one knows where he is or when he is going to return. This is not the first time this has happened; it is a common tactic that Jim employs with his people.
Ron is disillusioned and decides it is time to take some action. The next time he sees Jim, instead of asking for a meeting immediately, Ron tells Jim to come find him when he is ready to talk. Guess what – Ron waited a long time for Jim.
Was this a good decision for Ron to make? As it turns out, Ron soon became an ex-employee. Did he get let go because of what he did in this situation? We may never know for sure.
There was a more fruitful option for Ron to consider in this situation. It is not unreasonable to ask for your manager to help you through a tough situation.
We sometimes forget that bosses do not have all the answers. Your boss may be giving you the messy problems because they think that you can solve them better.
Bosses do not like to be put “on the spot”. Giving the boss some wiggle room can go a long way to getting more cooperation.
Try not to think you are getting dumped on, but that you are being presented with an opportunity to meet a new challenge. If you continue to see a pattern with the same problems over and over, look for ways to correct the system or process.
If you find that your manager avoids your impromptu visits into the office and you really need their opinion, it might be because they feel like they are being ambushed.
Consider writing down the issues you want to discuss and send it to them in a letter or by email. Request a time to meet with them to discuss the issues. Identify what information is missing and allot time to do some brainstorming on solutions.
By giving the boss “think time” before asking for a meeting or response and you might find them to be more receptive to giving you the information you need to be successful.