My buddy and I were both mid-level supervisors before he was promoted to run our office. When we were equals, there were no barriers between us. We could freely discuss things, even when we didn’t agree. Now that he’s the big boss, he’s put up a wall in a lot of our communications, especially the ones where he doesn’t want disapproval. He doesn’t have to say a word, but I can tell, whether we’re in a group meeting or a one-on-one. He makes it very clear he wants nothing but support and approval for a direction he’s taking or a decision he has made or plans to make. He even writes at the end of his texts and emails, “There is no need to respond to this.” It’s obvious that he puts that in there to prevent me from telling him anything that is adverse to what he’s saying or doing. I would have never thought he would be like this, but he is and it’s real hard to deal with. Any suggestions?
Respond to this
Dear Respond to this:
I sympathize with you and completely understand your disappointment in the big boss, but it is important for you to not lose sight of two things. One, he did not specifically communicate with his words or in writing that he did not want your feedback; and two, as a supervisor, you are in a position of authority and, thus, you have a certain responsibility to express your thoughts and opinions. Do not let his insecurities prevent you from doing your job and communicating what may not always be in agreement with him. Just be sure that whatever you say or write is well thought out and done with utmost respect.
I work with a guy that drives me crazy the way he speaks with what I call a forked tongue. When he wants me to help him with one of his projects, he butters me up with compliments about the quality of my work and even offers me access to his condo at the beach. At first, given his seniority and vast experience, I appreciated his compliments and appreciated that he recognized my efforts, but now they come off so empty because I’ve heard him say similar things to others who are notorious for being slackers and who he regularly badmouths behind their backs. I guess I could justify his actions by saying he’s desperate for help and would prefer to have some than none at all. But when I hear him praise others the way he has done it with me, I can’t help but be very angry and question his honesty. What do you think?
Fed up with forked tongue colleague
Dear Fed up with forked tongue colleague:
It sounds like you have this guy’s game figured out. You just need to determine whether or not it is in your best interest and/or your organization’s to go along with it. You can initiate a conversation with him wherein you calmly and respectfully tell him you are aware of his misleading communications. He may dismiss your concerns, but you can take solace in having let him know your knowledge of his deception.
© 2012 Rozanne R. Worrell