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Old 02.11.2007, 06:37
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Management vs. People Management

Good Morning,

since I don't seem to be able to sleep, I thought I'd share with you an episode I've went through in the last 48 hours. I guess this all boils down to management versus people management at the work place.

First, something about myself. I am a Finnish bloke ih his thirties working as a Functional IT Consultant, based in Zug. I do enjoy the job, defining things with customers and acting partly as a project manager. The travel, however, is really starting to get tough for the family and I've sort of decided to find and have found something else. So, to be honest, when this episode began, I was already half way out the door. This fact may unintentionally have affected my performance but by no means intentionally.

So we are doing this project together with my line manager (acting as the project manager) and a couple of other work horses like myself. As always, the schedule is tight, and some issues arise too late in the project. One of these problem points in my area was discovered a couple of weeks ago in a large meeting together with the customer. For some reason my manager decided to take things in his own hands, call "on-line" to another consultant and arrange a meeting with him and the customer the following week when I was on holiday. I thought, OK, this new bloke has very deep knowledge in this area and he will surely handle this ok. So I go to Ticino for a week and come back to work. Things have worked out great, I receive a meeting memo that we've reached a decision and everyone's happy. Excellent, now I'll just implement, I thought. Project phase was approved and ended as planned. This week on tuesday I step on the plane again and head for a two day workshop with the customer. First thig I hear from them is, let's go through the meeting memo from this definition meeting I was not present at. It seems that they have not understood half of what they've decided and we need to go things through once again. I present the two solutions to all of the team members and we decide to go the original way which requires some extra work and time. Marvellous, I think, and head for home happy as this thing is finally sorted out. I open my laptop in Switzerland and what do I see? An email from my manager who has absolutely no knowledge whatsoever of my area in this project stating that I've changed the scope again and we need to do this, that, something and then something else. At the end of the email he hopes that this is the last change we have on our plans. Oh dear, I've not changed anything, we are back to the original plan. It was his show that got us on the wrong lane to begin with. So he's posted this email to all our tem members and I reply in not so polite manner that maybe he should have listened to me before starting to manage so intensively a couple of weeks ago. I put his manager in there as well for escalation and some fun for myself as well (childlish and stupid, I fully agree).

At this point everything is still ok. We eat dinner at home and things look good. But what, it is the 31st! Bloody hell, I've forgot to resign! I've been so busy doing other things that I've completely forgot to decide whether to approve this offer I've got and resign on time. I send a couple of SMS's and yes the offer is still valid. It's 22:30. This is going to get dirty, I think. I read through my contract and verify that I need to do this now, or I'll have to stay a month later. I write an email (what an elegant way to resign) stating that my decision has nothing to do with the company or the projects I am involved in, it is personal. (yeah right, quite believable after the email they've received a while ago).

Note taken, my actions above, very stupid indeed.

So I enter the state of unemployment at 23:54 after sending my resignation email. Great! What will tomorrow bring, I think to myself.

In the morning I receive an email from my manager stating that I do not understand what I am leaving behind. OK, not so bad I think. I send him an email apologizing for my first email and stating that we can handle the situation with the customer but we should handle this sort of things more carefully in the future (nice comment for a fellow who himself resigns per email at 23:54 in the evening of 31st, uh?) Now things start rolling. I receive a long email listing of my bad sides, it seems that I mostly suck on everything. Damn, if I were him, I'd fire me! Why hadn't he done it before or perhaps give some feedback? I had also done everything wrong in the project we're working at. I just reply politely that now we've propably reached an ideal solution for both sides.

It's thursday afternoon, our unemployed foreigner is enjoying his social benefit sunshine. Another colleague calls telling me that the managing director had called and asked me to call him. So I do what I'm told. End result is that we postpone the resignation for a while and meet up and talk things over. His goal was a bit longer resignation period and he understands completely that in my current situation I wan't to do some chages. Sounds ok to me, so we can finish things up with quality. Resignation issue sorted. Change is on it's way and we call still work together in the old firm. Or can we?

After these developments, it's very unlikely that we can ever actually work together with my manager. He has stated how lowsy I am and I didn't include him in my resignation decision making. I've been asking to myself why? It is propably because he is a manager with absolutely no people management skills. Excels and Powerpoints he can produce but actually taking care of his employees, no priority whatsoever. So since long we've been in a situation where I go to someone else with my problems. We do not talk. This has to be a problem on both sides. Classical case of me being an extrovert and him introvert. On the management side people versus excels.

If the situation were different, and we actually talked to each other, this case would propably have not happended.

So besides sharing this story, I would like to hear how you handle these sort of personality clashes? It would be especially quite interesting here comments from the introvert side.

Cheers,
Pekka

P.S. I am taking this as a learning experience. I mean, if I start thinking how wrong this all went, I'd be blaiming myself for life!
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Old 02.11.2007, 08:18
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Re: Management vs. People Management

Nothing surprising there Pekka - most of us are living in Dilbert-land .
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Old 02.11.2007, 08:36
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Re: Management vs. People Management

You are not the first one with this experiece, and you wont be the last one. Be careful with your zeugnis.
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Old 02.11.2007, 08:42
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Re: Management vs. People Management

Glad you got that off your chest.

This is the scary bit:
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Damn, if I were him, I'd fire me! Why hadn't he done it before or perhaps give some feedback? I had also done everything wrong in the project we're working at.
You mean your boss is so incompetent that he should have fired you long ago. Now that is one dumb superior....
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Old 02.11.2007, 09:21
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Re: Management vs. People Management

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Glad you got that off your chest.

This is the scary bit:

You mean your boss is so incompetent that he should have fired you long ago. Now that is one dumb superior....
Bit of Finglish in my post I suppose. Just to be clear, I am not saying that this guy is by any means incompetent. It just does not work between us two. Maybe I just need to grow up. NOT!
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Old 02.11.2007, 09:33
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Re: Management vs. People Management

Now may be a good time to ask for a Zwischenzeugnis (if I understand correctly that you have delayed your resignation)
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Old 02.11.2007, 09:42
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Re: Management vs. People Management

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Bit of Finglish in my post I suppose. Just to be clear, I am not saying that this guy is by any means incompetent. It just does not work between us two. Maybe I just need to grow up. NOT!
Yup I've had this in England many times before, usually due to lack of their knowledge, inability to plan projects to reasonable timelines, lack of people skills etc. Another good one is low budgets huge job, which makes me smile.

It's all about saving face, rather than the manager going to their manager and saying look I need some advice/help they avoid this to look good?? makes no sense what so ever! Stupidity of some middle management really.

The probably really strange thing is if you bypass this guy and speak directly with his manager you'll find a different scenario. Perhaps you should point out positives/negatives of the project so far to head guy, obviously over a coffee and informally

He was out of order sending the negative e-mail, I'd have some fun returning the favour in a reply and cc his boss

Take no notice do the best you can and walk away into the sunshine.
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Old 02.11.2007, 11:06
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Re: Management vs. People Management

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The probably really strange thing is if you bypass this guy and speak directly with his manager you'll find a different scenario. Perhaps you should point out positives/negatives of the project so far to head guy, obviously over a coffee and informally
I think one bypass is enough! Anyway, it looks like things are getting back to normal and we've decided to take care of the project first and only after that kill each other.

I don't usually say bad things about people and I've managed to comment only positive things after the first outburst. The other side has done so as well. Difficult things for an engineer, I suppose. I'll read some Dilbert now...

BTW thanks for the support guys, although I am writing more as a therapy for myself...
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Old 02.11.2007, 11:20
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Re: Management vs. People Management

Also go and watch the movie Office Space ...

By the way ... I am in a similar situation right now as a project manager, first they beat me up for not following the scope, then they kill me for not thinking outside the scope.



(additional Swiss / American and Swiss / German culture aspects cloud the situation further)
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Old 02.11.2007, 11:32
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Re: Management vs. People Management

So you are leaving the current job or not? I'm confused...
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Old 02.11.2007, 11:42
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Re: Management vs. People Management

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So you are leaving the current job or not? I'm confused...
This is not yet decided, but the current situation is that my resignation is cancelled and I must wait for the 30.11 23:54 to do it again.

No, to be serious, I am not here to burn bridges, we'll talk this over and see how we proceed. One thing is sure though, with the current family situation I can't and really do not want to spend my weeks abroad for much longer. Man, the ski season is beginning!
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Old 02.11.2007, 11:45
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Re: Management vs. People Management

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Also go and watch the movie Office Space ...

By the way ... I am in a similar situation right now as a project manager, first they beat me up for not following the scope, then they kill me for not thinking outside the scope.



(additional Swiss / American and Swiss / German culture aspects cloud the situation further)
Death awaits us all during the project at some point I suppose. Important is to have some fun before it comes!
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Old 02.11.2007, 11:53
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Re: Management vs. People Management

My take on this is that if you decide to leave the company, it does not make sense to stay, it has been statistically proven by many HR consulting firms that a person in your position ( sent in resignation but asked to stay) will more than 51% of the time leave anyway within 12 months.
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Old 02.11.2007, 11:56
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Re: Management vs. People Management

Once you have resigned then go. If you stay then the company will feel blackmailed by your tactics and you will be out within the year anyway. This time probably on their terms.

dave

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My take on this is that if you decide to leave the company, it does not make sense to stay, it has been statistically proven by many HR consulting firms that a person in your position ( sent in resignation but asked to stay) will more than 51% of the time leave anyway within 12 months.
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Old 02.11.2007, 12:54
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Re: Management vs. People Management

My advice is to remember that your family is your first priority. But you need a graceful exit, with your Arbeitszeugnis and other paperwork intact.
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Old 25.11.2007, 22:36
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Re: Management vs. People Management

An update on this saga. We've decided to head back home at least for some time. Things are going ok at work now and the transition will go smoothly, I think.

The MD keeps on calling though and asking for some extra time here. Now would be the right time to use this classic I suppose...

“I will not make any deals with you. I've resigned. I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own.”
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