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Old 03-30-2013, 06:43 PM   #21
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You need to ask to be moved to a position where you are an individual contributor and not involved with the responsibility of managing a team.
+1. This is what I did. I don't want to be responsible for somebody's screw up.
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Old 03-30-2013, 07:15 PM   #22
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While I understand your frustration with a subordinate almost screwing up, like it or not you own the problem, it just comes with getting the big bucks.

I would touch base with the VP on Monday and apologize - keep it casual - tell him you were having a bad week and overreacted and you understand that it is your responsibility and will make sure it doesn't happen again.

Then use this event as a teaching moment with your subordinate, tell her she screwed up big time and it make the whole dept, unit or whatever you call yourselves look bad and that she needs to learn to raise her hand when she is in trouble.

You might also consider whether you would be happier in a different role with less management responsibility.

I found it useful to view every problem as a "we" problem - we pooched something, we found it, we fessed up for it, we fixed it and we made use that we learned from it so it wouldn't happen again. **** happens but the important thing is just to make sure you have a good batting average.
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Old 03-30-2013, 07:29 PM   #23
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I will offer a slightly differnt opinion. The deadline was met, correct? If it was, then all of this is a tempest in a teapot. For those higher-ups that are on your back, you should point out that the deadline was met, so maybe their focus should now move elsewhere. If they persist, the next question to ask is: "Do you want me to fire her or do you want to do it yourself?" When they decline to fire her, reiterate no foul, no harm and ask them to get past it. Then have a talk with this lady and set new expectations and make sure she knows her job depends on it. You are not totally without blame for the near miss, but you are totally to blame with how you have handled the aftermath.
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:03 PM   #24
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I'll offer another tidbit to match the good advice so far. Whenever there is a high stakes deadline, consider asking your report to give the completed project to YOU at an earlier date. It is your job to monitor the work, and this is reasonable. Especially since it came in under the wire this time.

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Old 03-31-2013, 03:13 AM   #25
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I agree with this approach except the 'keep it casual' bit. It was a mistake and a teaching moment for everyone involved.
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Originally Posted by pb4uski View Post
While I understand your frustration with a subordinate almost screwing up, like it or not you own the problem, it just comes with getting the big bucks.

I would touch base with the VP on Monday and apologize - keep it casual - tell him you were having a bad week and overreacted and you understand that it is your responsibility and will make sure it doesn't happen again.

Then use this event as a teaching moment with your subordinate, tell her she screwed up big time and it make the whole dept, unit or whatever you call yourselves look bad and that she needs to learn to raise her hand when she is in trouble.

.
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Old 03-31-2013, 03:39 AM   #26
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I will offer a slightly differnt opinion. The deadline was met, correct? If it was, then all of this is a tempest in a teapot. For those higher-ups that are on your back, you should point out that the deadline was met, so maybe their focus should now move elsewhere. If they persist, the next question to ask is: "Do you want me to fire her or do you want to do it yourself?" When they decline to fire her, reiterate no foul, no harm and ask them to get past it. Then have a talk with this lady and set new expectations and make sure she knows her job depends on it. You are not totally without blame for the near miss, but you are totally to blame with how you have handled the aftermath.
If one of my subordinate managers posed the issue to me in this way and told me to "get past it," then I would find another manager who could understand that the senior manager sets the priorities, not the subordinate. Perhaps not the way the message was intended, but I don't think the senior manager would receive this message very well.
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Old 03-31-2013, 03:39 AM   #27
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Nothing to add. Be apologetic and contrite on Monday. Own it.

Then, per the OP, decide if you want to keep owning it or move to an individual-contributor role.
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Old 03-31-2013, 07:33 AM   #28
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I will offer a slightly differnt opinion. The deadline was met, correct? If it was, then all of this is a tempest in a teapot. For those higher-ups that are on your back, you should point out that the deadline was met, so maybe their focus should now move elsewhere. If they persist, the next question to ask is: "Do you want me to fire her or do you want to do it yourself?" When they decline to fire her, reiterate no foul, no harm and ask them to get past it. Then have a talk with this lady and set new expectations and make sure she knows her job depends on it. You are not totally without blame for the near miss, but you are totally to blame with how you have handled the aftermath.
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If one of my subordinate managers posed the issue to me in this way and told me to "get past it," then I would find another manager who could understand that the senior manager sets the priorities, not the subordinate. Perhaps not the way the message was intended, but I don't think the senior manager would receive this message very well.
heevy.... not enough info from the OP as to how close to the deadline it was... so maybe what you write is OK, but....

I agree with CBG that it is not a wise idea to tell a senior manager to 'get over it'... the higher ups are ASKING about why the deadline was almost missed... and the cost of this miss is $100K, so it is very important to them... so dismissing it is not wise at all....


We also do not know if the deadline mentioned is a regulatory deadline and an internal deadline was missed... IOW, anything that I did that had a regulatory deadline I needed to have done a long time before to give the higher ups the ability to review... then things were filed timely... I think the higher ups did not get to review what was done.... and this is the real problem... but as mentioned, we really do not know...
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Old 03-31-2013, 07:55 AM   #29
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It won't seem like it with what follows, but it saddens me to read a story like the OP. I know posts like the OP are intended to elicit support but there are so many red flags...
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  • One of my staff...just barely made a deadline and missing said deadline would have been about a 100K hit to the company.
  • With this particular task I literally have nothing to do with the completion of it.
  • She was informed of the deadline and when it became clear that she may not be able to handle it, was offered assistance which was declined.
  • I am starting to get everything in writing with this person to CYA myself.
You either don't understand or don't accept what it means to be a supervisor/manager, as others have pointed out.
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Originally Posted by accountingsucks
  • Honestly, it felt good but I know this is inappropriate behavior and I intend to apologize on Monday.
  • I also have no concern over what impact this will have on me as I am pretty in-expendable and generally everyone has got good things to say about me. I have plenty of "FU money" stashed away if the worst case plays out.
  • I literally do not care about 99% of the issues at work.
  • I think I have crossed over to the literally do not give a crap side of the fence which probably is a sign of something.
No organization benefits from having people with attitudes like this (and co-workers know it, it doesn't have to be said), it's a cancer on an organization. You read countless posts here about people who hate their jobs, having a supervisor/manager with an attitude like this has to be one of the primary reasons why.

And believe me, no one is "in-expendable." CEOs are shown the door all the time. I personally watched dozens of people who grossly overestimated their value demoted, terminated or "voluntarily" driven out (I did all three after trying very hard to improve the situation first) - and the organization not only survived, they usually got better when all was said and done.

Sorry but if you were part of my organization, you'd be getting a lot of my attention. If you still feel as your OP says, it is time for a change for you one way or another, make it a positive change while you've still got the ball.
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Old 03-31-2013, 08:23 AM   #30
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......And believe me, no one is "in-expendable." CEOs are shown the door all the time. I personally watched dozens of people who grossly overestimated their value demoted, terminated or driven out - a the organization not only survived, they got better. ...
I found this out in the last year or so. When I decided to retire all my colleagues kept telling me how valuable and indispensable I was and that they didn't know what they would do without me. I responded that while I appreciated their kind words, that what I was doing wasn't rocket science and that the firm had a lot of smart people and I was sure they would be fine. But just in case, I was willing to do some consultations here and there.

Have yet to get a call. I guess they figured it out.
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Old 03-31-2013, 08:31 AM   #31
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So take that, OP! No softheaded sympathy to be found here, at least not today.

Ha
Do you think any is warranted in this case? Are people supposed to give accurate, useful advice and guidance, or just misguided sympathy?
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Old 03-31-2013, 09:39 AM   #32
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Do you think any is warranted in this case? Are people supposed to give accurate, useful advice and guidance, or just misguided sympathy?
On a forum where the primary goal is to get the heck out of Dodge as possible?

This thread reminds me why I never thought much about going into management. Crap from above, crap from below...

As for practical advice, if management says it's important, it is...
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Old 03-31-2013, 09:50 AM   #33
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Do you think any is warranted in this case? Are people supposed to give accurate, useful advice and guidance, or just misguided sympathy?
Obviously, people are going to say whatever they wish, even if the exact same thing has already been said 30 times.

I have no real knowledge of organizational behavior, so no basis on which to form an opinion.

I would say however that OP may feel that a dump truck suddenly lost a load of bowling balls right onto his head.
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Old 03-31-2013, 10:54 AM   #34
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Someone who thinks they have no responsibility for their subordinates' performance probably needs a load of bowling balls dropped on their head.
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:23 AM   #35
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I would say however that OP may feel that a dump truck suddenly lost a load of bowling balls right onto his head.

If we didn't respond in this manner, wouldn't we be forgoing the board's tradition of "piling on?"
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:38 AM   #36
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To the OP - my years at Megacorp as a manager, team leader (same as manager but without personnel responsibility), and project manager taught me one key thing: uppper management does not like surprises. And as a manager/leader. a key aspect of your job is to avoid surprising your upper management.

Your are responsible for the deadlines your subordinates commit to, and if they are having trouble you either get them help or you get someone else to take on the the responsibility. Sometimes folks decline help because they feel it will show they are not up to the task (been there, done that). Sometimes they decline because they feel it will take away from their "glory". As the supervisor your job is to focus on getting the job done, even if that means taking a more active role in the situation by getting them help.

Meanwhile, as soon as you sense an issue, you need to convey this to upper management - not in a transparent way, but in a warning way - along with the actions you intend to take to address the situation. You simply cannot say "its their fault" as you are responsible as well. The earlier you do this, the better upper management will see you as doing the job they put you in the position to do. When you blow up as you did, they are going to wonder if you are right for the position, or for the company. As others have mentioned, *never* assume that you are not expendable - I have come across a lot of folks like that who were very surprised.

If you really are fed up and do not give a crap, IMHO you need to go talk to your management about looking for another assignment. They have no assurance that, if something like this happens again, you will not do the same thing. It is better to own up and take the first step of finding a position more suitable for your talents that does not leave you as frustrated. You will do both your upper management and the people you supervise a favor.
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:38 AM   #37
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When senior management obsesses negatively about something that met a deadline, and would then be incapable of accepting some pushback from the manager then I would seriously question the wisdom of these senior people. These are not people I would ever want to work for. I expect people who work for me to have a spine and to push back in a situation like this one, provided we are attacking the problem and not the person(s).

Telling someone to get over it or get past it is in fact inadvisable. But as I wrote earlier, ASKING them to get past it is IMO diplomatic.
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Old 03-31-2013, 11:41 AM   #38
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AccountingSucks,

I don't judge you negatively. Would you be happier in an "individual contributor" role, though? Might even be worth a drop in pay.

And no, I don't think you are a bad person.
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:01 PM   #39
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Someone who thinks they have no responsibility for their subordinates' performance probably needs a load of bowling balls dropped on their head.
+1. Sorry to be blunt about it but I have worked for and with people like this, and they drag everyone else down around them and make w*rk more miserable than it needs to be. Its great that OP has FU money, but his subordinates or peers may not, so he should consider making a change as he is impacting the livelihoods of people around him as well as himself.
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Old 03-31-2013, 03:10 PM   #40
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When senior management obsesses negatively about something that met a deadline, and would then be incapable of accepting some pushback from the manager then I would seriously question the wisdom of these senior people. These are not people I would ever want to work for. I expect people who work for me to have a spine and to push back in a situation like this one, provided we are attacking the problem and not the person(s).

Telling someone to get over it or get past it is in fact inadvisable. But as I wrote earlier, ASKING them to get past it is IMO diplomatic.
You could be right, but more likely there's another side to the story. In my 33 years managing people, it was very, very rare that anyone ever told me the whole story themselves. For some unknown reason , they shared the facts that supported their POV, down played (or omitted) other circumstances, all from their understandably biased perspective...we are only human.
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