Get advice on how to deal with jerks at work Check out the book 'Jerks At Work' and other titles by Ken Lloyd Ph.D. Return to the homepage Learn more about Ken Lloyd, Ph.D. Submit a question to Ken Lloyd, Ph.D.

You asked, Ken answers ...

This item is filed under these categories:
Control Freaks Manipulation Decision Making Who's In Charge?

As a manager myself, I was annoyed to learn that my manager filled an important position under me without including me in the process. When I complained, he told me that I should focus on my main work responsibilities and be thankful for his willingness to take the time to do the hiring. What should I do now?

Your manager's behavior is right out of lesson number one in the controlling managers' playbook. The idea is to usurp the employees' major responsibilities, and then label the employees as ingrates if they question such benevolence.

The first step is to meet with the new hire and conduct your own interview. This is not a job interview, but it is similar. The objective is to discuss this person's work history and gather some insight into his or her experience, expertise, and style. The meeting should include an opportunity for the new hire to question you, along with a discussion of the expectations and standards for the position at hand.

It is easy to have negative feelings toward the new hire because of the way he or she was brought on board, but it is not this person's fault that your manager played the control card. Remember to keep an open mind in dealing with this person, as you may have an unconscious wish to see a failure just to get back at your manager.

You also need to meet with your manager. Thank him for the time and effort that he put into the hiring process, and indicate that you agree with his comment that you should focus on your main work responsibilities. Then tell him you believe hiring key personnel is one of those responsibilities.

Give him specific information regarding the costs of his current level of involvement in this process, such as the loss of his time, undercutting your authority, and sending a questionable message to the applicant. Give him equally specific information regarding the benefits associated with placing this responsibility in your hands, such as through more productive use of his time, increased likelihood of a successful hire, and a better chance for team-building with the new hire.

Although you cannot change the personality of the controlling manager, you may be able to change his behavior in specific situations by letting him see the costs and benefits associated with his actions.

Comment on this item

Your name (optional)
If you leave this blank, we'll list you as "Website visitor"

Your comments
Please keep your comments focused on the topic. Thanks!