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Old 05-16-2014, 06:29 AM
 
212 posts, read 933,869 times
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Hoping to get thoughts from others on this.

I'm in a bit of an awkward situation, bear with me while I try to describe it. When I started my new job, I was doing work in two types of areas - let's call these areas A and B. About 80% of my work was in area B and the rest in area A. The team I work in was a bit of a mess back then, and the manager who oversaw my work left the company for a new job, leaving me with no one to report into for a few months. There was a manager for the B department, but he didn't oversee my work. I did a few projects for him, but he had his own employee (same level as me) check it.

Along comes a manager who specializes in area B. Our team was restructured so I would work with and report into manager B. All fine and good.

However, now manager A frequently tries to get me to work on his projects and support his team, despite the fact that he was never my direct manager. My responsibilities in area B are growing, and I don't have time to work on area A projects.

I expressed my annoyance to my actual manager (manager A), and she told me to take my concerns up with manager B. A few times I told him I was too busy to work on his projects and he brushed it off while saying "well, you can get to it when you have time." Since I am a mid-level employee, I feel like I have little leverage over a manager. I'm annoyed at my current manager for not speaking up for me.

So what do you think? Do you think manager B has a right to assign me work? Am I right to be irritated with manager A for not speaking up on my behalf?

I really can't stand the idea of having two managers. Do others agree with me or am I just being whiny?
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Old 05-16-2014, 06:40 AM
 
11,038 posts, read 19,905,042 times
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I am confused. Your second paragraph says you report to manager B, however your fourth paragraph states that manager A is your manager, which contradicts para three, which states manager A was never your manager.
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Old 05-16-2014, 06:57 AM
 
6,091 posts, read 6,958,528 times
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A and B make no sense. You lost me.
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Old 05-16-2014, 07:29 AM
 
Location: Arizona
5,959 posts, read 7,090,093 times
Reputation: 7952
Confusing narrative aside, your current manager should not have told you to take it up with the other manager. She should speak to the other manager and ask him to either stop assigning you work, or to go through her for such assignments.

Tough situation if you can't get your manager's support. Do they report to the same person? If so, and the situation is bad enough, you might want to seek help there, but be aware that will not make you popular with either manager. It could backfire and make you appear in a bad light to all three of them. I suggest that only as a last resort.

I would probably keep trying to get your manager's assistance. If she defers again, you might try asking if, when you speak to the other manager, you can tell him your manager asked you to speak to him (the other manager) because he's asking you to do work without her (your manager) approval. That question alone might make your manager realize she should deal with the problem herself. If not, and she tells you to go ahead, talk to the other guy and let him know you need your managers approval on any tasks he wants done. If, however, she says not to say that to the other manager, you've got a bigger problem. Either your manager has no stomach for a confrontation with the other one, or she is giving tacit approval to the situation. Neither is good. I think I would then ask if these tasks from the other manager have her approval. If she says no, then you are completely justified in telling her, bluntly but respectfully, that it is not your place to confront the other manager and you're not comfortable doing so. Ask if perhaps the two of you could talk to her supervisor together. Again, this could get her to realize this is her problem to deal with. If she says yes, they are approved, you will need to perform the work. If doing so causes you to not get things done your actual manager wants, or over works you, or is outside your job responsibilities (be careful here, your responsibilities could be whatever your manager says they are), then point that out to your manager every time it happens. Be aware, though, that if your manager approves of this situation, you may just have to live with it. It's bad management on her part, but we all have to deal with that sometimes.
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Old 05-16-2014, 07:37 AM
 
Location: St Louis, MO
4,677 posts, read 5,285,082 times
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So, which manager writes your reviews and assigns your raises? The manager who oversees 80% of your work or the one who oversees 20%?
Either way, you do what the manager who writes your reviews and assigns your raises tells you. You say "no" to the other manager, make them use chain of command.
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Old 05-16-2014, 07:47 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
30,455 posts, read 23,854,588 times
Reputation: 38690
These managers need to work in either a transition plan or clarify your duties if you need to work for both departments. It sounds like the two managers have you in the middle of a tug-of-war and there needs to be clarification.
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Old 05-16-2014, 08:12 AM
 
Location: Texas
1,029 posts, read 1,351,480 times
Reputation: 1991
I had the same problem. I started having weekly meetings with my direct manager and listed all of the tasks on my plate, then asked for prioritization. This is the time for your manager to choose which ones are more important, and if none of the other manager's tasks make that list, you are covered.
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Old 05-16-2014, 09:56 AM
 
3,491 posts, read 5,531,305 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marigolds6 View Post
So, which manager writes your reviews and assigns your raises? The manager who oversees 80% of your work or the one who oversees 20%?
Either way, you do what the manager who writes your reviews and assigns your raises tells you. You say "no" to the other manager, make them use chain of command.
You are a smart person. This is good advice.

One caveat: If the "other manager" is related to a VP in some way, you may be stuck in a hard place.
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Old 05-16-2014, 03:07 PM
 
Location: NYC
4,155 posts, read 3,754,010 times
Reputation: 6543
The sad truth is if the managers don't have your best interests in mind, there is very little you can do. They hold all the cards. Of course you can try to get your way by playing office politics but some people find that exercise exhausting.
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Old 05-16-2014, 03:13 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
13,524 posts, read 19,680,188 times
Reputation: 20189
If you report to Manager B, your priority is on Area B work. Then if you have time, you can work on Area A work.
If Manager A has a problem with that, defer Manager A to Manager B.
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