Honesty at Work

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  • 4 Post By roseannadana

What would you guys do?

At work there is a boss, two managers who report to the boss, me who reports to someone offsite, and a supervisor who reports to the managers.

The other day the boss had a meeting with me and the supervisor. He asked us a few questions about the two managers (The two managers do not get along and it has created a lot of problems at the site). Then he asked if we thought manager A was the wrong person for the job.

Based on working with manager A and hearing and seeing some of the things they've done I truly believe manager A shouldn't be in the job.

Would you answer truthfully knowing it could affect someone's livelihood?
Wow. That seems like a highly inappropriate question. Do you work directly with these managers despite reporting to someone offsite?

I give that boss the side eye for bringing in the supervisor and asking him/her that question.

I'm a supervisor myself and I don't know every part of my manager's job function. I'd probably tell the boss that my job isn't critiquing my manager's performance. That's his/her job. Since I've never been a manager I don't know all that goes into that job function so I'm not comfortable deciding if Manager A is capable or not.
I have to be careful making statements about co-workers because I have the kind of manager who repeats what is said. She'll go to the person and tell them "D said that you..."

Managers usually have no qualms about making decisions that affect others livelihoods. It is just business (they say).

The boss shouldn't have asked you that question in front of the supervisor. I think he should have spoken to you privately.
This sounds like an issue the boss needs to step up to the plate and deal with on his own. Imo, he should be talking directly to the two managers to find out what's going on with them and getting them to figure out an acceptable work relationship. This kind of "second hand", "third person", (or whatever other name you want to give it) info gathering may very well end up just contributing to office tensions and make things worse.

You could just tell the boss that you basically focus on your job so that you do it well and therefore don't have any input on employees you don't supervise that could be helpful.

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Thanks for the input.

The boss has tried addressing the issue directly with the two managers, many times. The last couple of weeks has really put their issues in the spotlight, people outside our site are now noticing.

The supervisor and I have a different perspective because we see how the managers act in the field with their direct reports and each other. The supervisor and I spend a good deal of our time working around the managers.

The supervisor and I have gone to the boss on several occasions asking him to deal with the managers.

The supervisor had no problem giving his opinion, I hemmed and hawed and didn't really answer the question.
Ugh, I had a manager once ask me, "should I fire John?". I totally believed he should fire him but said "that's a decision you'll have to make, and I will support you whatever you decide.". Geez, these managers get paid to manage! Just do it, already!

I was born to be a pessimist. My blood type is B Negative.
Ordinarily, I'm in favor of truthfulness, but in this case, I'd tread very cautiously.

Dogs and nature abhor a vacuum.
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Do you all have a 360 component to your performance reviews? We have them at our office so that aggregated feedback from peers, direct reports, and other staff you work with can be shared in a predictable format and timeframe. 360 reviews occur twice per year.

Managers are expected to use the 360 feedback in setting goals with the employee, rather than as 'ammunition' against an underperformer. Whether or not I would respond with my opinion directly to a higher up would depend on a lot of factors around work culture, relationship with the person making the request, level/type of concern I had with the person I'm discussing, etc., but I agree with others that the request itself sounds inappropriate and could potentially put you in a compromised position.

Do you have an HR person? You could talk to them about their advice without disclosing any of the parties.
People rise to the standard expected of them. GC
We are often asked to anonymously give feedback on people at higher levels at my company (as well as at our level or who work for us), but it sounds like your organization is too small for that to happen. I think tact is very important, and certainly you don't want to just say someone should be fired - but if you were to point out weaknesses and issues which could be fixed (though it's unlikely) you are being both honest and fair. I've never seen a problem where the response would be "this is 100% the wrong person" but I have seen many times where "it's not that person B should be fired, but that person B has to learn not to be a schmuck."
The pews never miss a sermon but that doesn't get them one step closer to Heaven.
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I think if it were some flagrant, egregious problem with the manager, I would speak up. But if it were just some penny ante subjective crap, I'd keep it to myself and let the highers up figure it out.
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We don't have 360 reviews, this company does a lot of good things but performance reviews isn't one of them.

Update: HR is coming in later this week. Boss has assured us that we (supervisor and I) will not have to talk to them.
I do believe in honesty at work. I don't think any good can come of saying someone is doing a good job when it's hurting the company. However, I agree that you should tread lightly. It's still perfectly honest to say "I'm not comfortable answering that question", for example. But I think it would be better to answer the question in a way that more directly relates to your ability to do your job, and not heresay. I think it would be OK to say "the relationship between Manager A and Manager B has been affecting my ability to meet deadlines, but I can not speak with confidence about anything further in their ability to do their jobs as it doesn't relate to me".

I recently suggested that someone who was interviewing for a position at the company I work for NOT be brought in for an interview. It was tough to say that, but I know if this person started working here it would not be good for the company, and also that it would likely cause me to start looking for a new job.
"I don't know! I don't know why I did it, I don't know why I enjoyed it, and I don't know why I'll do it again!" -BART SIMPSON

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