During the past two years, I have worked for a manager who has driving me crazy at times. When they reorg’d IT, I ended up working for this man sort of unexpectedly. There was a pretty big push to give me the management role over this team – but, at the last minute, someone saved this manager-without-a-home and gave him the team ….and me.
And he and I spent months butting heads over everything until he finally just let me handle shit. There was no reason for him to get involved until I needed him involved, so he just let me run it since that was my role.
Periodically, he would get a desire to get involved – I had to learn to just sit back and let him get it out of his system – then he would back off again.
I have never received feedback on my job from this guy. He has done my reviews but I have never seen them. I got a raised once – I think – but I don’t recall for sure. I was just happy when he let me do my thing – so that didn’t make a difference to me.
Yesterday, two things happened that left my jaw on the ground. The first was I got back my mid-year review with his feedback. I was blown the fuck away by what he said. All extremely positive – extremely complimentary. I was almost in shock because I had no idea he thought of me in such high regard.
A junior guy on my project team has several teams vying for him right now – so he asked my opinion of which choice made sense. I gave it – and he commented he was going to talk to our boss about it during his 1×1 meeting with him. After that meeting, I asked what he got in the way of advice. Jaw dropping moment #2: “He said I should look at you in terms of someone who has the knowledge and experience to back up what she does – can call bullshit on technical things – and has substance behind it all. He said you are respected and effective because you have experience in technical things – so encouraged me to do whatever I could to be like you.”
I almost fell over.
Today, I spoke to my manager about the opportunities before me – I wanted to let him know what was going on as I suspect today there may be some more open dialog about it – and I didn’t want it to surprise him. Once I told him about the opportunity I was exploring, he was like “well, you really should have that guy’s job as director of that group – but I think you are what will change things for the positive. I am happy you are going for it – and support you 100%!”
He thinks I’m really a director in skillset?
I was truly speechless, and thankfully did not have to cover it because he was ranting on why he was happy to hear this development and why I would go crazy with the other choices that had been offered.
When I told him there was some question as to if I would be given away by IT now that the org changes have been made with the team I’d be going to, he was like “fuck – no one can stop you if you just applied for the job – and they would be fucking idiots if they did because it’s the best for the company to have you in that role.”
It’s funny because I had been eager to get the fuck out of this place. I didn’t feel appreciated – I felt there was no growth for me – and I was sick of being seen as “just a project manager” when I have more to offer.
And in 24hrs, I get more positive feedback and support from my own manager than I have gotten in the past 2.5 years from him or any other manager.
“People need to start listening to what you say because you know what needs to be fixed – you in that new role will have that – and I support you getting it.”
Yeah, I’m still trying to get my mind wrapped around this positive interaction. I’m blown away – and happy. But blown away.
Guess the morale of the story for managers: Give this kind of feedback often if that’s how you feel. It does a lot for those working for you.