“I hate saying he is lying to us. Lying is a big word – a heavy one with lost of implications – but I think that’s where we are.”
My employee nodded his head at my words, then added, “he’s lying – it’s that plain.”
Who is lying?
The head of our department.
I think that is another reason this is a big a heavy word – we are all feeling like the leader of our department is lying to us. The person brought in to lead us has been labeled a liar by the team. The evidence is mounting.
And everyone is at a loss as to what to do.
Today’s incident happened while we were in a meeting with another department – a department that we are trying to help with their business changes. During the meeting, he asks if they would like to see the form he created to capture some info for them. They all say they do, so he projects it……
……and I noticed the technology he used to make it. I was so angry that I couldn’t speak.
24 hrs before this meeting, we had a leadership meeting in our own department. In it, he decided to confront the team on the fact he wanted to prototype a UI, but couldn’t with the technology we use at this company. It was technology he wasn’t as proficient at using. So, he wanted to know why anyone would object to him using the technology he is used to using – a competing technology, by the way.
The lead executive for our department is coding. We work for a company with revenue in the billions – and they hired an executive who wants to code. This was a question the team asked him – why is he, the executive for the department, coding. I even added, “there are prototyping tools out there – let’s adopt one – why do you need to make a fully functional application in order to validate what amounts to a user interface?” His response was to blame the team for why he has to develop. He also tried to shame us for not adopting new technology. Then he threw a mini-fit because “I keep trying to work with you but you keep saying no.”
That’s the problem honestly – no one is saying no. We are only pointing out that no one knows the tech he wants to use meaning if he is hit by a bus or, less dramatically, in a meeting – no one would know how to handle an issue if it occurred. We can learn it – but that’s a lengthy process. This defeats his desire to deliver quick. Lastly, adding capacity to the team is not adding oneself into the mix with tools that no one else knows. That is the wrong way. Yet – I think he is Charlie Brown and we are the adults going “wah, wah wah, wah, wah” in response to his actual words. And he doesn’t really understand.
After the big debate yesterday, we agreed on a path forward.
Then today, he produced something that was not what was agreed upon.
The boundaries we had identified as concerns – security, support ability, etc – were all ignored with what he produced. And while my developer and I attempted to pick up our jaws off of the ground, he blew off questions that challenge his disregard for security and all. Coming back to the team knowing he had pretty much given them the finger by developing this application, I had no words – no idea what to do or where to take this.
He agreed to next steps yesterday.
Then proved he lied to us by doing whatever the fuck he wanted today.
Making this worse? A few days ago, he made it clear he is telling people we are the problem. We are the reason shit isn’t getting done. The fact we are using highly customized 30 yr old software is not the problem. The fact the company has never spent money on application but instead expected everything to be free is not the problem. Nope. The people are the problem.
When I interviewed this guy before he was hired, he said something that got my attention. He commented about how he had never lost an employee. I had asked him how he managed people through change. I was trying to see if he had the appetite for firing people, to be honest. And his response was, “I’m happy to say, I have never lost an employee.”
Huge red flag for me.
He and I are the same age. I saw his resume – saw he had worked for start-ups during rough economic times. How could this man not have had to lay someone off, at the very least?
So I started drilling him. I started challenging this idea he has never had to fire a bad employee. Fifteen years as a CIO, and you’ve never had to fire one person? I gave examples of times I’ve had manage people out, fire them, or lay them off. Nope – he was proud of his track record.
Nope. This was a problem for me – this is not a leader. This is an avoider. This is a person who won’t take responsibility for his bad hire, so instead makes people deal with it. Those were my fears.
Sadly, everyone saw it as a positive. So hired him.
What I see now? Exactly what I saw during the interview.
My entire team is looking for a new job right now. My team consisted of people who have been with the company 5 years – and up to 25 years. They don’t trust him. They don’t feel he is a leader. They are so unhappy that they want out. They want to leave the company that a year ago they felt so fondly.
As one guy said, they feel like they are at boot camp again. Our unity comes through our shared hatred. Not the way to run a department.
And when you are using the word “lie” with your leader?
Yeah, something his majorly wrong.
The sad part? Today’s lie is the latest. The latest in a long string we have caught him making. So the question becomes, do we push shit forward and risk firing? Or do we just punch the clock and wait for it all to bite him in the ass?
Oh yeah – the resumes are up-to-date.