General Etiquette > All In A Day's Work

PA / Unresponsive Boss - What a combination! Update #7 and #8

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JacklynHyde:
We've had a major shift in supervisory duties at my job, and Ken is now in charge of my department.  After several years of reporting to John, I was expecting to face an adjustment, but things have gotten to the point where it has become an etiquette issue.  To the point, Ken at once insists upon micromanaging my department while taking forever to respond to questions, if he responds at all. 

My job is a telecommuting one where I have often altered my hours in order to best serve my clientele, but I also have made medical appointments and the like during my stated office hours.  If I make a change for any reason, I send notice to my clients.  Now, the entire department has been told that we must ask in advance for permission to be away from our desks for more than a half hour.  We are also to email Ken with any questions or problems we have and are not to go elsewhere.  When I worked with John, he had no problem if I asked questions from others, but I was to talk with him if I was having a bad time with a client or co-worker.  The one time this year I found out a new procedure from another department and let my immediate team know, it got back to Ken.  I was told, under no circumstances, that I need to filter my questions through Ken and only through Ken.

This leads to the second part of the problem.  The ONLY reason Ken got that information out to my department is because I found it out for myself and it got back to him.  Otherwise, we are terribly in the dark.  Emails have gone unanswered for days, sometimes weeks.  My coworker Jim has an outstanding email request to cap his client load (which is much higher than anyone's) for two months without an answer.  I've had a question unanswered for a month about why my support is missing for a certain percentage of clients.  The only answer I received was an inquiry whether a client name fell within a certain name of the alphabet (the client's name was the subject of the email).  It took office gossip with someone at headquarters to inform me that the support contact had been fired.

Thanks for hanging in through that background.

How do I deal with this terrible imbalance?  I've asked for time off for a doctor's appointment, but have heard nothing for a week.  I'm still not getting the client backup and am playing dumb that I know why.  Do I speak with my former supervisor John, with whom I still have a great rapport but who manages another department?  Do I talk with Ken's boss and risk my neck?  Do I sit and wait for someone else on my team to speak up before I do?

Hillia:
How often do you repeat your requests to Ken?  Depending on the urgency of the request, I would repeat the request by forwarding the original email after one week; if still no answer (so 2 weeks outstanding) I would reforward the 2nd email to Ken, cc his boss.  Alter the time periods depending on the urgency of the question.

edgypeanuts:
Could you word your requests to say what you will do if you do if you do not hear back in time?

Such as, "I have a doctor's appt on Sept 3rd at 3pm, so I will need to be out of the office from 2:30 until 4pm.  If I do not heal back from you I will assume this is alright.  If it is not, please let me know by August 15th."

"as a fair number of my clients are not receiving any support, I will a call to client support and make other arrangements for my clients if I do not hear back from you by tomorrow.  If you have another solution, please let me know asap."

Deetee:

--- Quote from: edgypeanuts on December 02, 2012, 11:14:45 PM ---Could you word your requests to say what you will do if you do if you do not hear back in time?

Such as, "I have a doctor's appt on Sept 3rd at 3pm, so I will need to be out of the office from 2:30 until 4pm.  If I do not heal back from you I will assume this is alright.  If it is not, please let me know by August 15th."

"as a fair number of my clients are not receiving any support, I will a call to client support and make other arrangements for my clients if I do not hear back from you by tomorrow.  If you have another solution, please let me know asap."

--- End quote ---

I agree with that. I would send all emails with a deadline for response and the action you will take in the absence of a response. I would aim for a turnaround of a week for things like a doctors appt. A day or two before the "deadline" I would send a reminder (basically resend the original email) As soon as the "deadline" passed I would send another email outlining the action you took. Each email would reference every previous email.

 For requests for information, I would give it a week and then a couple days and then email daily and then ask his boss. The main thing is to make sure that you reference every previous email.

Slartibartfast:
I would say do the following:

1) dig through your email and collect some concrete examples of where Ken's failure to do his job has kept you from doing yours

2) talk to John to feel out the office politics involved and to see if there's any particular reason Ken is still there (e.g. he's the owner's best friend, etc.)

3) if John thinks it'll fly, go over Ken's head to his boss and lay out a concise argument for why the current system isn't working.  Don't pick on Ken specifically, but do point out that routing everything through a person who refuses to be reachable for long periods of time holds the entire team hostage.

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