Putting Things Right

I was pretty sure my annual performance review would be an interesting time, having been written by my former boss on her way out the door. Review time was today, and my new boss has done his homework. It’s pretty clear he’s gotten some perspective on what we were dealing with in the last year. I could see where he’d added details about what he’d learned from my team and edited the review for balance and to soften missed opportunities with the notation that I had not been supported or set up for success. We started out by talking about what did and didn’t go well last year before we looked at the review, and based on the introductory conversation he decided to make further changes to reflect accuracy and fairness. I’ll get to see those changes in the next couple of days.

I haven’t written much about my managerial situation because at least one of my direct reports occasionally reads this blog, but I nearly left my current company on two occasions last year due to a complete lack of support and guidance in my new role as a manager. I had decided in late January I was leaving for sure and started my job search. I was about to apply to a batch of jobs when my former boss gave notice about two weeks later.

In the month since she left, my new boss has worked with me to create a structure I’ll have a real chance to succeed in: cutting my availability for project work from 26 to 16 hours a week, freeing up time to spend with my direct reports. He’s given me tips and pointers for processes I can use to guide my team and prepare them to take on more challenging projects. He also shared some good feedback from my team. They knew I was getting no help (and they would tell me that regularly), but they were understanding and empathetic when talking to my new boss about their experiences. My new boss has attributed that to the fact that I’ve maintained and nurtured good relationships with them. He encouraged me to continue being genuine, open and honest with my team. I had talked about my lack of availability, acknowledging that I knew they needed more of me and that I hadn’t given up on finding a way to make that happen. He held that up as a big success, saying the team could easily feel exasperated and ready to work elsewhere, but my efforts to acknowledge their needs and to do the best I could had prevented hard feelings.

By contrast, my former boss would tell me, “your team doesn’t get the support it needs.” (Uh, thanks for letting me know….)

I’m still pretty exhausted from the stresses of the last year, but I feel myself growing more excited about the opportunities ahead. It could be pretty darned good.

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