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How do I deal with an envious supervisor?

Good Morning Lucio and everyone,

I have a unique situation. How do I handle a envious supervisor? My supervisor has mentioned he is jealous of my personal growth on three consecutive performance evaluations (all evaluations are very good and above average, his words and my director's and reflected on paper).

In addition, for the last three out of five he has blocked, denigrated, minimized and sabotaged the assignments and projects I worked on. These were projects and assignments both he and my director wanted for years, but did not have the ability, skill or will to do.

I am applying for jobs in a more analytical/data analysis area of my field. But my supervisor tells people different things and purposefully does not disclose the full story or situation regarding my contributions.

How can I get successfully obtain another position given any interested potential employer will call him for a reference?

R. Reid

selffriend has reacted to this post.
selffriend

Hey dark sky,

How did he tell you that he is jealous of your growth?
That part there sounded a bit off, people rarely come out in public with their personal envy.

And as per forum guidelines, what do you think is the best way to handle it?

Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

Lucio,

He just came out and said it: "I am envious of your personal growth."

It is rare but it happened.

I have been seeking out other professional references from colleagues and building a portfolio to show concrete examples of my work.

 

 

selffriend has reacted to this post.
selffriend

Did he say that in a way that:

  1. Seemed like a compliment: 90% of the time that sentence is used a way of complimenting someone -a bad way of complimenting someone, by the way-.
  2. Matter of fact: He just blurted it that out
  3. Envious tone: he said it, and made no qualms of showing it
selffriend has reacted to this post.
selffriend
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

More like a prepared version of #1 since it occurred during formal meetings with a dash of #3. His body language was a little flippant when he said it.

That makes it very different, then.

If he had said matter of factly, then you'd have an open enemy -which would have been better, actually-.

Now instead you have a covert enemy -so a possible strategy is to "surface it", actually-.

Most people here would advise looking for another job, which is fair.
But why should you leave before you exhausted your possibilities?

Here are a few approaches:

  1. Heart-to-heart surfacing with a conversation with the manager: "I feel like there are some issues in our relationships, and I'd like to make it better". Then show him you're a friendly force and monitor if changes are real or just verbal
  2. Surfacing by going one level higher: go to the director, and make your problems clear. Say you love this company, say you like him, say you want to stay, say you want to get those projects done... Then field your request to "please help you find a way around the conniving manager. Maybe move you laterally?". This might -might!- be a great chance of fast promotion actually. Instead of a lateral move, the director might award you an upward move. This one works best if the director and bad boss are not allies. But it might be worth a try anyway. Prepare well for this one, it can be a make or break
  3. Record everything, then start a war: I wouldn't generally advise this. But in some cases of very obvious obstructionism, you might have a clear-cut case for making some money and getting rid of the bad boss all at once
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Matthew Whitewoodselffriend
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?

I've actually been in the similar situation a long time before. Although my performance was stellar, my boss refused to give me the promised promotion. Moreover, he choose to not to formally and openly credit some of my contribution in newsletters, to the stakeholders and other important people in the field.

He does compliment me a lot in person, and he promised to help me as much as he could. He never formally say that "I am jealous of your growth" in open places. He said something like: I can bring you up as much as I can, but I cannot formally give you ABC because of XYZ reasons. Those XYZ reasons sound very rational and important to the company.

He also minimizes my contribution while being a reference.

It was a toxic experience, and I was once thinking about revenge, for example, by taking my projects to his big competitor. However, I cannot persuade myself as this seems to be amoral. What's your thought?


 

Regarding your situation, I am not sure if your boss already harmed your materially. By material harm, I mean, did he cut your bonus, refuse a deserved promotion, or undermine your reputation?

From your description, your boss, although being verbally harsh, did not harm you materially in a measurable way (yet), except that he sabotages your current assignment. So I believe that you still have a chance to have a frank conversation with him, just like what Lucio said.

May I ask how did he sabotage your current project and do you have a chance to speak with the "higher level director who want that project for years"?

Lucio Buffalmano has reacted to this post.
Lucio Buffalmano

Lucio and selffriend,

 

Lucio: I am going to leave the company. I started applying around after I saw the options you provided. I am grateful for your help. I have had heart-to-hearts over the years. I have been at this company for 5 years. Our director, the next person above, fully supports my manager, and acts like my manager. For those reasons, starting a war will just cause me to get harmed materially while his reputation stays intact.

Selffriend: My supervisor, like yours, has not granted me my promised promotion and minimized my contributions. As a result, I have not received a substantial bonus like others, training opportunities, or received higher performance evaluation ratings. The latter resulted in me losing merit base pay increases over the years while he did (by taking credit for my contributions in part).

He sabotaged the project by not taking the project to our director as promised and proposing multiple other expensive options (effort, money, time and made the work dependent on the work of other departments that do not like our department) over the efficient and free option I proposed. He knew those options would not work or come to fruition. They haven't. The best option is to leave. I can get more freedom and independence in my work elsewhere.

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Lucio BuffalmanoTransitionedselffriend

Yeah, your boss against you, and your boss' boss supporting your boss-enemy.

Always a challenging situation.

In these cases, it helps to network a lot laterally, at the same levels as your boss and your directors -or higher-.
That way, you can move to another department.

A strong reputation across the company, especially if reaching higher up, is a solid insurance policy against this type of fuckery.

After you move to your new job, start networking internally, as well as with recruiters and other people in your industry working at different companies.

No need to keep it hidden: driven people who go places and add value are often in constant networking mode, you can just go to lunch with new people every time and from time to time attend trade shows and/or events around town.
It's not even just a boon for work, it's also a boon for your social life -and general mental health and happiness-.

Anyway, now you have gained more good clarity, and once you're out, you will be able to blossom again.

Cheers to that!

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Matthew WhitewoodTransitionedselffriend
Have you read the forum guidelines for effective communication already?
Quote from dark sky on April 11, 2021, 1:24 am

Lucio and selffriend,

 

Lucio: I am going to leave the company. I started applying around after I saw the options you provided. I am grateful for your help. I have had heart-to-hearts over the years. I have been at this company for 5 years. Our director, the next person above, fully supports my manager, and acts like my manager. For those reasons, starting a war will just cause me to get harmed materially while his reputation stays intact.

Selffriend: My supervisor, like yours, has not granted me my promised promotion and minimized my contributions. As a result, I have not received a substantial bonus like others, training opportunities, or received higher performance evaluation ratings. The latter resulted in me losing merit base pay increases over the years while he did (by taking credit for my contributions in part).

He sabotaged the project by not taking the project to our director as promised and proposing multiple other expensive options (effort, money, time and made the work dependent on the work of other departments that do not like our department) over the efficient and free option I proposed. He knew those options would not work or come to fruition. They haven't. The best option is to leave. I can get more freedom and independence in my work elsewhere.

That is substantial harm! How long did he harm you like this?

I am so sorry that I thought you were not materially harmed.

In addition, for the last three out of five he has blocked, denigrated.

Did you mean that for the last three out five years?

Again I feel truly sorry that you are truly harmed by the boss. You must feel really negative. I felt very frustrated and harmed, just like you.

The details you added make the story completely different. So now I wonder if you have close friends in other departments? Can you directly or indirectly convince other bosses or big bosses that he steals your credits and your plans are better?

Just like Lucio said, you could try to find a job at other departments. I think you could also try to work for his competitors, either internal competitors or external competitors.

I might be luckier than you as I left that boss three months after my first project was not fully credited and my promised promotion was broken. Since you were harmed much more than me, I would strongly suggest you to write a very concise open letter of two pages, sending to all the shareholders of your company, explaining what your boss have done to the whole company, what was the estimated loss for the whole company. Besides the two page letter, you need to prepare a detailed appendix, including detailed facts and timeline that supports the letter, and make it online. Also make it clear to the audience that you had multiple conversation with your boss and he chooses not to act.

It will be even better if you could have at least one witness to testify that he said "I am jealous about your performance".

Just my personal opinions. I do wish you enjoy your future career!

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Lucio Buffalmano