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XrayGirl's avatar

MANGERS, SUPERVISORS, BOSSES: What do you think of a manager who, during our last staff meeting, asked us not to bring any problems to her...that she was at her emotional limit and...

Asked by XrayGirl (529points) September 13th, 2008

if we had a problem, just to work it out ourselves and just GET ALONG….she is new at this position, and has no previous experience as a manager. She is over many nurses who have many years of experience. We are responsible for surgical patients…I surveyed several MD’s and peers and they all agreed that she is WRONG…that handling problems is a part of what she gets paid to do….new or not. All feedback greatly appreciated. She and I have a great line of communication, and there ARE some current problems that need to be addressed. The boss above her is a TOTAL clueless person who is NOT approachable at all….

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17 Answers

MarcIsMyHero's avatar

Management in most cases is there to play role of mediator and backup support. doesn’t matter what career. she is definitely wrong. it sounds like she is overwhelmed though and being considerate of that fact may help. if you have an issue i suggest asking her when a convenient time (possibly off the clock) would be that you could discuss the issue and so that you are not adding to her stress levels. even if you think she is a complete idiot try to let her know that you are empathetic to the demands of her job, but that you do need assistance. i know that when i am very busy at work i sometimes ask my employees to save there problems (unless it is an immediate concern) for discussion after the shift.

JackAdams's avatar

She won’t be in her management position much longer, I suspect, unless she is sleeping with someone who will keep her where she now is…

Snoopy's avatar

Honestly, I would not take up the battle w/ her. If she is that bad, she will hang herself out to dry soon enough. If she hasn’t already.

JackAdams's avatar

Assassination is always an option.

cyndyh's avatar

I agree with the first response except that I wouldn’t bring it up after the shift. There should be a time during work to discuss work issues. I’d ask her to let me know when I’ll be able to discuss these things with her.

If she means “I don’t have time right now” that’s very different than “don’t ever bring problems to me”. Also, “don’t bring these little things to me” is different than “don’t bring me any problems”. You need to let her know that you understand the distinctions, but she needs to know that there are things you’ll just have to be able to discuss with her at some point. You want to know when that can happen.

Bri_L's avatar

If that is how she feels then she has options available to her. One of them is NOT to put them on you. That is not you or your co-worker responsibility.

Saying she is at her “emotional limit” makes it sound personal. That means she may need to take some time. Again, not your problem.

In my opinion if she is overwhelmed professionally, she needs to be a good manager and be more clear about what she needs from you. What you should handle yourselves and what you can bring to her.

Like cyndyh and marcismyhero

whatthefluther's avatar

She is still responsible for the decisions and actions of her subordinates whether she is part of the decision process or plants her head firmly in the sand, so this will catch up with her soon enough. I just hope no patients suffer because one of her people makes a wrong decision. She needs to see her boss now before something happens. If this is a temporary hurtle he should provide her assistance. If she’s wrong for the job, recognize it and fix it immediately.

sndfreQ's avatar

In a line of work where the clientelle rely on the staff in a matter of life-or-death, that kind of management style is wholly inappropriate. Your medical center’s human resources should be In the loop on this, as it’s not a personnel matter so much as a matter of public safety (if in fact you mean by her not being responsive to problems, she is putting patients’ safety and health at-risk). If that is the case, I’d hope that no one I know lands in that ward…

augustlan's avatar

One caveat to the above: If, when she says “work it out…and just GET ALONG”, she means “don’t bother me with your petty interpersonal problems and bickering and just GET ALONG” then I think she may have a point. If there are personality problems and/or bickering, she may just be pointing out that she is not there to be the office mother.

Bri_L's avatar

@ augustlan – I agree to a point. But, in the end she owes it to the patients to make sure they get the best and safes care. If there are insurmountable problems she has to step in. If she doesn’t want to she or can’t she shouldn’t be a manager.

If the reason she can’t is because she herself is constantly at her “emotional limit” then she needs to figure out why that is and not let that effect her job.

srmorgan's avatar

Augustian is on the right track in his/her second comment.

There are managers who just do not want to deal with personal problems of their subordinates and if this is what the new manager was addressing, then there is some justification for her attitude and actions. There are employees who will un-burden themselves on a manager with topics or information that has absolutely nothing to do with the job.
The trick here is to know when you, as a manager, HAVE to deal with the non-job-related issues because they enter into the workplace by affecting performance in the department and you can walk a thin line trying to discern when you need to step in or not step in.

As for your situation, if this manager is ducking issues or conflicts that affect patient care or performance in the department then someone needs to alert upper management about this.

This is also a fine line and it is hard to stick your neck out so it is a tough call.


marinelife's avatar

Your manager is wrong as several Flutherers have said. This is not a good situation for you though. You could end up being the sacrificial lamb. Bring up problems to her that she needs to address. If you get a chance to review her performance, mention this issue and what she said.

Otherwise, just do you job as best you can. COnsider transfewrring to a different area that she does not supervise.

Bri_L's avatar

@srmorgan – I agree with you and augustlan to a point. While I understand have also had experience with those type of workers, it is part of your job as a manager to not let your response reach that point. I don’t think that her emotional reaction was appropriate, nor-do i feel the blanket instructions were. I don’t think this is the way she, the manager in question, should go about doing it.

srmorgan's avatar


You are on point. This is not a good situation to have to encounter when you work in a stressful environment such as a hospital unit.
The initial statements by the manager are not uncommon and I have heard management tell staffers to “keep it out of the workplace”, “fix it’, “I am not getting involved in your personal problems”, blah blah blah.

The manager went too far when she stated that “she was at her emotional limit” and instructed the staff not to bring problems to her.
First off, if she did not want to hear personal issues not related to the workplace that should have been stated specifically.
Second, she undoubtedly lost whatever respect anyone might still have had for her when she pointed out that she was at her emotional limit. That is going to be interpreted by the staff as either as personal meltdown or that she simply does not care about what is going on in the unit. Neither of those positions is going to be of any benefit to the unit.

And jackadams is on point by stating that the manager should not count on holding this position until retirement. Upper management will learn about this in some way shape or form and will do something about it and if they don’t please take me somewhere else in the ambulance. ..


Bri_L's avatar

@srmorgan I agree, i hope my ride goes elswhere! :-)

mdy's avatar

Assuming that you have a work (i.e., non-personal) problem that requires her to make a decision, I have a couple of suggestions:

1. Have a proposed solution in mind for every problem you bring to her.

It may sound like I’m asking you to do her job for her, but IMHO, you have an opportunity here to influence the way your department or unit is being run because you’re giving her your preferred solution.

In addition, you’re also scoring points with her, because you’re showing that you’re proactive, and you’re making her life easier. She may come to rely on you for ideas in the future, which will be a good thing career-wise.

If I were a manager, I’d really appreciate getting inputs from the people who are doing the actual work, because they’re the ones who know and understand what’s going on.

2. When you ask for time to talk, give it a positive spin

Say something like—“Hi. I have a suggestion I’d like to make that can really improve things and make all our lives better. Let me know when we can talk about it.” I don’t see how anyone would want to delay that discussion.

XrayGirl's avatar

@mdy: great suggestions for sure!!! ;) thanks…thank you EVERYONE…I really got some GREAT feedback on this one….very helpful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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