‘AdWise’ workplace counselling: No induction, yet boss expects me to hit the ground running’ – Times of India


Question: I recently joined a company in a role that is completely different from the one I previously handled. There was no induction as my boss said he didn’t believe in orientation and that I should learn on the job. While this didn’t seem like a bad idea at first, it has become a nightmare now. Every small error I make invites a round of yelling from the boss. He’s even said that he’s disappointed in recruiting me — this is when I have barely completed a month and a half in this role. The series of insults are followed with taunts, passive-aggressive behaviour and tense silence through the rest of the day. This is witnessed by most of the other employees on the floor. I have tried talking to him to understand his expectations. Things are alright for a couple of days, and then it’s back to square one. I am very anxious about this. Please help.

Sujaya Banerjee replies:

This is a classic dilemma many face, especially when seeking ‘jobs’ rather than ‘careers’. While nothing can condone the behaviour of your manager, it is important for you to understand the provocation for it:

What made you accept this offer?

Have you done a similar job before or is this a role you are attempting for the first time? Even if you had a similar role in a similar industry, each company has its own processes, systems, managerial styles and what is expected in the execution rhythm, that qualifies as ‘good performance’.

Not having a head-start with an orientation programme is a deterrent to settling into the job. Most organisations undermine the power of this opportunity to coach new hires. Employees must insist on this support at the time of joining new assignments to ensure they are not left navigating the system on their own.

Your manager’s view of not believing in handovers or inductions is shared by many, but this can lead to early losses rather than wins. However, in this case, you have agreed to sign up for such an arrangement. Now the onus is on you to fix it:

“Seek clarity on your role and expectations: Ask questions rather than agree to deliver something you have not understood completely. Also, let your manager know of the progress you are making and communicate this through all steps of execution

Seek peer/team coaching on the ‘hows’ of performance standards rather than only the ‘whats’

Build relationships to succeed: Make the move first and demonstrate the ability to get along and influence people across levels so they want to participate in your success

Your own personal effectiveness is key: Take notes when you get briefed and maintain a to-do list and don’t repeat mistakes Here’s what you can do:

1) Reflect on your strengths/capabilities for this role and list what all you are struggling with. List what has gone well so far and what has not — be honest with yourself — and whether this role plays to your strengths or is it a set-up to fail syndrome? Is this just a job for you or do you have the skills to succeed/and the will to learn the organisation’s way of doing things? Many of us see our careers in the trial and error mode and can join new assignments for all the wrong reasons.

2) If you believe this is the job/role for you and this is the company you want to build your ‘career’ with, then ask for an hour’s time with your manager. Tell him all that you are struggling with, what his ‘fear management style’ is doing to your motivation to learn and contribute. Also, show him evidence of ‘what has gone right’ so he sees things in perspective. Seek out new norms of working together and promise to work around his expectations. Also, let him know clearly that his style doesn’t work for you to improve. Instead, it clouds your thinking and makes you repeat rather than improve mistakes. Gauge how far he is willing to meet you to change/improve things.

3) If your introspection does not yield results, revisit your job. Cut your losses. It’s better to learn from this adversity rather than stay on to further annoy your frustrated manager and lose your reputation as a performer.

Sujaya Banerjee is CEO, Capstone People Consulting. She has 29 years of experience in leading people in organisations like British Gas, Essar Group, Godrej and Lowe Lintas & Partners

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