When TechRepublic asked IT managers for their peeves about CIOs and other tech executives, the responses came fast and furious. We expected the usual—he/she never listens to me, or I know more than he/she knows but I'm not appreciated—but we didn’t expect so many managers to write that they hoped their CIO would read their gripe and work to change their behavior and attitude. It was a bit surprising, and a little disheartening, to read members’ stories; they clearly love their jobs, but obviously aren't enthralled with their boss and his or her level of skills in various areas.
Though it’s tough medicine to swallow, CIOs and VPs are well advised to read the (anonymous) peeves that made the top 10 list and adjust their management approaches and habits accordingly. Not only will it enhance and strengthen your management relationships, it’s likely to boost your management productivity.
No. 10: Doesn’t support my decision-making
I've been in situations where I can justify why a project should be put on hold, and my boss agrees with me. However, the user (or his manager) then goes to his boss, who talks to my boss's boss, and all of a sudden, I am doing the project anyway. In this situation, I lose credibility, and I impact the plan of another project. If that project is another user's, I potentially affect the metrics from user surveys.
No. 9: Doesn’t respect the staff's knowledge
I get peeved when I have an "urgent" request from a user and the boss keeps changing his mind on whether he wants me to do the project or not. I believe I was hired to help evaluate whether a project should be done or not, and my comments and opinions are ignored. For example, if I recommend a project, he turns it down, but then the user goes directly to him, and the project is done! I lose a lot of credibility that way.
No. 8: Repeatedly assigns the same work tasks
He tells me what to do more than once. This makes me feel like he thinks I'm a "moron" and makes him look like he has "CRS" (Can't Remember Stuff syndrome).
No. 7: Provides no consistent communication
[The boss] never keeps the staff informed. He starts out having monthly meetings for two months then abandons those so then nobody knows what anybody is doing or what is forthcoming. [On top of this] he gets mad when you don't get it done because he knew about it for three weeks and told you less than a week before it is due. Soon after, he starts up the meetings again but they end up going away soon after.
No. 6: Can't keep his meddling fingers away
My boss always rechecks user accounts and user policies and enters a witty quote into everyone’s description fields. Then he always corrects me by entering capitals into peoples' usernames and full names, and also in the public document folders on our servers. He must have better things to do.
No. 5: Is ignorant on tech issues
I'm bothered by the fact that just because he is my boss, he should act like he knows everything about the services that we provide, although he sometimes doesn't. Case in point: The fact that since I am more technically oriented than he is, and have more direct say in the aspects that finally reflect the cost of our products, means that I know more about the costing structure than he does. But, there are times when he will try to impose his perceived cost, not the actual cost (that is usually lower) as the cost of the product.
He also gets away with criticizing at every opportunity that presents itself—which we [the managers] can never do in return when he stumps at something. I guess that’s why we call him boss.
No. 4: Poor listening skills
The boss is a big non-listener. During any meeting, it is very normal for him to just cut off other colleagues' opinions or pay no heed to them at all. It is very difficult to confront him on this issue since he is among the five-star performers in the company and a big go-getter. Maybe not listening to others might be part of his go-getting attitude?
No. 3: He passes on the blame
It's a peeve when my boss’s mistakes and ignorance are passed down to us, and it’s we managers who end up having to take the fault and the blame, and he thinks that’s okay.
No. 2: Poor meeting skills
He gives us lectures on subjects that he is not qualified to lecture on, provides irrelevant and unrelated analogies in meetings (seemingly just to have something to say), and shares way too much information about his personal life with managers in group meetings.
No. 1: Never gets all the facts before making a decision
The biggest peeve TechRepublic heard from members is how a boss jumps on a manager's case, or takes action on an issue, before finding out all the facts of the situation and identifying all the options.
Other peeves that didn't make the top 10 list
The mailbox was crammed with other peeves, such as:
- Repeating the background information of a subject during subsequent meetings, though it's the same team that heard the information the first time.
- Sending me an e-mail with an answer to a question, then immediately coming over to my office and telling me what the e-mail said.
- Repeatedly stating the obvious—such as the need to call an end user about their request (like I didn’t know that was the first step to take).
- Constantly using the phrase "he/she ultimately reports to me." Whether this is to reinforce his place, or remind us who’s boss, it’s not necessary because we’ve all been here for awhile.
- Pulling me off of a project just before it is finished and then attending the wrap-up meetings himself.