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Reassignment of duties

By angry_white_male ·
What's the proper way to reassign a particular task from on person to another. You tell the person losing that task first - get his feedback... right? In my years of experience, that's been the norm.

I'm a network/security administrator at a medium sized agency. I was copied in on an e-mail from the boss to our helpdesk guy that he's to take over running mail/web filter reports that get submitted to HR every week. That's not a helpdesk function, and should remain in the realm of network security (which would be me). These reports contain _very_ sensitive information regarding employees (i.e., those who surf websites related to specific health or personal problems... one incident we had with a VP surfing kiddie porn, etc...). The less people who know these things - the better.

That's one thing that I hate - when you find out a duty has been reassigned to someone and you find out by being CC'ed in the e-mail, rather than being approached first.

I fired off an e-mail back to my boss raising my objections. His response should be interesting.

Am I on the money here - or should I just be happy I have one less chore to worry about? I'd much rather I continue performing this task because the reports also help me analyze trends in mail/web usage, detect patterns of abuse and possible network security functions. Of course, I can always re-run the reports I need - but why duplicate the effort and have another set of much more inexperienced eyes on what could be very damning information?

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Reassignment of duties

by j.lupo In reply to Reassignment of duties

You may not like my answer, but here goes.

How did you phrase it in your e-mail to your boss? Did you explain why you felt this task should remain in your area from a business perspective? or where you "emotional" about it being given to someone else?

How you approach the issue is important. Generally, when this happens to me, I ask for a meeting between the involved parties (boss, you, other person doing task). Then I go over the business reasons for the task being where it was and ask for clarification of why it is being moved. I try to keep the conversation business oriented and not personal.

In your situation, your boss may think you are taking it personally and that will be the downfall of any conversation. It needs to be clear that you are focused on the business and keeping that successful. Your boss may have had a reason.

Now, it would have been NICE if he consulted you first as you were the one responsible in the past. But as he is the boss, he can pretty much do as he wants. All, you can do is try to educate him on WHY he might not want to do it his way. :)

Good Luck.

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by angry_white_male In reply to Reassignment of duties

Your points are well taken, but if you want a happy and productive team - then the boss needs to be more communicative. Otherwise moving job duties around at will will only foster an environment of resentment amongst the staff.

E-mail to him was probably worded directly... I don't do pretty-pleases and all that good stuff.

Anyway, I just talked to him - got my *** chewed out... it was along the lines of "how dare you question my decisions" in earshot of the helpdesk guy. Great way to start the week.

Bear in mind my boss had NO management experience whatsoever before taking over for his boss - no people skills, no leadership skills, nothing.

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No excuse for poor management

by j.lupo In reply to

I can empathize with your pain. Poor management can demoralize and bring down the productivity of everyone. It is a shame.

I am afraid you got what usually happens. What a wonderful Monday. Don't feel bad, I got it too because a program that has been working for months in production suddenly is crashing and I was the last to touch it. Ugh!. Of course I had to be brought to "heel" in front of everyone. Doesn't matter that none of the other programs that had the same changes are just fine. . .

I feel your pain. All, I can say is you need to remain as professional as you can. Vent here in the discussion thread or with someone willing to be your sounding board. But at all costs you need to remain professional at the office.

BTW: I wasn't recommending "pretty please" as a way to speak to him. :) It is more of an "I would like to understand why we are changing this around because of A, B, C, business will be affected". I know it doesn't always work. At least you tried.

Oh, and document, document, document so that when things go "ca-plooy" you have CYA'd yourself. Good Luck, and keep us posted.

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by angry_white_male In reply to No excuse for poor manage ...

Yeah - when he started smacking his desk as he was yelling at me I just got up and walked out of his office. Don't need to take that kind of abuse. Of course he's acting like nothing happened.

I explained in my e-mail to him my concerns but he didn't want to hear it. You know how it goes - the boss is always right.

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by j.lupo In reply to

It was a no win situation. You tried to create a win-win, but poor management from someone who doesn't get it. I can feel your pain. My only suggestion to you, is to try and keep your professionalism and don't let it beat you up. I know that after a really bad day, I head to the gym or go running with my dogs. It helps unwind and get me back in a positive frame of mind.

I think someone said on another discussion thread that ew can only take care of ourselves and we have to let other take care of themselves. In the business world this means doing your job to the best of your ability, staying professional, and documenting things that you believe affect the business that go against best practices.

Good Luck.

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by angry_white_male In reply to Yup!

Sooner or later he'll come to realize that his style of management only builds a wall between him and us, and erases boundaries between the rest of us causing conflict.

Kinda like the parent who let's their kids run wild without supervision or discipline and then beats them when they happen to notice they're misbehaving.

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Sounds familiar

by jkaras In reply to

I believe this is almost a mirror image of a situation you posted in another thread. Obviously egos are running between the two of you and it is more personal than professional. It is very difficult when you are forced to deal with someone who wont listen. I suggest either you invite him over for dinner or schedule a luncheon to discuss to bury whatever hatchet and focus on professional concerns of who, what, how, and why. Reiterate that you do respect him but that he needs to reciprocate especially infront of others, not putting you in your place. ( say politely mind you wording it in the discussion of communication)Give consessions of his point of view that you will work on as well as keeping you in the loop on decisions that effect your employees. Obviously he desires the Help desk to expand its scope, maybe to relieve you of mundane tasks and concentrate on more productive management experience and proper training of staff. I know its easy for me to say this not experiencing your frustrations, just making hypotheticals. Try the peace offering over a meal, it tends to work wonders and re-establish a proper working relationship, then who knows, if it fails then fire and ice just doesnt mix.

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Don't think it was angry_white_male

by j.lupo In reply to Sounds familiar


I don't think it was the same person. I think you are referring to R.Z on the other threads.

BTW: I took your advise with what I am seeing where I am. Didn't work, if anything they took it all wrong and that was how I found out they don't take feedback no matter how it is worded.

I can empathize with those in this position. All we can do, is remain as professional as possible and try to work things out. There are those however, who will never want to listen no matter how you say something.


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Your correct

by jkaras In reply to Don't think it was angry_ ...

Man I must be seeing things. Maybe I read the thread before leaving on Friday, that's why it looks familiar or he posted in the other thread the same issue, oh well egg on my face. Sorry it didnt work for you at your work. Sometimes things just cant work out the way it should or the way you want it. Maybe its frustrations in a powerless society that has us go mad on each other needing to ventilate our frustrations. I know in my past I was definitley guilty of power tripping because in any loss of power caused sooo many problems that I went nuts over compensating to aviod the management what went wrong speech during their daily "I'm responding to a problem" once a day for 2 minutes and walk away hiding from work. Shudder, shudder oh the past can haunt you.

What advice did go wrong? Just talking to them? Wow, that's sad, criticism supposed to work both ways, guess not. Maybe I got nothing to really complain about anymore. Interesting.

Anarchy. (hehehe I had to be childish in this depressing thread.)

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jkaras - advice

by j.lupo In reply to Don't think it was angry_ ...

Well, when I said I took your advice, it was before you posted it. I always follow what you had posted. Bad me not wording my response correctly :) :) with a very :)

Basically, this is not a place that wants to change. What I see is a place that encourages negative interpersonal relationships, bias, prejuidice (sp?), cursing, off-color jokes, etc. The list is very long. It is very sad. Some would say report them to the Labor board. Personally, that is not my style.

I really wish it were ethical to videotape what goes on here so I could make a training videos - "How not to develop teamwork and encourage failure" :) Of course, just having it to laugh about the behaviors would be worthwhile also. But I won't do it because it is unethical. Still, the training idea is good. hmmmm....

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