A Letter To My Manager

Dear Manager,
 
I have been struggling to find a way to share with you the content of this letter. I hope you don’t take this personally but that you may use it to fuel your personal development.
 
For the past 6 months I’ve been trying to ask you these questions:
  • Do you care for me?
  • Can you help me? And,
  • Can I trust you?
 
I’m afraid the answers I found aren’t what I expected.
 
  • You call yourself a leader but I rarely get to see you. If you are not in a meeting, you are rushing off to one or, you are behind closed doors on a conference call. How can I follow if you are never around?
  • The rare moments that I get to see you are because you need to give me some last minute project that needs to get done. After a few quick orders, I’m left alone wondering what’s the purpose or intent of the project. To whom should I go to for guidance? Remember you are in meetings or on vacation the rest of the time.
  • You invite me to walk-in your office if I ever have questions, comments, or feedback but every time I’m there all I see you do is check your smartphone, blackberry, or e-mail. How can technology be more important than the person right in front of you? Maybe, I’m just not good enough for you?
  • You tell me to bring concerns about anything but you brush them off stating others don’t seem to have similar concerns or that there are more important things to worry about. Is it because you don’t trust my judgment?
  • You say you won’t let me sink the ship but every time I bring a project for you to review, you tell me you don’t have time. How can you prevent a fatal mistake if you never see my work?
  • Lastly, you say you’ll help me develop but the only feedback I get is when I do something wrong. Is the bad the only thing worth mentioning? Maybe I’m just bad at everything.
 
Based on these observations, I’m not sure I can answer positively to any of my original questions.
 
I was looking for someone to emulate, someone that can help me get better, someone to show me the value I add to the company, and what I found was confusion and frustration.
 
I need you to know that it’s difficult for me to keep showing up to work fully engaged when I don’t know if I can count on you to help me succeed.
 
Sincerely,
 
Your direct report
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5 thoughts on “A Letter To My Manager

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  1. Wow. That is a powerfully brave message and one that should be heard, if it is reflective of the situation. Unfortunately, it instilled a lot of fear in me that it is somewhat suicidal. Should it be? Shouldn’t we be able to speak the truth? Shouldn’t we demand more from our leaders – and when they fall short or don’t emulate the leadership style they purport to have, can we call them out on it? The power imbalance certainly would make me hesitate to do so, but I almost shivered at the power of this note. I’ve reviewed it several times under the premise “never bring a problem without offering a solution”… and am wondering if the message could be any different. Not certain. Would hope it isn’t a resignation letter.

    1. No. No resignation letter, just a reflection on the things I have done wrong and the questions that everyone is asking of their leaders right now.

      Maybe next week, I’ll do the “Dear Direct Report” letter.

      I wasn’t thinking about anyone in particular, it was just a different style of idea. It would be awesome if this goes viral. Lol.

      It will also be unfortunate, if it ends up in reprimand.

    2. Your points are right on target. The truth is easier to remember because you are telling it as it is. This annonymous letter is congruent with Simon Sinek as he states that 90% of people are dissatisfied with their work not fufilling their WHY.

      1. And the majority of those people are just waiting for someone to tell them their WHY.

        What I find interesting is that when I started working, I said to myself I wouldn’t repeat history. Yet, when I started managing I ended up doing the same things I complained about. Go figure.

        As they say, we must be intentional about leading; it doesn’t just happen.

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