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Thread: Serving as acting Supervisor: concerns about brown-nosing perceptions

  1. #1
    Cyburbian rosierivets's avatar
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    Serving as acting Supervisor: concerns about brown-nosing perceptions

    My boss is unexpectedly out sick for the next few weeks. I am technically second in command although I'm only a year on the job and twenty years younger than the next youngest department employee.

    I've been extra busy picking up the slack in the expected places: phone calls, appointments, night meetings, putting out minor fires, etc. but I am super paranoid about stepping on my colleagues toes.

    I'm trying to keep the machine oiled without expressly being given that command so it's somewhat of a strange and teetering thing. Our department meets weekly and I asked everyone to keep the meeting on their agendas and let me know if they have discussion items. Is this annoying or helpful? I suppose upper management might be pleased with the initiative and self proclaimed peons might begin to loathe me starting: NOW. Ah, it was only a matter of time. I have a recurring dream that one support staff person hates me with a passion even though she's never outwardly displayed anything but helpfulness. I do have valid things I need to bring up when everyone has their heads together at this meeting though.

    Thoughs? Advice? I've always been a good line walker because I have experience on both sides of the fence but it's tough.
    Last edited by rosierivets; 13 Mar 2007 at 6:57 PM.
    How about you take a gander at making an executive decision for once, huh?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian TOFB's avatar
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    Pardon the candor but I see some issues.

    You say, 'I am technically second in command' but then you say, 'without expressly being given that command'.

    So what is it? I think you need clear direction from your boss' boss on what is expected of you, especially since in the eyes of your co-workers, you are new to the job (read: inexperienced) and 20 years younger (read: naive or immature).

    If you are indeed acting director, you should have your boss' boss convey that message, and then go for it. Most places that would qualify you for acting duty pay, especially if you are attending extra meetings.

    You are keen to not stepping on toes and have subconscious thoughts about people's reactions to your assertiveness. I would not ignore those thoughts and proceed with caution.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian rosierivets's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TOFB View post
    Pardon the candor but I see some issues.

    You say, 'I am technically second in command' but then you say, 'without expressly being given that command'.

    So what is it? I think you need clear direction from your boss' boss on what is expected of you, especially since in the eyes of your co-workers, you are new to the job (read: inexperienced) and 20 years younger (read: naive or immature).

    If you are indeed acting director, you should have your boss' boss convey that message, and then go for it. Most places that would qualify you for acting duty pay, especially if you are attending extra meetings.

    You are keen to not stepping on toes and have subconscious thoughts about people's reactions to your assertiveness. I would not ignore those thoughts and proceed with caution.
    I appreciate your candor. To clarify, on the official departmental chain of command, I am next as far as structure goes. What I meant by not expressly being given this command is that no one has spoken the words, "you are acting director". My boss' boss has asked me to let him know if there is anything he can do to help me during this time. Other staff members are asking me if I am acting director; I'm just trying to make sure that everything continues to operate smoothly so that it's not a mess when my boss returns- I don't care about the potential for extra pay, the prestige, or anything else Also, I'm new to THIS job, but I've got about five years of overall experience.

    UPDATE: I just learned got an update that it's only going to be a week or so, not a month. I'm less concerned now. In fact, if a moderator wants to delete this thread, feel free. If something changes, I'll follow TOFB's advice and get a clear directive. Thanks.

    Moderator note:
    Suburb Repairman
    I see no reason to delete this thread. Chain of command & acting supervisor issues frequently surface when the boss is absent unexpectedly. While it may have turned out not to be an issue for you, it will surely be for some future Cyburbian. In fact, I'll bump this over to the Career Advice subforum. Good post and keep 'em coming!
    Last edited by Suburb Repairman; 14 Mar 2007 at 10:00 AM.
    How about you take a gander at making an executive decision for once, huh?

  4. #4
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    Hey, it's all about the attitude! I watched TN take over as a team leader directing planners 1-2 levels above her because.... she had the smarts and could do it! If nobody's filling that vacuum and you have the least directive to do so, take advantage and show them what you can do.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Dashboard's avatar
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    I don't see a problem with you trying to keep things running smoothly and filling in for the director, especially if you are the second in command. I would think that would be something automatically understood by others in your office - particularly if you are in a more senior position, which I assume you are since you said you are technically 2nd in command. For instance, if you are a Planner III and the others are Planner II's, wouldn't it just be expected that you would take on some additional tasks to pick up the slack?

    The number of years others have been there or their age should not matter - the positional hierarchy of your office should make it pretty obvious.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian rosierivets's avatar
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    Well, it was made official today, I am "acting". I appreciate everyones thoughts on the matter. I also appreciate the vote of confidence from my higher ups. So now I can answer my colleague's awkward question at least!
    How about you take a gander at making an executive decision for once, huh?

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