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Probation extended - poss on road to dismissal

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Looking for a little advice. First post, but this has been playing on my mind for a few days.




Got a perm job through an agency. Not a bad number. Job was sold as accountant PLUS review and improvement duties.

The team i joined, long standing small team been there for between 15 - 6 years. I am the first new person for all that time.

One line manager. One Director.


Director wants improvement, that why i was picked, he calls staff meeting to tell everyone. Line manager does not, and states that his way is perfect and i must not attempt to do what employed to do. I am told i must never communicate with Director without first going through Line Manager.


6 weeks into job, friction within the team, expected but sorted. Now fully integrated.


12 week review for probation period, and line manger says that though i am doing the job, and now integrated, never late, always do what i am asked etc he felt that i didnt spent enough time with him. Though he also said that there is never enough time for him to spend with me. 6 weeks previously i asked for objectives so that i can make sure i meet his expectations, he refused.


Bottom line. My line manager if very competitive, feels like he is never to be questioned etc. He finds me a threat, as the Director wanted me to improve the existing processes, on paper i am higher qualified etc, but i am always keen to learn. I feel that he wants me removed as he doesnt like the competition. The conflict stems from the Director and line manager, i am just stuck in the middle.


I have started looking for another job. I will continue to remain fully functional in the organisation. I will not question, and will always do what is requested. He may change his mind and keep me on. Either way i cant stay and will make efforts to move as i am clearly not wanted by the line manager, i accept that.


So here's my question.


I have no legal rights. I know, i looked into it.

Should i "formally" raise my concerns to the Director now, or wait until i am told they wont keep me on?

Should i just shut it and suck it up?

Should i "formally" complain after being told to go?


I dont think the Director knows the line managers stance regarding the review, and i have my concerns about the line managers approach to many things including HR management and professionally. Once asked to leave, i have little reason to carry this on, but professionally i feel that the company is suffering because of the line managers approach. This is in direct conflict of the shareholders requirements.


Any ideas?

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I am concerned about how you can improve the line manager's processes, without involving him. You seem instead to have alienated him.


First rule of continuous improvement, involve the people that both do and own the process, or your brilliant changes will have no stickability.


What does your line manager think it is important that you work on?


I would have another crack at improving the relationship with him and clarifying roles, responsibilities, and approach. If you can't get anywhere with that for whatever reason, it's not the job for you.

Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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I agree, its impossible for me to help improve processes when the process driver doesnt want it! I have tried to involve him, it seem to just inflame him, so for the duration i have done nothing on the project.


The situation seems to be a battle of wills between the two, and as you rightly note, i think any suggestions i make now would have little longevity.


The line manager seems to feel that our relationship is lacking. He doesnt give any clear indication as to what it is he wants me to improve on. During out meeting he frequently contradicted himself. "This team is a good team" going on to say "I dont want you learning their ways because its all wrong, and my way is right" ......"I want to know what your doing all day, but i dont want any lists, daily updates etc". Its really very clear that i cant win either way, and actually dont want to fight.


I think i will just zip it. Wait, but keep looking for a new job. I dont think its the right place for me, but i think i came to that conclusion within a month anyway. The business has had many "problems" in the past, yet the core staff remain which indicates a deep rooted problem rather than a market problem. Such a shame.


Thanks :)

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main thing is not to let it dent your confidence. old family style firms can be impossible if you have come from a more commercial background and I often think they should get contractors for the work you are doing, not permies.

Never assume anyone on the internet is who they say they are. Only rely on advice from insured professionals you have paid for!

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It does keep me awake. I think about all the silly personal things, but then my rational brain tells me that its not really me, i am just stuck in the middle. I also know that were all different, and not everyone can get on with everyone. When i smile it might be read as a grimace, when i laugh people might think it sarcastic, emails can be read any way you want depending on your mindset etc etc.


The biggest problem really is making sure i get something else BEFORE he makes his final decision, because i don't think most people can afford to not work....i know i certainly cant. And the impact on my CV will be harsh to say the least.


I think your right, i would have loved to have done that improvement work as a contractor, it would have been a delight to prepare a pack for them without being stuck in the middle of operational tasks and arguments between two key players. Independence is a wonderful thing!

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I can not say with 100% confidence. Though it does appear that my appointment was rather more influenced by the Director, unfortunately though i havent been able to deliver what it is he wants due to the objections of the line manger, which givens him a stronger "excuse" to seek an extension to potential dismissal route.


Having considered it more though it seem rather odd to me. Legally i have no rights for 2 years. Legally they can dismiss me without any repercussions during that time. So what value is extending my probation other than to impart a element of fear? Its very odd.

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How long has the line manager been at the company and is he qualified?


Unfortunately, there are some managers who feel threatened by any suggestions made to improve performance/productivity.


You are a numbers person, so give him the facts and figures. If he doesn't shift then you are wasting your time there.


Should you leave, explain the situation to the director.


Also, there is nothing stopping you from contracting - why don't you speak to the Director?

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