Manager’s Actions Speak Louder Than Words?

Last year, I worked on a documentation and audit project with two Subject Matter Experts (or SMEs) at a Data Center in a health insurance company. Indeed, for this particular project, our group had to create a 50 page procedure manual and another 15 pages of process flowcharts regarding the server backup process. As a group, we had met twice for about one month and were about week away from completion.

In terms of the Manager’s feedback, her first response was she couldn’t get to it that week. The next response said she’d get to it by end of day Thursday. Thursday came, went, and still no feedback. I spoke to my SME contact after the deadline who said her Manager would never review it.

All participants in this project had limited bandwidth – not just the Manager. The other project members could not understand how their Manager could not spare an hour or two reviewing the document. Of course, the Manager’s expertise was not required, rather, just some objective impetus and high-level feedback – perhaps some appreciation. Needless to say, those colleagues involved were visibly disappointed – what’s the priority of the project when their Manager didn’t take the time to review?

Who’s at fault here? If you think of the project from the Manager’s perspective, perhaps she empowered and trusted her team to complete the project without her involvement. The team’s perspective may have been quite different. I think part of feeling appreciated as a team member is when your manager takes your work serious and make an effort at some point to publically reviewed and comment on all that hard work.

Ideally, both sides should have an honest discussion. Ideally, the Manager should have reviewed the document or at the very least, ask the team how best to handle? Let the SMEs and individual contributors take the lead?  Perhaps the SMEs needed to discuss their disappointment with the Manager – perception was that very little priority was given to this project. This was too big of an issue for the team to ignore and swept under the rug.

Has this or something similar occurred with you as you managed a project?

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