Question: My manager only wants to communicate via email and provides no clear direction/ clarification to projects

A new manager took over recently, one who does not wish to have in-person meetings with me, a senior member of her team. She frequently works with my direct reports without informing me, only communicates with me via email, never in-person, but then gives me a negative performance evaluation.

I think I need to get out, but in the meantime, what should I do? My direct reports describe the environment as being children of divorced parents.

4 Expert Insights

Your next move will depend on who you are professionally and personally, your level of political savvy, your short and long term career goals, and your life outside work. My sense is you need two plans, one for handling your current situation, and an exit plan. There's key information missing in your description that would enable me to guide you further in this forum. I do believe that you have no time to lose.

I suggest you contact me to discuss this further.

This kind of behavior from your manager is a clear signal  - one that says, she does not value your position or opinions for that matter. But having said that, it could also mean that she is waiting for you to talk with her about her expectations - not the best way to come into a new position, but not that unusual either. If that is a possibility, it would have to be carefully crafted so as not to exacerbate the situation.  While I would need some further information from you to advise you specifically, I can say that you do need to begin creating an exit strategy. It will be important for you to exit in as positive way as possible so that you don't burn bridges behind you. Having coached others in the same position as you are now, I know how difficult it must be for you to go to work everyday. The good news is that there are ways out of it. If you would like to talk further please give me a call.

Best of luck.

The complete picture is not clear here.

What is the outcome you want?

What happened before all this?

I don't think you need to plan an exit strategy yet.

If you want another pov, reach out to me.

I would go to their office and speak directly with them.  Politely and respectfully say that you prefer face-to-face conversations.  

More importantly, I would, again politely and respectfully, confront them about usurping your authority by going directly to people under your charge. Let him/her know that you need to be in the conversation when issues affect you and your leadership. It might open up conversation about "why" it happened, and "where" you need to go from this point on.

If after you take all the necessary action you can and nothing improves, I would consider the following two options:

1. Go the that persons boss and see if you can find an answer; and/or

2. Look for another position if that is what you really want.  Before I did this, I would do a lot of self-reflection on the issue to make sure I am not the problem.

Good luck.