New boss treated rudely by senior sales staff

Workplace Woes – Roze Knows®

Dear Roze:

Who said that with age and experience comes wisdom?  I may not be as old or have as many years in as our company’s senior sales staff have, but it’s obvious I’ve got more sense and decency when it comes to how to treat people.  Our two senior sales specialists have become so jaded because of all the jerks they’ve worked for over the years.  I’m sorry they’ve had some awful bosses who gave them unreasonable sales quotas, poor evaluations, or undesirable transfers; but I don’t think that makes it right to be rude to the new boss coming in.

We got a new sales manager a couple of weeks ago.  When he held his first staff meeting, he asked all of us to introduce ourselves and to give our backgrounds.  The most senior sales specialist was the first one up and he smugly said, “I’ve been on the job for 22 years and I’m retiring at the end of the year, so if you’re looking for someone to make new sales and close some big deals, I’m not your guy.”  The other senior guy piped up, “I second that; I’ll be out of here a few months after him.”  I could tell the new boss was taken aback, but he had a pretty good poker face and joked, “Ok now, who is sticking around to do some work?”

I felt bad for the new guy.  I was totally embarrassed that our most experienced guys were so rude and unprofessional.

What do you think about all of this?

Give the new boss a fair chance

Dear Give the new boss a fair chance:

As you probably expect, I consider your co-workers’ attitudes and behavior inappropriate.  Even though I do not question that they were the recipients of unfair treatment, it does not excuse what they did to the new boss.  Every person, whether a boss or employee, deserves a chance to prove him or herself. 

All that being said, I also believe that individuals in management who are worth their salt know that they will be inheriting not only good situations but the problems of their predecessor(s) as well. 

With that in mind, I believe it would have been smart for your new boss to have one-on-ones with each salesperson before having a group meeting.  Although it is not a guarantee of positive results, a one-on-one is a way for new bosses to show how they value and care about their new employees.  Additionally, it can provide new bosses with an opportunity to ask strategic questions about the work at hand as well as a way to get a lay of the land without putting anyone on the spot.  The key is to strike a balance between asking questions and listening.  Showing a sincere interest in hearing each employee’s challenges and concerns as well as their ideas for solutions is a sensible way to start developing solid relationships with each of them. 

© 2017 Rozanne R. Worrell

Workplace Woes – Roze Knows®

Check out Roze's Facebook page, and if you have a question, email her at roze@rozeknows.com

© 2017 WVEC-TV


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